Standard Research Grants awarded to members of the Faculty of Arts.
All information in this section is courtesy of the researchers.
Marc Angenot, French Language and Literature
Michel Biron, French Language and Literature
Eugenio Bolongaro, Italian Studies
Kenneth Dean, East Asian Studies
Gaëlle Fiasse, Philosophy
Grace Fong, East Asian Studies
Carlos Fraenkel, Philosophy
Jill Hanley, Social Work
Iwao Hirose, Philosophy
Erin Hurley, English
Juliet Johnson, Political Science
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, Social Work
Jacob Levy, Political Science
Brian Lewis, History
Ngo Van Long, Economics
Lorenz Lüthi, History
Thomas Naylor, Economics
Jesús Pérez-Magallón, Hispanic Studies
Andrew Piper, German Studies
Marc Raboy, Art History and Communication Studies
Christine Ross, Art History and Communication Studies
Sebastian Sobecki, English
William Straw, Art History and Communication Studies
Narendra Subramanian, Political Science
Lisa Travis, Linguistics
Axel van den Berg, Sociology
Lydia White, Linguistics
Effacements et oblitérations: enquête sur la production de l'oubli dans les sociétés contemporaines
Amount awarded: $86,600
Professor Angenot's main areas of research are the history of ideas, discourse analysis, cultural history, rhetoric and the philosophy of reasoning. He estimates that this is his 12th Standard Research Grant, having had ongoing grants from SSHRC and other federal agencies as far back as 1968 when SSHRC was part of the Canada Council. In this project, undertaken in collaboration with Régine Robin, an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at UQAM with whom he has collaborated on three previous research grants, he will focus on understanding contemporary western societies in terms of collective amnesia, strategies of oblivion, erasure of memories and rewriting of the past. Their research activities will involve the training of McGill Ph.D. students in diverse work ranging from the analysis of official documents and monographs, data collection, and research in major libraries and film archives. The results of the project will be communicated through colloquia and scholarly conferences, and eventually articles, papers and the publication of a book. For more information on the project please see Professor Angenot's website
Key words: memory, cultural history, contemporary cultures, collective amnesia
L'hétérogénéité du roman québécois contemporain
Amount awarded: $67,224
As a continuation of the research conducted for his book Histoire de la littérature québécoise, published by Les Éditions du Boréal in 2007, Professor Biron aims to prepare an essay on the Québec novel since 1980. A reading hypothesis will be explored based on the heterogeneity of the contemporary novel, which, according to Professor Biron, has a major impact on the very legitimacy of the novel. His belief is that the novel of this period no longer defines itself solely in terms of literary or aesthetic values but rather in terms of the notions of social relevance, self-narrative, and ethics. Professor Biron is confident that the project will identify profound changes in literary practices, which affect not only the novelists but also novel writing itself. Drawing on comparative studies of the status of the writer and the role of literature in Québec since 1980 in relation to the 1960s, his essay will analyse a number of novels particularly representative of contemporary practices, including works by Jacques Poulin, Francine Noël, Suzanne Jacob, Marie-Claire Blais, André Major, Yvon Rivard and Émile Ollivier. Involved in the process of analysis, several McGill graduate students will be trained in research methodologies and will be given the opportunity to participate in related colloquia. Professor Biron believes that the originality and interest of this project are twofold, proposing a synthesis of the contemporary Québec novel and approaching the corpus as a coherent whole, unified not by the national question but by the fundamental question of heterogeneity.
Key words: Québec novel, contemporary novel, sociocriticism
A literature of proximity: the ethical turn in the works of Tiziano Scarpa, Aldo Nove and Niccolò Ammaniti
Amount awarded: $73,118
With his grant, Professor Bolongaro will examine the work of three contemporary Italian writers who he believes have opened a new path for Italian narrative fiction in the 1990s and who are united by the struggle to define an ethical role for literature in contemporary society. At issue in these works is the representation of the 'body' which these authors portray as a set of practices involving complex sensual and emotional experiences of relatedness. Professor Bolongaro's proposed argument is that in Scarpa, Nove and Ammaniti's work, the constant attention to the body serves to democratize the act of storytelling and to engage key aspects of mass culture such as consumerism and commodification. The ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate that the three authors are driven by a profoundly ethical vision of literature. The research, which will involve the training of graduate students, will be carried out on-site at the Sormani Library in Milan, for example, and the National Library in Rome. The final aspect of the field work will be in-depth interviews with the three authors, focusing on their formative experiences in the 1970s and 1980s, their direct literary influences and reflections on stylistic issues, their self-understanding as contemporary intellectuals and their views on the future orientation of Italian literature and culture. The results will be presented through conference papers, articles, a website on contemporary Italian fiction and a book provisionally entitled, "The Challenge of Proximity: Ethical Cannibals and the Invitation of Literature".
