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PhD student profiles

Country: United States

Education: B.A. English, B.A. French, magna cum laude, University of Oklahoma, United States, (2009)
M.A. Applied Linguistics in French, summa cum laude, University of Oklahoma, United States (2012)

Title of the PhD Project: A Mobile Army: World Building Through Metaphor (working title)

Summary of the research project: I am interested in the relationship between language and cognition, especially theories of metaphorical cognition and the ways in which metaphor influences conceptual world-building. My project examines figurative language in order to identify the expression of conceptual differences between Standard French and other languages of la francophonie (primarily le québecois, Standard American English, and Arabic) in mass-mediated narratives.

Currently, I am comparing the employment of metaphor and figurative language in common narratives of current events from popular newspapers in France and Québec.

Among other goals, I want to explore how and with what effects ideological constructions are manifested in language and how the metaphorical nature of language and cognition facilitates, reinforces, or offers alternatives to ideological linguistic constructions.

Supervisor: Dr. Christine Jourdan

Country: Canada

Education: Double major in Sociology and English at Saint Thomas University, New Brunswick (2010). 
M.A.: Masters in Sociology at Concordia University, Montreal, Québec (2012).

Title of the PhD project: TBA

Summary of research project: In general the research areas I explore in my doctoral studies include sexuality, gender relations, the sociology of the body, disability studies, and the sociological study of media and popular culture.Specifically, my PhD research project explores the ways in which persons with disabilities create, negotiate, discuss, and experience their sexuality in the midst of sociocultural assumptions and stereotypes that have traditionally worked to desexualize disabled individuals in a variety of ways. While one of the overarching objectives of this research is to explore the sexuality of persons with disabilities, the second overarching objective and theoretical consideration of this research is to challenge the perceived boundaries between disability and ability, to question ideas of normalcy, examine societal barriers to sexual expression, and to reexamine ableist and heteronormative notions of sex and sexuality. 
This research is situated amongst a theoretical analysis of sexuality, (dis)ability, embodiment, theories of normalcy, and is bolstered by empirical research consisting of in-depth qualitative interviews that employ a life history approach. In my work, I follow the method and approach of disability theorist and sociologist Tom Shakespeare, who suggests that through studying both disability and sexuality we can challenge a number of myths, stereotypes, and ideas that predominate in the sexual realm and enable individuals to reassess what is important and what is possible.

Supervisor: Dr. Anthony Synnott

Country: Canada

Education: B.A. Sociology & Criminal Justice Studies, University of Winnipeg. M.A. Criminology, University of Ottawa

Title of the PhD project: New humans: The do-it-yourself body (Working Title)

Summary of the research project: My thesis explores practices of transhumanism and the enhancement of senses through do-it-yourself electronic implants.  Specifically, it focuses on how the body can be conceived as an assemblage, both a modifiable object and a phenomenal subject with flexible boundaries.  The goal is to understand how these implants create new ways of relating to oneself, other people, objects, and environments by creating new forms of embodiment.  This project also touches on the legal regulation of senses, as ‘self-surgery’ challenges existing socio-legal constructs.  Ultimately, this project seeks to provide a positive formulation that challenges us to rethink the physical limits and theoretical potential of assimilating the human body with technology.

Supervisor: Dr. Kregg Hetherington

Countries: Canada and Bolivia

Education: B.A. Anthropology, Université de Montréal
M.A. Religious Sciences, Université de Montréal

PhD Project: Indigenous higher education in the Americas: a comparative study of “Indigenizing the academy” patterns in the Andes and in North America, and their impacts on Western theoretical models.
My research project concerns the knowledge produced, structured and transmitted in higher education, in the context of colonization and decolonization in two regions of the Americas: the Andean region and the North American region of British colonial legacy. More specifically, given the role of education and social sciences in the colonization of Indigenous Peoples and their territories, I aim to understand how higher education became a decolonization tool for Indigenous Peoples in the two regions. I am interested in knowing the types of Indigenous higher education programs and institutions that were developed, their objectives and their specificities, especially in terms of the challenge they might present for mainstream academy and social sciences.

