Wolfe Fellows


golène Guinard’s doctoral dissertation, titled “In Lieu of an Image: Sensing the Cosmos at the Large Millimeter Telescope”, grounds the study of the relationships between images and the unobservable in an ethnographical account connecting communities of astronomers in Mexico to global interferometers seeking to characterize black holes with increased resolution. In April 2019 and May 2022, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration released visual evidence of the existence of black holes. Among the observatories used to collect the data needed to reconstruct the EHT images is the Large Millimeter Telescope, located on top of the extinct Sierra Negra volcano, within the Pico de Orizaba National Park. While astronomers seek to reduce uncertainty in their approach to the unseeable, we may wonder how uncertainties of all kinds may bear witness to the social, political and environmental arrangements overlapping around the Large Millimeter Telescope. As astrophysicists evince the possibility of reconstructing images to capture truth, Ségolène seek to give an account of the processes at stake in and beyond the production of astronomy iconic visuals. This project is to tell the story of different ways of sensing and making sense of a greater cosmos, and of the hardships of doing so, from the Sierra Negra to the broader astronomer’s community, in Mexico and beyond; from the proximity of high mountain ecological and social landscapes to distant astronomical events and entities. What images and imaginaries intersect, oppose   and articulate around the Large Millimeter Telescope, making entities and relationships exist, which would otherwise fade into the unobservable? How can we understand the role played by uncertainty in our approximation of truthful descriptions of things and events?

Cynthia Kreichati is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. Trained as a pharmacist in Lebanon, Cynthia holds a Masters in Sociology from the American University in Beirut. Her current work explores the relationships between politics, archives and the environment. She is now completing her doctoral dissertation project — an ethnography of an infrastructural project of development targeting the Litani river in Lebanon. Cynthia’s doctoral research explores how infrastructural projects in Lebanon have become a synecdoche of the state’s divestment from responsible public service provision. Her dissertation focuses specifically on the Litani river dam project, a hydropower and irrigation infrastructure funded by Lebanon’s first loan from the World Bank and implemented between 1950 and 1970. Initially conceived as the country’s most important investment in technological modernity since its independence in 1943, the heavily polluted Litani river is now poisoning all forms of life in the rural region of the Bekaa through which it flows, delivering disease and disarray in the place of abundance and progress. Cynthia’s ethnography traces the fraught histories of these technological transformations. Investigating the institutional discourses of infrastructural development and decline on one hand, and the consumption practices of water and electricity in everyday life on the other, her dissertation attends to way the gaps and tensions between these two entwined scales have become invested with local politics. Her research ultimately foregrounds the creative ways communities address broader socioeconomic and ecological fallouts and navigate bio-political practices forged in the crucible of infrastructural collapse.

Jérémie LeClerc is a PhD candidate in English at McGill University. His SSHRC CGS-funded dissertation, “Making Space Matter: Romanticism and Field Theory,” looks at the ways transatlantic Romantic literature intersected with the development of classical field theory in nineteenth-century physics and mathematics. Breaking away from the Newtonian model of physics and its conception of matter as “atoms in a void”—small hard bodies floating in the empty container of space—the field theory of matter put forward by nineteenth-century figures such as Michael Faraday, William Rowan Hamilton and James Clerk Maxwell instead conceived of space as a continuum or field of “physical lines of forces.” This paradigm shift occurred at the same period that British and American writers were exploring novel ways of thinking about nature, and the porous boundary between the disciplines of arts and sciences at the time led to many fruitful exchanges and conversations among physicists and poets, mathematicians and novelists. “Making Space Matter” takes the concept of field developed by nineteenth-century physics and mathematics as a starting point to explore new treatments of space and materiality, individuality and relationality, and atmospheres and environments in transatlantic Romantic literature, studying the writings of figures such as Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake and Martin R. Delany to argue that the field model of nature makes for a rich contribution to many traditional research questions in Romantic scholarship that have important ramifications for our understanding of science, technology and culture today.