Key words: contemporary Italian fiction, ethics and literature, theories of the body, reception theory
Spirit mediums and transnational ritual economies: tracing temple networks from Southeast China to Southeast Asia
Amount awarded: $135,846
According to Professor Dean, the reinvention of local ritual traditions of popular religion is highly advanced in coastal Southeast China, and the funding and ritual knowledge of Overseas Chinese sponsors, some of whom were trained as spirit mediums, have played a key role in this process. The first goal of Professor Dean's research project is to document and interpret the ritual economy of contemporary Chinese popular religion in the Putian area by systematically gathering and analyzing posted accounts of ritual funding and expenditures, and to assess the impact of Overseas Chinese sponsors in this process. The second goal is to analyze the trans-national network linking Overseas Chinese branch temples in Southeast Asia to their founding temples in ancestral villages in Putian. Professor Dean and his research team are interested in the ability of ritual to absorb flows of capital or ethnic nationalism without losing the power to generate worlds of meaning for participants. In order to assess the impact of the Overseas Chinese role in the reinvention of tradition in the ancestral villages of the Xinghua community in Putian, the team will first conduct a comprehensive study of the economics of ritual in that region. Their research will also include the training of graduate student assistants in the interpretation of local religious texts in specific historical contexts. The collection of this economic data will be accomplished by visiting over 150 temples, digitally photographing and then editing and analyzing recently carved stone inscriptions as well as the posted temple accounts of the local temples. As one of the principal research results of the project, this data will eventually be classified and analyzed and prepared for publication as essays and a detailed case study.
Key words: Chinese popular religion, transnational networks, ritual economy, spirit mediums
Les différents visages de la fragilité : enjeux éthiques, bio-éthiques et politiques
Amount awarded: $92,500
The goal of this philosophy project is to analyze the theoretical and practical implications of the "fragility of being human". In addition to addressing the gap in theorizing about the concept of human fragility, Professor Fiasse and her co-applicant, Professor Catherine Lu from the Department of Political Science, aim to contribute to two areas of practical concern: the moral fragility of victims and perpetrators in contexts of oppression and political violence and the ethical issues that arise in the treatment of people in states of extreme vulnerability, such as those in a vegetative state. Professor Fiasse's research has recently been focused on friendship and forgiveness, and Professor Lu studies humanitarian intervention and problems of justice and reconciliation after war, oppression and atrocity. The focus of their research for this project concerns the departure points of ethics: the analysis of interpersonal relationships as a core element in the foundation of morality. They expect to disseminate their research results by participating in several conferences and co-editing a volume on fragility. In collaboration with graduate and postdoctoral students, Professors Fiasse and Lu plan to write several articles on the question of vulnerable persons in politics, ethics and bioethics.
Key words: fragility, vulnerability, ethics, politics, bioethics, anthropology, ontology
Auto/biographical subjects: life histories in women's literary collections in late imperial China (17th-19th centuries)
Amount awarded: $77,952
According to Professor Fong, during the 17th to the 19th centuries, that is, from the Late Ming to Late Qing dynasties, women's literary culture flourished on an unprecedented level in the history of Imperial China. Despite over 5,000 women's literary collections that have been recorded by the late scholar, Hu Wenkai, Professor Fong points out that very few have been studied to date as scholarship on women writers is only a recent phenomenon. Her research objective, therefore, is to bring new knowledge to current understandings of the production of life histories by and of Chinese women writers from the aforementioned period. By life histories, she refers to writings relating to both biographical representations by others about these women writers and also their own autobiographical representations. The core of the research will center on the analysis of textual and paratextual data relating to life histories in two significant holdings of women's literary collections: one in the Harvard-Yenching Library and the other in the rare book archives of the Peking University Library. During the course of her research, Professor Fong will set up a project database that will enable her to gain easy access to auto-biographic texts and paratexts in each literary collection and will train two graduate student assistants in research techniques to examine the basic form of these collections. The results generated will culminate in the writing of a scholarly volume with the aim of demonstrating the kinds of new research that can be undertaken on the production of life histories in literary collections.