Supervisor : Dr. Mark K. Watson

This research is funded by:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC): Armand-Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship
Concordia University: Faculty of Arts and Science Graduate Fellowship

Education: B.A. in Anthropology, University of Copenhagen
M.A. in Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Title of the PhD project: Urban Pathways, Performances and Cultural Creativity: A Comparative, Ethnographic Study of Young Practising Muslims in Montreal and Copenhagen

Summary of research project: 
This research project is a comparative ethnographic analysis of young Muslims’ urban pathways in Copenhagen and Montreal with a specific focus on how sociocultural performances in their everyday life express cultural creativity. To investigate this objective, I pose the following research questions: How do young Muslims construct and navigate expressive, social and spatial pathways in Montreal/Copenhagen? How do young Muslims in both these cities enact performances across the span of their involvements both in religious and secular contexts? From a comparative perspective of young Muslims in Copenhagen and Montreal, how can we situate the cultural creativity, which is invested into these pathways and performances, within local and global processes? 
From the perspective of practising young Muslims, religious performances tend to be a prevalent part of everyday life; however, this does not reduce or undermine the importance of secular everyday practices ranging from professional, educational, social and cultural performances. These latter practices are just as an essential part of being a young Muslim in Montreal and Copenhagen, and offer an important insight into these youths’ cultural creativity. By demonstrating the complex realities experienced by young Muslims in their urban localities, I aim to go beyond the socially constructed dichotomy of ‘traditional other’ (i.e. being Muslim) versus ‘modern us’ (i.e. being Western). By breaking down this perceived dichotomy, I am interested in the ways practising Muslim youths influence and are influenced by their secular societies - through education, institutions and civic engagement - while simultaneously emphasizing their religious identity.

Supervisor: Dr. Vered Amit

Cotutelle de thèse: Social Anthropology and Ethnology, CREDO, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Marseille, France

Nationality: Canadian

B.A. Social Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Canada (2007)
M.A. Material Culture and Visual Anthropology, University College London, U.K. (2009)

PhD project: An Ethnographic Exploration of the Digital Culture of the Lau People (Solomon Islands) (working title)

My project inquires into the transformative capacities of the ICT revolution in the Pacific with a focus on the experiences of the Lau people, Solomon Islands. Based on a material culture approach it treats digital materials as cultural artifacts and engages with ICTs' place in everyday life through an ethnographic holism that looks at human-computer relations both on- and offline. Specific questions that will be addressed include: How do individual Lau make use of the ICT revolution? What differences and consistencies can be found therein? How do Lau negotiate the use of technologies that require literacy, money and electricity in places and times when access to all three is limited? Is a 'digital divide' emerging due to differing degrees of literacy, access to electricity and money, and geographical location more broadly? By seeking to answer these questions my research explicitly responds to an increasing need for examining how, to what extent, and why indigenous communities integrate digital technologies into their existing 'polymedia'-scapes, and how these integrations reflect the broader needs and interests of individuals and groups alike.

Supervisor: Dr. Christine Jourdan (Concordia University) and Dr. Pierre Lemonnier (CNRS-CREDO)

This research is funded by:

Fondation Martine Aublet, Museéde Quai Branly, Paris, France


Cotutelle de thèse: Social Anthropology and Ethnology, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France

Nationality: German

B.A. (Hons.) International Relations, University of Sussex, UK (2009)
M.A. Public Administration, International Christian University, Japan (2011)

PhD project: 'Solomon Islands, my Country': Zones of Imagination in Local State Formation (working title)

My project looks at the way Solomon Islanders engage with governmental institutions and structures that are modelled based on the example of Western liberal states and enforced through an Australia-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). It inquires, above all, into how individual Solomon Islanders transform this system from the bottom up through active participation in state formation as well as through non-participation, resistance, or resilience. I contend that we can find zones of imagination and their enactment in the everyday and, therefore, in seemingly banal practices; in these zones, it is possible to identify how individual Solomon Islanders envision and actualize Solomon Islands as their country that brings together the 'modern' state and nation with customary structures of belonging, governance and government. Within this context, my then project also talks to, and challenges, common perceptions among 'Western' state officials and international governmental organizations that have increasingly engaged in 'state-building' efforts without acknowledging local abilities and agency in shaping the future of their country from the inside out and the bottom up.

Supervisor: Dr. Christine Jourdan (Concordia University) and Dr. Jonathan Friedman (IRIS, EHESS)

This research is funded by: 
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Government of Canada
Faculty of Arts and Science Graduate Fellowship, Concordia University


Country: Canada

Education: B.A. Honours Sociology from Saint Mary’s University, 
M.A. Sociology from Concordia University

Title: Homophobia among male ice hockey players

Summary of project: I am examining conceptions of homophobia among Major Midget ice hockey players in Canada. The term ‘homophobia’ was coined by psychologist George Weinberg in the late 1960s and was defined as “the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals.” The term has become very prevalent in recent discussions of gender, sexuality, and sport in North America. In conjunction with the first professional male athlete publicly announcing that he is gay, mainstream media has become preoccupied with the notion of homophobia and the perception that the realm of sport lags behind the remainder of society in terms of accepting and including homosexual athletes. Ice hockey, in particular, is characterised in academia as a sport that socializes boys and men to be hypermaculine and consequentially, homophobic. This demarcates a particular nexus for young hockey players who are part of a generation that is understood to be largely accepting of homosexuality, yet who play a sport in which homosexual athletes have not been accepted. I will conduct quantitative and qualitative research with an entire hockey league in order to ascertain how they make sense of homophobia and in what ways it might be operationalized in their lives.