Nina Morena is a PhD candidate in Communication Studies. Her doctoral research investigates the social media practices of young people with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Despite breast cancer’s prominent public profile, metastatic disease (or Stage IV) is often excluded from dominant narratives of screening, treatment, and survivorship. As a result, people with MBC are often marginalized from the philanthropic and survivor-centred focus of breast cancer discourse aimed at people with earlier stages of disease. The experience of living with MBC remains understudied and too little understood. On social media, understanding how people with MBC respond to living with and managing the disease will inform the fields of cancer medicine, treatment, and health communication from patient perspectives. Nina’s research examines the knowledge work people with MBC do on social media, and the forms of information activism and digital literacy about breast cancer they produce in the process. This research will create practical knowledge that will help medical professionals better understand the online information practices that people with MBC engage in and will support the production of critical literacy materials the public can use to interpret online information about breast cancer. Nina holds an MA in Media Studies from Concordia University and a BA in English Literature from McGill University. She has published work in JMIR Formative Research, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Feminist Media Studies.

Valérie Lynn Therrien is a PhD candidate in Philosophy, specializing in Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics. Her dissertation — titled Models of Mathematics : A Tale of Two Logics — centers on the question of how to ad[1]judicate an appropriate background logic for axiomatizations of mathematics. Currently, first-order logics are the default background logic. They have the advantage of being simple yet expressive, deductively complete, but has two main disadvantages. The first is that it is not categorical, which means that there are infinitely many non-isomorphic models for e.g., the natural number sequence 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, . . . — most including strange entities like “non-standard” numbers capable of being greater than all natural numbers, and in which ad[1]dition and multiplication aren’t computable! The second disadvantage is that making first-order logics expressive enough to axiomatize the natural numbers renders it incomplete! In many ways, first-order logics simply are not up to the task. Second-order logics are deductively incomplete, but have the advantage of being categorical, which makes them far more suitable to talk with precision about a mathematical structure. Val´erie’s hypothesis for the curious side-lining of second-order logics has precisely to do with the fascinating panoply of non[1]standard models, which required the development of a new field of mathematics to investigate : model theory. She intends to generate a history of model the[1]ory and use this history as a case study for the burgeoning field of Philosophy of Mathematical Practice in order to improve our understanding of scientific progress and decision-making with respect to our background theories when the advantages and disadvantages aren’t themselves decisive.

Tristan Tondino is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University. He has two areas of specialization: (1) interdisciplinary research in the philosophy of language and linguistics, specializing in semantics. Questions he asks include: what kind of communication systems do various animals have, what is different about human neurology that allows for a radically different kind of language skill, in what way is language innate, how is truth related to meaning, how do the arts and sciences contribute to understanding the world, why is promoting linguistic diversity important? (2) Tristan works on the interconnectedness of other human ‘languages’. For example, he has been doing conferences that promote STEAM over STEM by tracing the relationship between mathematics, primarily geometry, and the visual arts. Tristan is also a working painter and art director. His thesis focuses on polysemy which is ubiquitous in natural language. Metaphors are rarely true. He offers arguments to support the thesis that meanings come before truth and that we should avoid conflating regimented meanings of the sciences with the rich meanings of natural language. Importantly, both the arts and sciences contribute to how we understand the world, and both employ “felicitous falsehoods” or, as he has termed them in other work, facetted fictions. In 2010, Tristan exhibited 13 artworks based on Catherine Z. Elgin’s article “True Enough.” His work on multilingual children’s books has been studied at the University of Ottawa because it allows children to map parts of speech from more than one language effectively. He has been touring his presentation “Meaning in Artistic Practice – On the Interconnectedness of Mathematics and Visual Art: A Presentation on Linear Perspective” most recently at the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels and he will be giving the talk at Dawson College and Harvard University in the fall of 2023.

Richard Yanaky is a PhD Candidate in McGill’s School of Information Studies. His dissertation work revolves around the research and development of new urban sound planning tools for non-sound professionals. The World Health Organization identifies noise pollution as the second worst environmental risk factor and its reduction has been added to the list of long-term United Nations sustainability goals due to the detrimental effects it has on the health and quality of life of city users. Yet noise is typically addressed as an afterthought, long after decisions have literally been built into the concrete. Professionals of the Built Environment who shape our cities (including urban planners, designers, and policy makers) often have to rely on a policy and broader practice framework which narrowly focuses on setting sound level limits, providing little guidance to design with sound in mind which supports well-being. Furthermore, this work is outsourced to small groups of people (e.g. acousticians), who make decisions that affect large and diverse groups of city users. This often means underrepresented and marginalized groups will be excluded from decisions that greatly – and disproportionately – impact their daily lives. To help address these issues, Richard has developed a new virtual reality tool, City Ditty, to help a wider range of people contribute to urban sound planning. Currently, sound planning revolves around controlling and limiting sound levels, using specialized tools made for acousticians, which have a high knowledge barrier for entry. City Ditty, in contrast, helps novice users instead connect to the auditory experience of city users. By considering the auditory experience, we can, for example, encourage public space utilization and facilitate social interactions. This can help promote the attraction and lingering of people in commercial areas to promote local businesses and create restorative environments to promote stress recovery. When used in conjunction with existing techniques, this can help bridge a knowledge and communication gap to include a wider range of stakeholders in city planning.


