Social Sciences Research Colloquium

recognizing research excellence in the Faculty of Social Sciences

blue clay mug next to an open laptop featuring a gallery view of a large meeting

Wednesday, December 6, 2023
1 to 3:30 p.m.
Live event on MS Teams

This event is free and open to the public.
Please register to receive a link to join.

This event will be held online via Microsoft Teams with simultaneous ASL interpretation.

Interested in attending?

2023 Presenters and Presentations

Student presentations:

Idris Khan, MA candidate (Geography) and recipient of a FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

The Shifting Constitution of Gender & Mobility in a Context of Religious and Infrastructural Change: A Case Study of the Swat Valley, Pakistan

Feminist geographers argue that gender and mobility are co-constituted. However, few studies focus on this relationship empirically, and even fewer in the global South. Against this backdrop, my research aims to analyze the ways in which gender and mobility are co-constituted in Swat Valley, Pakistan, in a shifting historical context of (a) traditional Pukhtun culture involving a syncretic religion, (b) Islamic fundamentalism and the takeover by Taliban, and (c) post-Taliban modernization in its various forms, including a new market economy and tourist-based infrastructure development. My research temporally maps these particular gendered, spatial, and mobility changes over a period of time (16th century to present), showing that (a) gendered spatiality in historical Swat evolved in such a way to constitute partially gender-segregated spaces that allowed women some freedom of mobility beyond their home; (b) more recently, Islamic fundamentalist ideologies fundamentally controlled women’s mobilities to erase them from both public space and certain types of private space that had formerly been accessible to women (e.g., shrines); and (c) although modernization and infrastructure development are leading to more public spaces for both women and men, social norms and the class dynamics of a market economy continue to differentially affect the free movement of women.

supervisor: David  Butz, Professor in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies

Patrick Segawa, MA candidate (Child and Youth Studies) and recipient of a FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Drawing on Lived Experience of Peer Support Workers in the provision of Substance and Addiction Services in St. Catharines; a case study of ABC HEALTH CENTRE

In a qualitative study conducted in St. Catharines, Canada, six peer support workers from ABC Health Centre shared their valuable insights into the provision of substance and addiction services. These peer support workers, most of whom were former clients themselves, are driven by a profound motivation to assist young individuals facing similar challenges on their journey to recovery.  

Their daily responsibilities encompass conducting one-on-one sessions, leading group discussions, and connecting clients with essential information and services. The benefits of peer support are evident, as it not only aids in recovery but also empowers clients to make informed, healthy decisions about their rehabilitation. 

However, these dedicated individuals encounter their own set of challenges. They often feel vulnerable, grapple with the dilemma of oversharing, and find it difficult to hear about similar traumas. Additionally, there’s a persistent fear of being placed in compromising situations. 

In conclusion, peer support workers are instrumental in the recovery process for youth and young adults, serving as role models who build trust-based relationships. Their primary goal is to give back by sharing their lived experiences and helping others overcome substance and addiction challenges, despite the personal hurdles they may face 

supervisor: Rebecca Raby, Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies

Megan Vlahiotis (Psychology), recipient of a FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Indigenous Representation and Anti-Indigenous Racism in Canadian Anti-Stigma Campaigns: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis

Canada’s drug toxicity crisis disproportionately affects Indigenous people because of health inequities from ongoing settler colonization. Substance use stigma has been proposed as a leading cause of drug-related deaths because it prevents people who use drugs (PWUD) from accessing resources. This stigma is compounded for Indigenous PWUD who also face racism tied to stereotypes about substance use. Anti-stigma campaigns are a possible solution, but a recent review (Neufeld, 2022) has shown that these campaigns do not represent the people most impacted by substance use harms in Canada. A Reflexive Thematic Analysis of 134 Canadian anti-stigma campaigns examined the representation of substance use in Indigenous communities as well as how campaigns portrayed the intersection of substance use stigma and anti-Indigenous racism. Analysis suggests that Canadian anti-stigma campaigns are hesitant to talk about the impacts of substance use on Indigenous communities. Analysis also showed that campaigns often represent Indigenous communities positively as strong and resilient through accounts shared by Indigenous PWUD. Finally, when anti-stigma campaigns represent Indigenous PWUD they highlight health-related inequities more often than directly naming anti-Indigenous racism and its intersection with substance use stigma. Recognizing the intersection between substance use-related stigma and anti-Indigenous racism is crucial in reducing substance-use stigma.

supervisor: Scott Neufeld, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology

Faculty presentations:

Pascal Lupien, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, will present the following talk:

#Resistencia: Indigenous Movements, Social Media, and the 2019 Uprisings in Latin America

In late 2019, communities across South America erupted in protest, marking the largest uprisings in a generation. The research Lupien will present in this talk, part of a larger project,  examines how Indigenous social movement organizations (SMOs) used social media during the protest events, and the extent to which they believe these tools have enhanced or hindered their efforts. The talk will show that social media have become an integral part of Indigenous SMO’s strategical repertoires, but they also create new threats and barriers that can negatively affect key protest activities.

