Social Sciences Research Colloquium

recognizing research excellence in the Faculty of Social Sciences

Watch a video of the December 2022 event.

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).

Suzanne Curtin, Vice-Provost, Graduate Studies and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, spoke about graduate student research and Michelle McGinn, Associate Vice-President, Research, will offered remarks on research across the Faculty of Social Sciences.

2022 Presenters and Presentations

Student presentations:

Sulemana Saaka recipient of a FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Addressing Mining Sector Conflicts in Ghana

During the World Bank and IMF-led Structural Adjustments Program implementation in the 1980s, the extractive industry was also targeted in many developing countries, including Ghana. Although liberalization of the mining industry was envisioned to bring the needed development to the country and mining communities, the evidence on the ground proves otherwise. The outcome has been the prevalence of conflicts between mining communities and mining companies, mainly over issues of environmental pollution, competition over land use, unfulfilled promises, resettlement and compensation.
Using online sources (data) and adopting the ‘developmental state’ approach, which advocates for state-induced development as a conceptual model, this research investigates the role of the Ghanaian government in addressing conflict in the mining sector and the challenges therein. The results show that the state has implemented several initiatives consistent with the developmental state approach including liberalizing small-scale mining and environmental assessment requirements, the passage of the Minerals Development Fund Act, and alternative livelihood programs. However, emanating from competitive clientelism, various challenges have prevented the government’s initiatives from producing the desired outcomes, hence the persistence of conflict in the sector.

supervisor: Hevina S. Dashwood, Professor, Political Science

Tannaz Sattar, recipient of a FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

Urban Green Space Typology and the Main Indicators for Maximizing their Performance; Case Studies of Isfahan, Milan, and Toronto

Cities play an important role in sustainability and sustainable development. In the context of global development, especially in developing large metropolitans, urban population is growing resulting in social-environmental challenges that jeopardizes sustainability of cities as well as welfare of the citizens. One of these challenges is the quantity and performance of urban green spaces which are essential components in urban areas and the lack of them can affect urban ecology as well as human health and well-being. Developing urban greening concepts in modern urbanization are approaches to overcome the contemporary challenges of cities. Little research has been done on the urban green space typologies and different variables affecting the performance of such spaces. In addition, the literature on comparing this feature in hugely different contexts in various continents is missing. This paper intents to investigate the presence or absence of some urban green space categories in the three case studies, which are city of Isfahan in Iran, city of Milan in Italy, and city of Toronto in Canada, analyze some performance variables in each case, find out the extent to which these categories and performance variables are addressed in each case’s policy documents and official plans, and finally, to compare similarities and differences between the cases.

supervisor: Ryan Plummer, Director, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

Ege Kamber, recipient of a FOSS Student Research Award, will present the following talk:

The Development of Episodic Thinking in Children: The Contribution of Self-Projection, Scene-Construction, and Episodic Simulation

Research shows that episodic memory, prospection, theory of mind, and navigation are related and share a similar developmental trajectory over childhood. Thus, several domain-general abilities are proposed to underpin these abilities: (a) self-projection, the ability to shift alternatives, is argued to underlie episodic memory, prospection, theory of mind, and navigation; (b) scene construction, the ability to create scenes, supports episodic memory, prospection, and navigation; and (c) episodic simulation is responsible for the functioning of episodic memory and prospection. Despite these theoretical conceptualizations, these domain-general abilities have never been tested simultaneously in children.

The current study examines how and whether each domain-general ability is associated with the skills and which of them is better at explaining children’s performance. The study also aims to track age-related changes in these relations. One hundred fifty 8- to 10-year-old children will participate in the study and complete several behavioural tasks assessing the above-mentioned abilities.

Preliminary analysis (with eight pilot participants) revealed that the tasks capture variability in children’s performance and many of the measures were positively related (rs=.03-.46). Data collection is expected to be completed by Summer 2023. The gathered data will be presented at Research Colloquium.

supervisor: Caitlin Mahy, Associate Professor, Psychology

Faculty presentations:

Naomi Andrews, Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies, will present the following talk:

Improving Relationships to Support Substance-Exposed Infants and Young Children

Dr. Andrews will discuss a program of research conducted in partnership with Breaking the Cycle – a community-based early identification and prevention program for mothers with substance use issues and their infants/young children. Through several ongoing research projects, this work centers on understanding infants and young children who have been prenatally exposed to substances. Further, the evaluation of an integrated intervention that focuses on improving the mother-child relationship to enhance child development outcomes will be presented.

Chelsea Jones, Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies, will present the following talk:

Critical Access Research: Relaxing Performances and Pedagogies

Beginning with the staging of a pre-pandemic crip fashion show, this presentation will map an evolution of critical access performance-based research that impacts both in-person and online higher education pedagogy. With an emphasis on post-and-with-pandemic disability justice, art, and activism, Dr. Chelsea Jones will discuss what it means to centre disability and access in collaborative research.

Robert Dimand, Professor in the Department of Economics, will present the following talk:

Learning from How Economics Has Changed

My research has looked at how economics has changed, especially about the role of women in the discipline of economics and about how economists have explained
economic fluctuations. My recent books include The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought (edited with Kirsten Madden), The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes (edited with Harald Hagemann), and Irving Fisher (in Palgrave Macmillan’s Great Thinkers in Economics series).

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

2021 Research Colloquium

The Research Colloquium on December 8, 2021, was held online and live streamed to a virtual audience. Faculty presenters included:

Early Career Researcher 2020 (formerly called Untenured Researcher of the Year)

  • Julia Baird, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Geography and Tourism Studies
  • Jessica Blythe, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

Student presenters included:

  • Jillian Booth, Candidate, Master Of Sustainability
  • Alec Moore, Candidate, MA in Child and Youth Studies
  • 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 was held online and live streamed to a virtual audience. Faculty presenters included:

Distinguished Researcher

  • Mike Pisaric, Geography and Tourism Studies (2019)

Untenured Researcher of the Year

  • Karen Louise Smith, Communication, Popular Culture and Film (2019)
  • Nicole Goodman, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science (2018)

Student presenters included:

  • Appiah Bonsu, Candidate, MA in Critical Sociology
  • Jessica Falk, Candidate, MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies
  • 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 (Department of Labour Studies) and Charles Conteh (Department of Political Science), and Untenured Researcher of the Year, Danielle Sirianni Molnar (Department of Child and Youth Studies) and Caitlin Mahy (Department of Psychology).