Brianna Blackwell is a PhD student in the Department of English at McGill University. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Kansas and an MS in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee. For her doctoral research, Brianna investigates the ways machine learning, archival science, and the literary digital humanities can benefit each other. In particular, she researches methods that archivists have developed over centuries to describe their complex historical documents and collections. These archival methods can improve the contextualization, description, and availability of the large sets of texts used in natural language processing (NLP), a machine learning method. NLP can be used in any field that produces a large amount of text, but literature is an especially useful training ground because of the complexity that literary texts bring to the table. Not only do literary texts contain figures of speech, bias, and ambiguity, but they are also situated in particular historical contexts that impact their meaning. Brianna works to encode the complexity of literature in ways that make the texts more understandable for the computer and the process more effective for the researcher. By addressing how machine learning deals with language and historical or social contexts, NLP can be made more ethical and accurate in all of its applications.

Amy Donovan is a PhD candidate in anthropology. Her passion is multi-species storytelling; her PhD work, titled “Song, Sonar and Story: An ethnography of listening with whales,” is on whales and how scientists come to know them. Her multi-sited research, with sites in Nova Scotia, Quebec and South Africa, seeks to learn both from whales themselves and from these scientists’ intimate knowledge of them, through participant observation on the water as well as in-depth interviews with marine biologists. Amy’s work is particularly attentive to forms of listening and documentation to and of whales and the data we draw from them. She is also interested in the art of ethnographic writing: how it might work as a research practice and method rather than simply a mode of disseminating data; how closely it might approach the lifeworlds of nonhuman others, and what possibilties for transformation such closeness holds.  Amy holds a BA and MA in anthropology from Dalhousie University, and a master’s in creative writing from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her creative work, much of which probes human-nonhuman relations and formally experiments with the articulation of nonhuman lives, has been published in several journals and collections, including Riddle Fence magazine and Book*hug's 2019 collection Write Across Canada (ed. Joseph Kertes). Her most recent published work is an academic chapter titled “Raw, Dense, and Loud: A whale’s perspective on cold water energy,” in the collection Cold Water Oil (Routledge, 2021; eds. Fiona Polack & Danine Farquharson). In addition to the Wolfe Fellowship, Amy's doctoral research is supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship.

Sebastian Rodriguez Duque is a PhD candidate at the Philosophy Department at McGill University. His dissertation seeks to address the epistemological and ethical challenges that arise through the design and use of health outcome measures. Very often researchers and clinicians are stuck with an array of measurement scales for depression, anxiety or other constructs, and they do not know either how to choose among these scales, or how to interpret the numerical scores that these scales yield. This uncertainty is partly because scales that may have been developed for some purposes may not be fit for a new purpose or context. His work focuses on examining the role of ethical and social values in the development and use of such measures. He argues that the scientific rigour that underpins researchers’ and clinicians’ judgments about the quality of fit of a measure depends not only on epistemic considerations addressed by the usual validation practices in psychometrics (the science of measuring mental traits or attitudes), but also on the alignment of the values and goals of interested parties within a particular context of use. As an embedded philosopher, he has joined a team of health outcome researchers in the design of a new health-related quality of life questionnaire. His work describes the ways in which ethical and other values are implicated at each stage of the process, from the focus group stage onto the testing of the prototype measure. He likewise has been part of a team that has drafted a guidebook and piloted workshops on measurement for clinicians working in mental health. He argues that interested parties using measurement must also coordinate their values and goals to produce data that is legitimate and fit for purpose and proposes a procedure to do so called ‘ethical iterations’.