Key words: Chinese women's writing, women's history, autobiography and biography, texts and paratexts, poetry, subgenres
Religion as the handmaid of philosophy: the impact of Plato's political thought on the philosophical interpretation of religion in antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern Period
Amount awarded: $81,394
Drawing on concepts of Plato's political philosophy, Professor Fraenkel proposes to investigate an intellectual pattern that recurs at several historical intersections of political philosophy and religion, which he believes can be characterized as the interpretation of a religious tradition as a philosophical religion. His research program will consider religious stories, laws and practices as an imitation of philosophy, devised by philosophers for non-philosophers; an interpretation, according to Professor Fraenkel, set forth by Pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim philosophers in many different cultural settings. Since its history has never been systematically examined, his main goal is to lay the groundwork by explaining how the pattern works in a number of representative authors. He will be assisted by graduate students whose research tasks will serve to test whether the explanatory model proposed can indeed explain the philosophical-religious position informing the texts. Professor Frankel's expects his new interpretation to change the way the historical relation between philosophy and religion is viewed. His research findings will be presented in the form of a monograph, the first systematic examination of this interpretation.
Key words: history of philosophy, historical intersections of philosophy and religion, reception history of Plato's political philosophy, Spinoza on philosophy and religion
The right to health and social services for precarious status migrants to Québec: access to Medicare & Workers' Compensation
Amount awarded: $142,500
The policy and social barriers that migrants face in trying to access health and social services have been documented by Canadian and Québec researchers. Professor Hanley believes that these barriers are compounded for women migrants with precarious immigration status. Her project brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from five institutions to investigate access to health and social services for migrants to Québec. Their research will involve the documentation of the implications of policy and social barriers to health and social services for migrants, using the Québec Medicare and Workers' Compensation programs as case studies. In addition, they will examine the strategies, whether individual, family or collective, used by migrants to overcome these barriers and bring about change. Professor Hanley believes that this study will contribute to a better understanding of the intersection between immigration status, gender and health and social welfare, an issue of critical importance as Canada is moving towards an increased use of temporary migration programs. Student training in research methods and access to health care will also be an integral part of the project, with the intent that students either enter professional practice in this area (as social workers or lawyers) or go on in a research career.
Key words: precarious immigration status, access to health, migration, social services, Medicare, Workers' Compensation
In defense of interpersonal aggregation: why minor benefits should outweigh a large burden
Amount awarded: $71,215
For this research project, Professor Hirose is concerned with what he calls interpersonal aggregation, or the idea, according to some ethical principles, that the gains and losses of different individuals are combined and balanced in order to judge the rightness and wrongness of an act. In philosophy, it is a widely held belief that aggregation leads us to utilitarianism. That is, to allow aggregation is to permit transplanting the organs of a healthy person to five needy patients for optimal outcomes. Many contemporary non-utilitarian philosophers reject the concept of aggregation. In this project, however, Professor Hirose will defend aggregation by means of pursuing three objectives. The first is to explore its theoretical nature, more specifically, to offer a definition of aggregation and its basic properties. The second is to argue against the belief among critics that aggregative principles do not take the separateness of persons seriously. The third objective is to point out the methodological problem in the criticism of aggregation, claiming that critics often appeal to a certain intuition derived from an extreme example, where aggregation seems to be implausible. The project will involve the training of one graduate student who will acquire knowledge and experience in philosophical analysis, present papers arising from his or her research and help organize a graduate seminar. Professor Hirose's research findings will first be published in a number of scholarly papers to be presented at major ethics conferences and to be published in refereed philosophy journals then eventually in a book.
Key words: interpersonal aggregation, numbers problem, John Taurek, contractualism, utilitarianism, survival lottery
Theatre and feeling
Amount awarded: $61,324
With this project, Professor Hurley will bring the issue of theatrical feeling into focus as a research object and method in the field of theatre studies. She points out that "as treatises on theatrical representation from Aristotle and Bharata through Addison and Steele to Brecht and Boal make clear, questions about how the theatre might best solicit, organize and marshal affective response have been of central concern." However, she believes that until now, no single text draws together the threads of theatre theory's time-honored concern with emotion. Her research activities will include the completion of a monograph on theatre and feeling which will be a part of the Palgrave MacMillan series "Theatre &," the organization of a seminar for the annual conference of the American Society for Theatre Research, the editing of a special journal issue on the topic of theatre and feeling, as well as the development of an undergraduate level course at McGill entitled "Theatre Lab". Professor Hurley's research program will also include the training of graduate students by involving them in research as well as the Theatre Lab development process. She is confident that her research and research results will guide theatre scholars and practitioners in this emerging area of enquiry and establish a base-line for further research.