Supervisor: Dr. Marc Lafrance

MA Sociology 1993

I completed my PhD in Educational Technology at Concordia University in 2006 and credit my passion for Ed Tech to the time I was a Research Assistant for Professor Shaver in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia. Without any prior education in developing instructional programs, I designed a training program under the tutelage of Professor Shaver to train research assistants to do field work.  The skills I developed during that time led to my interest in exploring how people learn. Consequently my interest in Educational Technology flourished.  It’s remarkable how my professional and academic life converged - it certainly was not by design!

After completing my BCom with a major in Industrial Relations, I yearned to continue my education. Although an MBA was the most obvious choice, it was an undergraduate elective course in Sociology taught by Professor Smucker which introduced me to the field of sociology and pulled me in a different direction. This didn’t come without much questioning from family and friends but I have no regrets.  Doing my Sociology Graduate degree was an excellent complement to my business degree. To run a business you need people and the MA taught me much about people and cultures in a variety of settings and it exposed me to the social institutions and the interdependencies among each of them.  The learning blew my mind and the professors were exceptionally caring and interested in my intellectual development.  With the help of a TA position with Professor Horwitz, and Research Assistant positions with Professor Shaver coupled with a FCAR grant provided by Professor Smucker I was well on my way to completing my Sociology graduate degree without too many financial constraints.

Interestingly enough it was the Sociology graduate degree that provided me with the opportunity to work professionally with Professor Stolovitch, an Educational Technology Professor at Universite de Montreal, President of Harold Stolovitch and Associates and Co-Editor of the Human Performance Technology Handbook that led me to my current career. I worked with his consulting firm to help organizations build performance management programs and organizational efficiency programs.  At the same time, I was accepted to the PhD program in Educational Technology and the rest is history. I joined Pfizer Canada in 1998 as Manager, Organizational Effectiveness and moved into the Director, Strategic Planning and Business Consulting position in 2002. On a day to day basis I am able to apply the learnings from all three of my degrees. My role at Pfizer is eclectic.  I work on developing the strategic plan as well as working in the capacity of Business Consultant where I work on projects such as Mergers and Acquisitions. I am currently working on my sixth merger and have completed two major divestitures since 1999.  These are only a small sample of the projects in which my team and I are engaged.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be mentored by such exceptional Professors at Concordia University and give back to Concordia through a Graduate Scholarship that I sponsor annually.

BA Anthropology 2010

I completed a BA of Anthropology at Concordia University as an international student from Japan. During my stay at Concordia, I joined the NRE research team as an RA for Dr. Bill Reimer in his work on social capital and rural revitalization.

This experience, in addition to my Sociology and Anthropology courses, deepened my logical thinking, data collection and analysis skills, which became the foundation for my career in the humanitarian field.

After completing my BA in Montreal, I returned home and joined a Japanese NGO called Peace Winds Japan (PWJ). : A month after joining the organization the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake struck the Touhoku region, the northern part of Japan, on March 11th, 2011. PWJ responded to the disaster immediately, and soon after I was sent to the field to engage in emergency relief operations. Subsequently, various projects in the areas affected by the tsunami disaster were initiated and since then I have been involved with several recovery operations. Furthermore, I was allowed the opportunity to work on the flood relief operation in Bangkok, Thailand in November of 2011. I closely worked together with local NGOs in response to the worst flooding in Thai history. This experience strengthened my ability in such work and prepared me for future operations that provide humanitarian assistance globally.

I am currently working on the child psychosocial care program called Moving Forward, created by Nike, CARE international and Mercy Corps. I am helping to implement and adapt this program to a Japanese context. This project links social capital and sports/physical activities in order to assist in the re-establishment of the well-being of children living in the disaster area. With the NRE research experience as background knowledge, I have a good basic understanding of social capital and its impact on community bonding through sports activity.

It was, and continues to be, a great honor for me to be engaged in productive projects throughout and after my time at Concordia. 

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