Katrina Casey Kosyk is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in sensory archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. She is interested in the materiality and construction of ancient sound practices (including music), and how peoples from the past may have engaged with their social spaces through sound and other sensorial experiences. Her doctoral project reconstructs how past central Mexican communities (re)imagined their own sound practices by forming learning networks that may have differed from their own political and cultural affiliations. Her project analyzes variable sonic experiences from the Late Postclassic to early Colonial (A.D. 1250 – A.D. 1650) periods in central Mexico. This includes the imperial Aztec core, conquered Aztec communities, and independent Aztec enemy territories, all part of the Spanish colonial empire after A.D. 1521. Katrina uses social learning theory to identify the extent of variability in the production and use of musical instruments. More specifically, she relies on two units of analysis: community of practice (CoP) and a community of engaged performance (CEP). These learning communities are groups of people that regularly come together to share knowledge and practice a common interest, but they differ in terms of engagement and size. A CoP, for example, may be a group of musical instrument producers that share knowledge in the processes of making a musical instrument in a shared context of learning, which can be discerned from archaeological evidence. A CEP is defined as the collaboration between musical instrument, a performer, and an audience. These communities can be identified from remains of musical instruments and historical/cultural documents. For example, group practices can be identified in how sound is depicted in writing and images, and fragments of musical instruments reveal information on bodily motions while playing an instrument and their accompanying auditory/tactile sensations. These approaches to understanding how communities produced and used sound emphasize inter-generational learning that links sound practices with meaning and identity. Katrina is also interested in how ancient peoples may have promoted, blocked, or impeded sound, to promote specific forms of cultural expression. Finally, her research extends beyond a human centric musical narrative by investigating the relationship between human action resulting from sounding agencies.

Katrin Rohrbacher is a PhD candidate in German Studies at the Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures. In her dissertation entitled “Space in the Novel: Quantitative Evidence and Fictional Worlds” Katrin examines how the formation of space in novels has changed through time across three centuries of German writing beginning in the eighteenth century. In particular, the project asks how the use of quantitative methods and digitized texts can produce new insights on the practices used to configure fictional space in the novel across centuries. In addition, she investigates how the emergence of domesticity, and its sociohistorical and cultural role is related and can be connected to the development of narrative space and setting in the novel, the way it affects the story’s telling: How it shapes the narrative from “within” as opposed to the way of how its itself represented in the narrative. By analyzing digitized corpora at scale, Katrin aims to identify not only the larger historical contours of how setting has been employed in the history of the novel, but also how the techniques of narrative domestication can advance and shed new light on the role of space in literary history. Katrin holds a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Vienna. She is managing editor for the “Journal of Cultural Analytics” and course lecturer in German at McGill. Previously, she worked as a researcher and content manager in the interdisciplinary action-research project PIVOT that aims to create a peer-to-peer community of Canadian Small- and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to take action on climate change.

Andy Kelleher Stuhl is a PhD candidate in Communication Studies at McGill University. His dissertation, tentatively titled “Unmaking a Medium: Automation and Art in American Radio, 1950–2010,” examines how radio industries and radio artists have shaped the cultural meaning of sonic automation. Automation often appears in recent media scholarship and criticism as a 21st-century phenomenon. In sound and music in particular, writers tend to imply that it poses unprecedented challenges for artists through algorithmically mediated streaming platforms. Radio history complicates this notion. Since the early 1950s, automation has been an active and controversial presence within auditory media by way of its role in radio broadcast studios. By tracing how automation and the American radio medium have shaped one another over the course of sixty years, Andy’s research aims to repair continuities across an analog/digital divide – both for media studies and for artists confronting automation in their work today. Andy received his bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology, and Society from Stanford University and a master’s in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. His doctoral research is also funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, Société et Culture (FRQSC). Andy was the 2021-2022 Radio Artist Fellow with Wave Farm, a New York non-profit organization that sponsors and archives transmission art.