Key words: theatre and feeling, dramatic theory, emotional response
The power of symbolic capital: political struggles over monuments and memorials in the post-communist world
Amount awarded: $104,718
Crafting public memory through erecting, renovating, neglecting, moving or destroying monuments and memorials, Professor Johnson points out, is a fundamental tool of modern state-building. Along with her co-applicant, Professor Benjamin Forest of the Department of Geography, Professor Johnson will investigate how post-communist politicians have used the symbolic capital of monuments and memorials to legitimize their claims on power. Their research will answer three interrelated questions. First, how and why have patterns of post-communist commemoration varied across space and time? Second, which actors have had the power to control symbolic politics in post-communist public space, and why? Finally, how does the relative openness of the process affect the development of public memory and regime legitimacy? The team expects that patterns will vary depending upon the state's former place in the Soviet empire, the stage of transition, and the inclusiveness of the decision-making process. The project will involve several McGill graduate students who will have the opportunity to participate in the development of a database, field research and conference presentations. This project, which builds on earlier research conducted by the team in Russia, represents a rare collaboration between a political scientist and a political geographer. Drawing on the strengths of both of these disciplines, the primary output will be the first book to systematically examine post-communist policies and practices on monuments and memorials.
Key words: public memory, symbolic capital, monuments, post-communist, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Gentrification et exclusion sociale des personnes âgées
Amount awarded: $126,858
According to Professor Lavoie, research has demonstrated that living in disadvantaged areas is an important determinant in the social exclusion of senior residents. However, he points out that little attention has been paid to the impact of neighborhood gentrification on lower-income seniors. His argument is that increases in rents or municipal taxes, new neighbors of a higher social class, new high-end businesses, and other changes might lead seniors to move out of their neighborhoods or become marginalized and socially excluded. This international project will study gentrification processes and their impact on seniors in four neighborhoods, two in Montréal and two in Toulouse, France. In this project Professor Lavoie, his research team and several graduate students will interview 120 seniors, 60 of whom moved out of one of the four gentrified neighborhoods and 60 who remained. They will also interview community organizers, clergymen and city councilors living and/or working in these four neighborhoods. Their main research aim is to study the impact of neighborhood gentrification on multiple forms of social exclusion (territorial, economic, social relationships, sociopolitical, symbolic, identity) of lower-income seniors. The objective of Professor Lavoie's research program is to inform community organizations, urban planners and health and social service agencies of the results and, when needed, work collaboratively to develop measures to prevent social exclusion.
Key words: seniors, gentrification, social exclusion
Federalism reconsidered: the accidental innovation and the separation of loyalties
Amount awarded: $67,936
In recent decades, Professor Levy points out, federalism has attracted renewed attention as a central feature of constitutional practice in established and emerging democracies. He adds, "It has been particularly prominent in multi-ethnic and multi-national societies, as various kinds of federalism and quasi-federalism have been adopted to meet aspirations to self-government without recourse to secession." Yet according to Professor Levy, federalism has been little-studied and sometimes badly misunderstood in contemporary political theory. With this project he plans to develop a general normative theory of federalism, the first such theory, he believes, that is not limited to the normative reconstruction of one country's federal tradition, that draws together ethnocultural and non-ethnocultural federalism in the same discussion and that treats the constitutional distinctiveness of federalism from other forms of decentralization as being of central interest. His primary aim of developing a general normative theory of federalism will in turn revitalize the study of federalism and move it to a more general level than has often been typical of a literature that offers idealizations of the American, Canadian, or E.U. experience and history. Since his project draws on law and legal theory, the history of political thought, political science, and normative theory, Professor Levy will train graduate students in a number of different modes of research. The project will culminate in a series of articles and eventually a book on the development, the liberal and democratic benefits, and the costs of federalism understood.
