Brock University’s Social Justice Research Institute generates social, cultural, and economic impacts for the betterment of society by bringing together academics, activists, and community partners to produce and mobilize knowledge that addresses urgent social problems and opens pathways to social change – locally, nationally, and globally.
The creation and support of transdisciplinary knowledge in social justice is driven by a collective recognition of local and global injustices, and a desire to understand and ameliorate these injustices. This work is provoked by problematics of the social world rather than research questions arising from disciplinary debates.
Social justice refers to the equitable distribution of social opportunities and material resources; the capacity for a diversity of identities, subject positions, knowledge traditions and interests to be recognized, nurtured, and valued; and a consequent proliferation and dispersion of the capacity to exercise power/agency.
Transdisciplinary knowledge in social justice is produced when scholars, collaborating across disciplinary boundaries, respond to complex problematics in close dialog with activists and affected communities. Transdisciplinarity in social justice draws on discipline-based expertise but is neither defined nor confined by it. Indeed, it recognizes that all knowledge is partial and situated and the imperative of involving those affected by social problems in knowledge production about their resolution.
Through the synergies created by community, activist, and scholarly collaborations, SJRI generates new and distinct, critical, complex, and useful knowledges that enrich the disciplines while also transcending them. Our approach to transdisciplinarity also means embracing the most innovative methodologies, epistemologies, and research practices.
SJRI facilitates wide and resonant conversations, within universities and broader publics, about social justice problems and solutions through the production and dissemination of transdisciplinary knowledge in creative, visual, digital, and open-access ways. The social impacts of this initiative are clear and will be felt as academics, activists and social partners collaborate in addressing urgent social problems and open new pathways to social change in Niagara and beyond.