Hannah Tollefson (she/her) is a Ph.D. Candidate in Communication Studies at McGill University. Informed by environmental humanities and media and technology studies, her research areas include environmental media, logistics, and oil and energy cultures. She is interested in how relationships of place and scale are mediated by infrastructure. Her dissertation project, “To Tidewater: Logistics and Conservation in the Salish Sea” is a study of how the coastlines and waterways of the Staľəw estuary and the Salish Sea, which host the terminals and shipping lanes that comprise the Port of Vancouver, have been constructed and maintained as logistics space. Ninety percent of global commodities move through maritime space, putting immense political and environmental pressure on oceans and coastal port spaces. This project traces the role of scientific and technical mediation in the politics of logistics by studying key sites of environmental and supply chain management. These include environmental assessments, vessel optimization and standardization efforts, habitat offsetting, and remediation, and distributed sensing and monitoring systems. Analyzing these practices and infrastructures, the project seeks to understand the mutual relationships between settler colonial governance, environmental management, logistical infrastructures, and supply chain capitalism. Hannah holds an MA in Communication Studies from McGill University and a BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia.



Jacqueline Atkin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Art History at McGill University working under the supervision of Dr. Mary Hunter. Her research interests include artistic and medical collaboration, 19th-century photography, and avant-garde portraiture. In her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Tracing the Human Face: The Art and Science of Emotional Expression (1860–1960),” Jacqueline explores how medical imagery produced within the field of neurology throughout the later 19th century informed modernist art-making practices. More specifically, she examines how neurological ideas about emotional expression in humans travelled across media, disciplines, and countries through clinical portraits of patients. While patients were largely conceived of as sites of scientific experimentation and innovation by later 19th-century clinicians, their ‘clinical portraits’ operated as vehicles through which theories of human facial expression, grounded in the study of human anatomy and physiology, could be articulated, debated, and publicized. By tracing the trajectories of such theories and their related visual culture, Jacqueline’s research uncovers how the collaborative efforts of scientists and artists working in Europe during the second half of the 19th century informed artistic pedagogy and practice. Jacqueline holds a BA in Humanities from York University and an MA in Art History from McGill University. In addition to the Wolfe Fellowship, her doctoral research is supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship.

Jiamin (Carrie) Dai is a PhD Candidate at the School of Information Studies, McGill University. Her doctoral research aims to better understand people with dementia in community-based social activities to inform the design of new social technologies. Dementia care has become a major healthcare issue in many countries including Canada. People with dementia and their caregivers face major challenges in reducing social isolation and maintaining quality of life. Carrie’s work helps enrich social activities inclusive of people with dementia and their caregivers in community settings. Her interdisciplinary research advances community-based knowledge of human-computer interaction and library and information science in the context of dementia care. Imbedded in community outreach, her fieldwork has successfully reached a range of stakeholders including people with dementia, caregivers, Alzheimer Society professionals, and librarians. Her volunteer work and community engagements are well received and recognized by organizational partners. In particular, she was awarded Volunteer of the Year 2019 by the Alzheimer Society of Montreal. In addition to her doctoral research, Carrie is a collaborator with the McGill Department of Family Medicine in promoting eHealth literacy. She holds a Master of Information Studies (McGill University) and a B.Sc. in Educational Technology (Shanghai International Studies University). In addition to the Wolfe Fellowship, her doctoral research is supported by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT).

Burç Köstem (he/him) is a PhD candidate in Communication Studies at McGill University. His doctoral research located in Istanbul, investigates the mutual production of reactionary sentiment and neoliberalism across the sites of urban construction, financial speculation and social media platforms from a degrowth perspective. More broadly, he is interested in the politics of the built environment, the problem of waste and excess in urban economies, critiques of political economy and post-autonomist political thought. His project is titled “Antiproductive Ecologies: Infrastructure, Finance and Culture in post-2000 Turkey”. Over the past 20 years, under the rule of the Justice and Development Party, politics in Turkey has been shaped by three power formations that converge around the fetishization of economic growth – the political economy of neoliberal developmentalism, the affective politics of authoritarianism, and the environmental politics of extraction. This project situates the construction of mega-infrastructure complexes and the politics of financial speculation as key sites where this fetish of economic growth is concretized and resisted. Studying the fields of cultural representation, artistic practice and activist intervention around construction and finance in Turkey, I investigate how the discourses of economic growth can be critiqued. Drawing on the work of artists, activists, political groups, and thinkers operating in Turkey, I speculate what it would mean to discover a politics of antiproduction, abundance and commoning that moves beyond growth.