Key words: normative political theory, federalism, non-ideal theory, history of political thought, constitutionalism, decentralization
Queering Britain: George Ives and sexual inversion from Wilde to Wolfenden
Amount awarded: $67,000
According to Professor Lewis, the relatively unknown writer George Cecil Ives (1867-1950), due to good connections and private income, was able to dedicate his career to the two causes closest to his heart. The first was the promotion of the rights of homosexuals. He founded the secretive Order of Chaeronea, the earliest British campaign group for the rights and recognition of "inverts", wrote articles and tracts, helped establish the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology and maintained strong connections with key figures in the early history of modern homosexuality. The second cause was penal reform, and here Ives was active in the Howard League for Penal Reform and published a number of volumes on crime and punishment. Taking his cue from Ives' life and writings Professor Lewis will write a history of homosexuality and of penal policy in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His research will include the transcription and analysis of Ives' diary (which spans from 1887 to 1949, amounts to three million words and fills 122 volumes) as well as the 43-volume collection of newspaper and journal clippings that Ives amassed during his lifetime. Professor Lewis will also draw on the papers in Britain and the United States not only of Ives but also of other leading British activists for homosexual rights, and on newspapers and governmental records. The chief outcome of his research will be two books: a monograph and an annotated version of the diary. Throughout his research, Professor Lewis will mentor and train graduate students who will work alongside him during his archival research and will help identify and transcribe important passages of the diary.
Key words: history of sexuality, sexual inversion, crime and punishment, middle classes, Great Britain
Ngo Van Long
Trade liberalisation, trade policy, and welfare
Amount awarded: $60,000
This research project, Professor Long explains, "is composed of four projects that deal with various theoretical aspects of trade liberalization, and trade policy in the context of the global movement toward freer trade." The first three projects are particularly pertinent for developed economies and apply in particular to industries that are not perfectly competitive, for example, the welfare impact of international outsourcing and off-shoring. The fourth project studies, in the context of falling transport costs and trade costs, the international rivalry where imports of a nonrenewable resource such as oil or gas compete with local production in spatially segregated domestic markets. In addition to dealing with policy issues in the context of falling trade costs, Professor Long notes that all of these projects share a common feature: they involve strategic behavior of domestic and foreign firms, often in a context where dynamic considerations are crucial. The research program will also involve the training of graduate students at the doctoral level who will work closely with Professor Long and his co-applicant from the Université de Montréal and have the opportunity to give talks on their work and findings.
Key words: international trade, trade liberalization, trade policy
The Cold War transformed, 1960s to 1980s
Amount awarded: $83,500
According to Professor Lüthi, the end of the Cold War provided historians with access to previously closed archives and published documentation from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and even China. Most of their research thus far has focused on the early Cold War (1940s to 1960s); however, Professor Lüthi wants to focus on the latter half in order to provide a reinterpretation thanks to the newly available documents. He considers the traditional association of the end of the Cold War with the collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 too narrow and Eurocentric and instead argues that the Cold War ended in Europe and East Asia, which he considers the two most important regional theatres of the Cold War, at different times. His research project will focus on the period from the 1960s to the 1980s, what he calls the roots of the post-Cold War world, which he expects will disclose intricate links between events in East Asia and Europe. Based primarily on archival documents, published sources and available secondary literature such as memoirs, Professor Lüthi's project will also involve the training of graduate students in methodological skills and the process of publishing research results. Findings from the project will be disseminated in four to six refereed journal articles, at six academic conferences, and will comprise part of a major book project on the transformation of the Cold War and the rise of the post-Cold War world.
Key words: Cold War, international relations, Europe, East Asia
The political economy of crime and regulation in the world wildlife trade
Amount awarded: $46,293
There is a growing awareness, Professor Naylor notes, that the quality and durability of human life depends on the prosperity of other inhabitants of the biosphere. Yet ever more wildlife species are threatened by shrinking habitat, climate change, chemical pollutants and trafficking. Even if most modern industry relies on synthetic materials, wildlife is still in great demand for luxury projects, traditional Chinese Medicine and exotic pets, to name just a few examples. He speculates that primary suppliers of these luxury products include peasant farmers, amateur hunters, professional poachers, even insurgent armies who traffic wildlife to buy weapons. Between primary supply and final demand runs a complex chain of intermediation, the main concern of Professor Naylor's project. Applying the problem of wildlife trafficking to his two decades of study of other activities with potentially useful lessons such as drug trafficking, gun running and money laundering, to name just a few, Professor Naylor's research will help better understand the mechanics of clandestine commerce and the underground finance involved in an effort to help curb the illegal trade in nature. In order to do this, he will work with graduate students to assemble and sort through a mass of data on known and suspected instances of wildlife trafficking to begin what he believes to be the first global analysis on the subject. The results of this research will be communicated through a series of articles followed by a book written for both an academic and an NGO audience.
