Quick Links

Strategic Grants 2010

Research Development Initiatives (RDI)

Pascal Brissette, Langue et littérature françaises
Rex Brynen, Political Science
Erik Kuhonta, Political Science
Tom Mole, English

International Opportunities Fund (IOF)

Stuart Soroka, Political Science

Aboriginal Research Development (ARD)

Nicole Ives, Social Work

Pascal Brissette

Pascal Brissette
Sur les traces de l`oralité: recherches préliminaires pour une histoire de la poésie orale québécoise
Amount awarded: $40,000

Professor Pascal Brissette points out that despite considerable research on Anglo-Saxon oral poetry, spoken word and performance in Canada, the history of Québécois oral poetry practices remains unwritten. His research project will begin to address this gap and work towards the ultimate goal of developing a methodology and theoretical framework by which to fully examine the history of oral poetry practices in Québec. Examining the period of 1891-1902, in this project Prof. Brissette will document and analyze the emergence of the literary scene during this period across a number of social circles associated with oral poetry, through an investigation of a spectrum of critical and fictional texts in newspapers and literary magazines. Informed by sociocriticism theory, Prof. Brissette's research will examine the values, rituals and myths related to public poetry reading practices. He will ask how oral poetry is represented through poetry readings and other public performances, the records of such events as well as other works of fiction. With the assistance of graduate students, Prof. Brissette will track and analyze key events, accounts of events and media in which these accounts are reported, in relation to key social events of the literary scene of the period. The students assisting with this study will receive theoretical and methodological training and will also participate in the presentation and publication of research results.


image of rex brynen

Rex Brynen
Simulating strife: the politics of peacebuilding simulation
Amount awarded: $39,099

With this research project Professor Brynen will investigate the political implications of simulation or, more specifically, the increasing use of peacebuilding simulations in education, the military, and international organizations. The main purpose of the project, he explains, is to examine how simulation, as process, technology, and social phenomenon, may shape or reshape organizational behaviour, policy outputs, and individual and collective political orientations. The first year of the project will include the study of written materials and research interviews, enabling a better understanding of the scope of the field. During the second year, Professor Brynen will conduct site visits and content analysis, with this qualitative research being enhanced by the understandings gained the previous year. The results of this research will be presented at professional conferences, and will eventually be published both in scholarly journals and as an edited volume on conflict simulation. A graduate student assistant will be engaged in the identification, location, and preliminary review of secondary material on simulation implementation, as well as interview transcription, and content analysis of simulation software. He or she will also accompany Professor Brynen, when possible, to participate in research interviews and site visits.

Key words: peacebuilding, insurgency, counterinsurgency, development, conflict, simulation


Erik Kuhonta

Erik Kuhonta
The middle class and democracy in Thailand
Amount awarded: $40,000

Is the middle class a harbinger of democracy? This question, addressed as far back as Aristotle, has been a central puzzle in comparative politics, observes Professor Eric Kuhonta. While much of the literature in comparative politics has leaned towards the view that the middle class acts as a critical force for democratic change, there is much evidence to suggest that the middle class has not always behaved with the interest of democracy in mind. Throughout history, in countries as diverse as Chile, Germany, and Thailand, the middle class has often supported or abetted the demise of democracy. The goal of Prof. Kuhonta's project is to examine the political values of the middle class and its relationship to democracy in one important newly-industrializing country: Thailand. Laying the groundwork for a future, broader comparative study on the middle class and democracy in Southeast Asia, this project will focus on one case study through which to analyze the general question of middle-class political values. By beginning with a focused analysis of a critical case study, Professor Kuhonta will test a select number of hypotheses through surveys and focus groups, conceptualize more precisely the analytical category of the middle class, and most importantly, sharpen his broader theory for the succeeding comparative project. The graduate students trained by the project will run surveys and focus groups, transcribe and code their results, co-write articles based on the fieldwork, and present them at academic conferences.
Keywords: middle class, democracy, state, Thailand, Southeast Asia.