Isadora Borges Monroy is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science and a member of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship. In the wake of the evidence provided by Snowden and other whistleblowers, her work studies democratic citizen attitudes towards their governments’ mass online surveillance policies, particularly in Canada, the United States, and the European Union. Using comparative, behavioral and political economy frameworks, she is in the process of testing whether attitudes towards state surveillance and surveillance capitalism differ. In particular, her work tests attitudes towards the “surveillance complex”, a term she has coined to describe the process by which governments deputize private companies to surveil and make accessible data on citizens’ consumer behavior. After observing that deputized surveillance programs create a democratic accountability gap, her research is focused on developing measures that adequately reflect citizen attitudes towards the scope, depth and variation in surveillance policies currently in use. Her research compares American to European attitudes and politics surrounding divergent regulatory frameworks, which she contextualizes through an analysis of their differing legal traditions and constraints. She holds an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, where her research focused on Google’s surveillance of digital piracy, and its effects on academic knowledge building. Isadora was an FRQSC scholar and has been awarded the 2018 NPSA/Pi Sigma Alpha Best Paper Award for The European Voter Privacy-Security Choice during 2014 EU Elections.

Li Parrent is a PhD candidate and Cundill Fellow in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University, in cotutelle with the Avignon Université. She completed her BA at the University of Minnesota in French & Italian Studies and Classical Civilization, and was a Fulbright Student at the University of York, where she completed an MA in Medieval Studies. Her work examines intersections of scientific thought on climate, habitat and medicine with politics and trade in thirteenth to fifteenth century Europe. In particular, she focuses on how ideas of the ‘local’ and the ‘exotic’ simultaneously devalued non- Mediterranean geographies and encouraged the discovery of medicinal and political potentialities in the landscapes, flora, and fauna of other distinct regions. In addition, she investigates how perceptions of local ingredients shifted as medical herbals became adapted to lay, courtly milieux. Her studies intersect with anthropological theories on space, conspicuous consumption, and animal studies through the examination of a wide range of sources, including pharmacopeias, herbals, chronicles, and paintings.

Marie Raulier is a PhD candidate in the Département des littératures de langue française, de traduction et de création at McGill University. She holds a B.A. in French and Romance Literatures and Languages from Université de Liège (Belgium) and a M.A. in French literature from McGill. Her dissertation aims to seize the transformations in the representation of the horseback rider in the French Ancien Régime literature by a study of the horseback riding treatises written between 1593 and 1789, using the methods of the cultural studies and history of ideas. She questions the relation between the emerging equestrian discipline and the other fields of arts and science and, above all, tries to account for the place of the written support in the learning of a corporal practice. Her doctoral research was funded by the SSHRC and she received a Schull-Yang International Experience Award and a Michael-Smith Foreign Study Supplement to perform research in the Parisian archives and libraries in 2020 and 2021. In 2021-2022, she will pursue her research in Paris as a pensionnaire étrangère at École Normale Supérieure de Paris.

Justin Raycraft is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. His interests are oriented towards improving conservation policies in rangeland environments, with attention to the varied effects of wildlife management on rural livelihoods in East Africa. His doctoral project is based on a year of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in the Maasai Steppe, a vast grassland ecosystem in northern Tanzania that supports numerous species of ungulates and large carnivores. His research employs qualitative and quantitative methods to study people’s attitudes towards conservation areas and wildlife at the community-level. The backbone of his project is a study of community attitudes towards Randilen Wildlife Management Area and Manyara Ranch, two key community-based conservation areas in the ecosystem that protect a vital wildlife corridor between Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. He is also carrying out several related studies on human-wildlife conflict through the lens of attitudes to understand the social, political, and economic factors that underlie people’s tolerance for living with wildlife. These studies utilize GIS technology to visualize perceived economic impacts of wildlife on agriculture and livestock production by geographical area, and focus in particular on human dimensions of conflict with spotted hyenas, elephants, and leopards.