Key words: smuggling, economic regulation, international trade, environment, wildlife trade, conservation, economic development
Calderón (1600-1681), icône de la propagande culturelle du Franquisme
Amount awarded: $65,000
For this project, a continuation of two previous SSHRC grants, Calderon, icone de "l'identité nationale" (2002) and Les nationalismes et l'apropriation de Calderón au XIXe siècle (2005), Professor Pérez-Magallón will explore the cultural mechanisms of Francoism which manipulated Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca's figure and converted him into an icon of political conservatism. His hypothesis is that Francoism played a fundamental role in the current perception of Calderón as a conservative playwright, contrary to the evidence of his plays. In addition to attending theatre performances, reading histories of Spanish literature, exploring curricula, researching involvement of well-known intellectuals in theatrical performances of Calderón's plays, Professor Pérez-Magallón's research activities will involve the training of graduate students in bibliographic research, and preparing articles for publication. The results of his research will be communicated throughout the course of the project at professional association conferences such as the North East Modern Language Association of America (NEMLA), the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Asociación Canadiense de Hispanistas (ACH). The final goal of the project is the completion of a book manuscript.
Key words: identité nationale, histoire culturelle, théorie de la réception, théâtre espagnol, icone culturel, Calderón de la Barca
Goethe, print, and the medium of the self
According to media theorists, there is a profound sense today of the influence that digital media have on how we think about ourselves and how we convey this self to others through new web interfaces such as Friendster, Myspace, and Second Life. Despite this attention to the impact of digital media on contemporary representations of self, Professor Piper believes that there is very little understanding of the history behind such practices. With this research project he will study the interaction of autobiography and media during another period of intense outpouring of writing about the self when the revolutionary medium was not hypertext but print; in particular the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Through research to be undertaken at the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv and the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar, Germany, Professor Piper will explore how 1) how Goethe's autobiographical writings circulated in print, both in terms of material format and dissemination; 2) how the genres of the literary advertisement and the literary conversation supported, amplified and contrasted those autobiographical writings; and 3) how printed illustrations of Goethe, whether as frontispieces, stand-alone prints, or even imprinted coins, contributed to the shaping of the popular image of the author. He believes that the project will make important contributions to the training of graduate students who will produce literature reviews, compile bibliographies and master the bibliographical tools necessary for the analysis of print culture. Two of the final outcomes of the project will be a scholarly monograph on Goethe's relationship to early 19th century print culture and a website illustrating the project's impact on the study of autobiography.
Key words: autobiography, media theory, print culture, intermediality
Mapping global media and communication policy
Amount awarded: $80,792
In his recent work, Professor Raboy has laid the foundation for developing a conceptual and analytical framework for studying media policy that takes into account corporate globalization, multilateral politics, the changing role and nature of the national State, and the emergence of civil society as an actor on the world stage. This project will permit him to establish the importance of communication governance structures and institutions and hence the specificity of media and communication in broader social processes. He will do so by tracking significant developments in global media and communication policy at the multilateral and transnational levels and domestically insofar as they are reflected in Canadian policy developments. Specifically, he proposes to selectively monitor and analyze ongoing policy processes at key sites in each of the following three thematic areas: media and democracy, cultural diversity and communication rights. By socio-critical analysis emphasizing these three thematic areas, Professor Raboy will thus clarify the theoretical and conceptual terrain of global media and communication policy. With the aim of training the next generation of researchers in the area of media and communication policy, Professor Raboy's research project will involve graduate students in aspects such as data collection and analysis. The results will be communicated in a number of ways including an index of web-based resources as well as a comprehensive bibliography on global media and communication policy, maintained on the Media@McGill website.