Tony Volk, Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies, will present the following talk:

The Origins of Evil

Harmful and antisocial behaviour, or “evil”, is a topic of great interest in the social sciences and in general society. The scientific study of this behaviour has advanced significantly over the last 100 years. This talk will focus on briefly presenting the evolutionary, social and developmental origins of evil tendencies and behaviour along with suggestions of how we can counter that kind of behaviour.

About this Event

The annual Social Sciences Research Colloquium is an opportunity to hear from the faculty recipients of two awards presented each year by the Faculty of Social Sciences: Distinguished Researcher and Early Career Researcher. Typically, the Colloquium features presentations by faculty awardees from the previous year.

In addition to faculty award winners, the Research Colloquium features presenters selected from among recent recipients of the FOSS Student Research Award. All awardees from the previous year are invited to apply; selected students are included in the final program.


Presenters at the 2019 Research Colloquium: Master’s student in Popular Culture Russ Martin, Professor of Child and Youth Studies Rebecca Raby, and Master’s student in Geography Aaron Nartey. (Read more.)

About the Awards

The faculty awards recognize members of FOSS who demonstrate consistent records of outstanding research achievements as reflected in the quality and quantity of refereed publications, grant awards and other research activities. The Distinguished Researcher award for tenured faculty considers accomplishments from the past five academic years. The Early Career Researcher (formerly called Untenured Researcher of the Year) award considers accomplishments within the previous academic year. As part of the award, each recipient is invited to deliver a research presentation to the Brock community. More information on these awards, including how to submit a nomination, is available here (Brock faculty/staff login required).

The Student Research Award recognizes student research that contributes to, and advances research and scholarship in, the Social Sciences. The award is open to PhD candidates and to senior undergraduate and MA students whose programs include a research component. All awardees are to be congratulated for their achievements. More information on the award, including how to apply, is available here.

Summaries of past Social Sciences Research Colloquia

2022 Research Colloquium

Faculty presenters included Robert Dimand, Professor of Economics and recipient of the 2021 award for Distinguished Researcher, as well as Chelsea Jones and Naomi Andrews, both Assistant Professors in the Department of Child and Youth Studies and recipients of 2021 Early Career Researcher awards. 

Student presenters selected from among recent winners of the FOSS Student Research Award included Sulemana Saaka (MA in Political Science), Tannaz Sattar (Master of Sustainability), and Ege Kamber (PhD in Psychology).

2021 Research Colloquium

The Research Colloquium on December 8, 2021, was held online and live streamed to a virtual audience. Faculty presenters included two recipients of the 2020 Early Career Researcher award (formerly called Untenured Researcher of the Year): Julia Baird (Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Geography and Tourism Studies) and Jessica Blythe (Environmental Sustainability Research Centre)

Faculty presenters were joined by Jillian Booth (Candidate, Master of Sustainability), Alec Moore (Candidate, MA in Child and Youth Studies) and Niruba Rasuratnam (Candidate, MA in Applied Disability Studies)

Andrea Doucet, Professor of Sociology and recipient of the 2020 award for Distinguished Researcher was unavailable to participate in this event.

2020 Research Colloquium

The 2020 Research Colloquium included presentations from Distinguished Researcher Mike Pisaric from the (Geography and Tourism Studies), with recipient of the 2019 award for Untenured Researchers of the Year Karen Louise Smith (Communication, Popular Culture Film) and recipient of the 2018 award Nicole Goodman (Political Science).

Faculty presenters were joined by students Appiah Bonsu, Candidate (MA in Critical Sociology), Jessica Falk (Candidate, MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies) and Pulkit Garg (Candidate, MS in Sustainability Science and Society).

2019 Research Colloquium

The Colloquium held in Sankey Chamber featured presentations by Rebecca Raby (Child and Youth Studies), recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Researcher award, as well as student Research Award winners Russ Martin, MA in Popular Culture, and Aaron Nartey, MA in Geography.

2018 Research Colloquium

The 2018 Research Colloquium, held in Sankey Chamber featured presentations from the co-recipients of 2017 awards for Distinguished Researcher, Larry Savage (Labour Studies) and Charles Conteh (Political Science), and Untenured Researcher of the Year, Danielle Sirianni Molnar (Child and Youth Studies) and Caitlin Mahy (Psychology).