Tom Mole

Tom Mole
Making new connections in book history using digital technologies
Amount awarded: $39,867

For the past three decades, Book History – the study of how the technologies of communication between 1700 and 1900 played a formative role in the shaping of modernity – has been quietly revolutionizing the study of humanities. Multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual, Book History shows how the mediating force of print shaped the socio-cultural, economic and political landscapes of the modern world. Yet Book History's greatest strength – working across traditional academic boundaries – is now stalling its further development. As scholars reach across diverse source materials, they find themselves blocked from tracing the necessary connections between disciplines, media, historical periods and national contexts by the traditional disciplinary boundaries and linguistic barriers built into currently available bibliographic databases. Working with Dr Mark Algee-Hewitt, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Arts, and Prof Alan Liu at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Tom Mole will develop an innovative online bibliography incorporating a three-layer "recommendation engine" which relates texts to one another using 1) specialized keywords, 2) semantic clustering techniques and 3) collected usage statistics. The resulting relationships can then be visualized within an interactive topography that allows the user intuitively to navigate the field of knowledge in Book History. Undertaken in three phases of critical research, experimentation and testing, this research project will train doctoral and undergraduate students to create new keyword indices and collect and process semantic data on textual resources. Through experimentation with computational and lexical indexing and the utility of usage statistics, the project will develop a working database with dynamic functionality. A research workshop will be used both to present and test the tool. Research results will also be communicated in scholarly publications on the methodology and implementation of the database.
Keywords: print culture, book history, digital humanities, history, culture, Europe

International Opportunities Fund (IOF)

Stuart Soroka, Political Science

Stuart Soroka


Media systems and informed citizens: A comparative study
Amount awarded: $74,147

Representative democracy, Professor Soroka points out, requires informed citizens. First, public responsiveness provides the central motivation for politicians to represent public preferences (i.e. a monitoring public). Second, informed preferences make public inputs into the policy process meaningful for policymakers. This research project is part of a large-scale cross-national effort to explore the relationship between political knowledge and "media systems". Professor Soroka's research, to be undertaken along with ten other scholars from eight different countries, will include participation in an ongoing major international comparative study, facilitated through cooperative funding by national research bodies and charitable trusts across nine countries. One major component of the study is the training of undergraduate and graduate students in both survey and content analysis. In addition to the benefits for the research program, students' participation in the project will provide them with valuable training in Canadian and comparative parliamentary politics, and in research methods. Professor Soroka expects that the results of the study will help make an important contribution to the study of media and policy access across a wide range of countries, and to inform public policy as well.

Key words: political communication, media studies, democratic politics, political knowledge, political participation

Aboriginal Research Development Grants

Nicole Ives, Social Work


Nicole Ives

Nicole Ives
Community partnerships for educational success: Exploring Inuit conceptualizations of parent/family involvement in secondary school in Nunavik
Amount Awarded: $ 16,925.00

Professor Nicole Ives seeks to understand the ways in which Inuit family, community and school members conceptualize family involvement, partnership, and academic success. The project will be conducted over two years in the Nunavik community of Kuujjauq. In order to develop a community-university partnership which can support the long term capacity of Kuujjuaq's schools to effectively engage students and increase retention rates, Professor Ives works with a research team composed of scholars and Aboriginal community representatives. The team works towards a collaborative process of designing and implementing a research project which conducts focus groups with Inuit parents/families, secondary school students, educators, school administrators, and other community members. Inuit community members and an Aboriginal student will be hired and trained as research assistants to conduct qualitative data collection and analysis, critically literature reviews and draft reports. This project works toward a more meaningful educational engagement for Inuit parents/families, secondary school students, educators and other Kuujjuaq community members with the long-term goal of increased student retention rates.
Keywords: Indigenous education; parent/family involvement; home school community partnership; secondary school attrition; research partnerships with Inuit communities

Classified as