Key words: media policy, communication policy, global governance, political economy of communication
Creating time(s): contemporary arts and post-opticality, from the instant to the longue durée
Amount awarded: $121,262
Despite the widely held view among theorists that contemporary art creates and generates time through its suspension, Professor Ross argues that contemporary art's temporal experimentations involve a range of perceptual strategies through which conventions of time of classical modernity are interrupted, transformed and substituted. Her research for this project will focus on the creation of five alternative temporalities: stretched instantaneity, anachronism, simultaneity, delayed real-time and longue durée. Having as its main question, "How does art create time?" the project will call attention to the artworks' post-optical strategies that sustain such regenerations. Professor Ross' research plan includes archival studies, studio and exhibition visits and the creation, with the assistance of graduate students, of a database of digital sounds, images, artworks, conference recordings and archival documents to be used as a teaching and research tool to facilitate and support the contextualization and comparison between artworks, alternative temporalities, aesthetic/cognitive/neurobiological strategies and disciplinary studies and findings on time. The results of the project will be communicated through articles and public lectures at various national and international scholarly conferences and through a book to be entitled, Creating time(s): contemporary arts and post-opticality, from the instant to the longue durée.
Key words: contemporary art, new media, opticality, time, perception, cognition, simultaneity, augmented reality, anachronism
Written culture and the common law in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries
Amount awarded: $77,501
With the aim of demonstrating how the literature of the common law and its dissemination contributed to the ideas of collective identity in 15th and early 16th century England, Professor Sobecki will show how the form of the common law was anything but static. From Fortescue's jingoistic praise for English law over the de facto nationalization of a vernacular law printing industry under Mary to the writing of its martyrology during Elizabeth's early reign, Professor Sobecki argues that the common law profoundly impacted ideas of what it meant to be English. His research situates itself at the intersection of five rapidly developing lines of inquiry: the history of the book, the rise of vernacularity, legal discourses, new medieval literatures and the philosophy of law. Given the historical nature of the subject, Professor Sobecki's research activities will mainly consist of archival work and its evaluation. His research plans include the training of students, who will acquire research experience in archival research, bibliography, and medieval as well as early modern paleography. Professor Sobecki's ultimate goal is to produce the first monograph to address the dynamic function played by the common law in the 15th and early 16th centuries, assessing the law's contribution to emerging ideas of Englishness. As a result, he will recover a cultural transformation whose impact has been effaced in the fragmented cultural canons of medievalists and early modernists.
Key words: English literature, medieval, early modern, law, identity, jurisprudence
Crime, visuality and print media
Amount awarded: $85,500
Crime, as the French historian Dominique Kalifa has suggested, and as Professor Straw points out, is more than simply one theme among many within popular culture. Rather, crime is at the centre of a broad expressive and stylistic system through which we imagine contemporary life. Crime is not just the subject matter of specialized cultural genres, but a name for the sense of insecurity or urgency which may run through a variety of cultural forms. As such, Professor Straw argues, ideas of criminality are at the heart of the ways in which contemporary life has come to be stylized and aestheticized within cultural imagery. His research will deal primarily with examples of sensational, crime-oriented periodicals published in France, Québec, Mexico and the United States during the 1950s, a decade when publishers in each of these countries produced a wide array of sensationalistic magazines and newspapers which exploited, for commercial purposes, public interest in crime. Professor Straw's research will focus on the visuality of the true crime periodical, its role in gathering up and circulating a variety of visual forms with long histories, such as photojournalism, narrative illustration, graphic typography, cartography, and portraiture. As part of his research program, graduate students will develop skills in archival research and artefactual analysis, undertaking research in Mexico City as well as in Montréal. This research project will have as its outcomes a well-illustrated monograph on crime and visuality in the 1950s, a highly annotated on-line visual archive of print culture imagery related to crime and a book on the Quebec-based crime tabloid Allo Police, which ceased publication in 2004 after fifty years.
Key words: crime, media, France, Mexico, Quebec, print, press
Political rights and durable inequality: caste and socio-economic change in India
Amount awarded: $131,583
According to Professor Subramanian, the political rights which citizens enjoy in contemporary democracies interact in uncertain ways with sustained socio-economic inequalities. Constitutions uphold popular sovereignty and political equality in democracies. Moreover, democratic institutions enable the mobilization and political representation of subordinate groups, which could aid the social and economic mobility of these groups. However, as he points out, democracies often coexist with considerable inequality. When they do, dominant groups often use their socio-political influence to restrict egalitarian reform and thus limit the quality of democracy. With this research project tracking caste and change in India, Professor Subramanian will explore the impact of the patterns of political mobilization of the lower castes, the representation of these groups in the formation and implementation of redistributive policies and the relationship of forces engaged in lower caste mobilization to governing alliances on the socio-economic situation of these groups. The research will consider these effects by analyzing changes at the national level, and through a case study of a region of particularly high caste inequality, the Kaveri delta in southern India. As part of his research program, Professor Subramanian will train graduate students in data collection and analysis and involve them in interviews with policy-makers, political leaders and activists. The results of his research on caste relations in India will be available on a forthcoming website and presented at the conferences of the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association and the Association for Asian Studies, eventually leading to the publication of several articles in refereed academic journals.
Key words: socio-economic inequality, social structure, subordination, ethnic relations
A typology of language and movement: heads vs. projections
Amount awarded: $122,425
Professor Travis proposes two main objectives for her research program: the first is to understand the exact mechanisms of syntactic movement by creating what she calls a "typology of movement" through cross-linguistic data and the second is to understand language variation by creating a "language typology" based on the exact mechanisms of movement. Her research is situated broadly in the context of Chomsky's Minimalist Program, four essays that attempt to situate linguistic theory in the broader cognitive sciences. More narrowly, her research is situated within a particular typology that she is developing, based on a hypothesis that languages must check the same set of features but these features may target different projections. In English, for example, verbal features target heads and nominal features target maximal (nominal) projections. In Malagasy, verbal features target maximal projections and nominal features target heads. The questions raised by Professor Travis' research fall into two main categories—one having to do with the range of language variation and the other having to do with details of syntactic theory. In order to investigate these issues, Professor Travis, with the assistance of graduate students, will study a few languages in depth while reading the relevant literature on a wider range of languages. The field work methods will involve both corpus analysis and grammaticality judgments provided by native speakers and the results will be communicated at linguistics conferences as well as through articles and book chapters. Professor Travis also plans to present the research findings to other populations, in particular to linguists who are native speakers of relevant languages.
Key words: syntax, phrase structure, event structure, Austronesian, typology, morpho-syntax
Axel van den Berg
Shifting interactions between employment and social policies: new welfare regimes in OECD countries and Canadian provinces
Amount awarded: $110,750
Professor van den Berg's research is based on the premise that throughout the industrialized world academics and policy makers have become convinced that major social and employment policy reforms are needed to cope with the economic and social challenges of our era: intensifying international competition, massive economic restructuring, demographic trends and changes in values, expectations and lifestyles. However, he argues, the nature of the necessary reforms is a subject of much debate, both among researchers and in the policy arena. His research will make a distinctly Canadian contribution to these international debates by offering a careful examination of federal and provincial employment and social policies, including recent reforms, and by showing how and to what extent these policies have succeeded in producing a combination of social protection and economic flexibility when compared to selected European countries. He believes that these comparisons will yield valuable new information about the feasibility of different combinations of social protection and economic flexibility and the political, economic and social preconditions for their success. Professor van den Berg's research program will involve the training of students in literature searches, collection of policy and statistical data, archival research and interviews with policy experts. On the basis of the analyses of the Canadian data, he expects to publish six to eight research papers that will be presented at professional conferences and workshops.
Key words: comparative social and employment policy, welfare state regimes, labour market flexibility, flexicurity
Interfaces in second language acquisition: accounting for the difficulties of second language learners
Amount awarded: $167,678
Professor White points out that while it is well known that adult learners often fail to achieve native-like success in their second language, the performance of second language learners differs from native speakers in a number of respects, both during the course of acquisition and at the "end state" when acquisition is assumed to be complete. She believes, however, that we are still far from understanding the reasons why the ultimate attainment of the majority of second language learners is not native-like. Her research program will investigate possible causes of non-native performance, through a series of experiments conducted with child and adult second language learners, involving a variety of languages such as English, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. Working with Professor White, students will be trained to devise appropriate test materials, test subjects, and to code and analyze data as well as to develop their own theories and hypotheses. She expects that the results will have both theoretical and practical implications, which will be presented at significant international conferences such as the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL). Where results have practical implications for second language teaching, presentations will also be made to professional conferences and organizations such as the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics (CAAL). In addition, a webpage, accessible to the general public as well as the academic community will be developed, allowing access to ongoing findings.
Key words: second language acquisition, grammatical interfaces