Twisha Singh's doctoral research aims to study the commercial and technological evolution of entertainment spaces post 1900s in Calcutta and London. She focuses on the advent new scientific techniques employed by actors and managers such as reflexology and studio-schools to elevate their acting techniques. During the 1900s in cities like Calcutta, there was a large-scale investment of capital in the urban proscenium theatre that commodified entertainment much in similitude to the growth of modern theatre in London. Singh wants to study the economic and technological changes in London that invariably altered cultural production in the colonial landscape of the city of Calcutta. Her doctoral work focuses on how the technological innovations in urban theatre led to the professionalization of the occupation of an actor especially for women. Growth in theatre technology created an array of new occupational and economic opportunities for females like that resident managers. In London by 1920s a considerable number of theatre-managers were females. The inception of new technology in the realm of theatre intersected with the earlier conceptions of social thought that tethered actresses with the ideas of deviant female sexuality and a constant need of control in order to organize modern society. The growth of occupational mobility and economic independence of actresses is closely tied to the technological advancement of theatre as well as professionalization of work-sphere. Singh aims to employ a pluralistic approach combining theatrical technologies, economics, popular culture, and political theatre. Thus, contributing towards an analysis of a three-tier interaction between audience, theatre and stage and a cross-cultural study that will bring out both technological specificity and identity creation of theatre labor. Twisha is a doctoral student at the Department of History and Classical Studies, McGill University. Her research area includes South Asian History, Modern British History, Theatre and Performance Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She has completed her Master's degree in Modern History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and is an editor of a journal of South-Asian studies called HARF. She has previously worked at the National Human Rights Commission of India and Indian Institute of Dalit Studies in New Delhi.


Sarah Clairmont is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University, working in the philosophy of medicine. Her research examines the intersections of population health science and health inequity in Canada. Population health science is an emerging, interdisciplinary field that aims to promote health equity across social groups. Such research requires a clear understanding of how health inequity is created and sustained. Health disparities between more- and less- advantaged social groups have been extensively documented in the US and Canada—and these disparities continue to exist despite contemporary efforts to reduce them. The persistence of health disparities among social groups indicates an urgent need for social, educational, and healthcare reforms, but Sarah’s research points to deeper, structural barriers to achieving health equity that stem from the distribution of knowledge and ignorance across communities. Building on recent work in social epistemology and feminist race-critical philosophy, Sarah’s dissertation explains how health inequity can be understood as an effect of ignorance in Western medical science. Theorizing ignorance is not only about fine-tuning our belief-forming practices to fill certain gaps in our knowledge: epistemologies of ignorance critically examine the intersections of social identities, structural privilege, and cognitive norms. After defending her dissertation, Sarah plans to pursue the practical applications of her research and to work closely with population health scientists and policymakers. She holds a B.A. in Arts and Contemporary Studies (Ryerson University) and an M.A. in Philosophy (The New School).

Urvi Desai is a doctoral student and Cundill Fellow with the department of history, McGill University. She completed her BA in history and political science at the University of Mumbai, India. She completed her MA in international history from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva. She studied public policy at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. She worked at the reputed journal Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) in Bombay. Her doctoral research focuses on the history of birth control in colonial and post-colonial Bombay (1930 - 60s). Moving away from institutional histories and dominant voices of the birth control movement, this research engages with a range of vernacular sources in Gujarati, Hindi and Marathi. It examines modern birth control technologies, namely, “family hygiene” or sexual health products, that emerged in the Indian markets from the 1930s onwards. New medical technologies such as condoms, diaphragms, tonics, birth control pills, foam powder, jellies and chemical contraceptives flooded the markets. However, these birth control products reflect an unusual tension - on the one hand modern birth control allowed women to reduce chances of pregnancy, if they so desired; and on the other hand, birth control technologies had questionable efficacy, they were uncomfortable at best, and painful or corrosive at worst, to the female body. In sum, this research engages with products of sexual health as both public and private, liberal and illiberal, disruptors and conformists – in the same moment.

Lluís Ferrer is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. His PhD dissertation studies how environmental conservation programs seen as technopolitics are transforming pastoralism, common lands and farmer’s livelihoods in the Ariège Pyrenees, France. Based on fifteen months of fieldwork in the Biros valley, he delves into the major environmental engineering intervention in the Pyrenees —the reintroduction of the brown bear— and the broad range of ensuing transformations it has brought about in this French district. The goal of this rewilding project was to establish a permanent bear population along the range through the introduction of species from Slovenia who belong to the same Pyrenean subspecies. His dissertation examines the ways in which the bear reintroduction, the monitorization of bear population, and the aversive conditioning methods applied to reduce livestock depredation are producing a hybrid, a designed species through a complex technoscientific process governed by environmental technicians and legitimated by scientific knowledge. Besides, the bear program has implied not only natural but also fundamental transformations for the farming sector: a stronger presence of the state through subsidies and prevention policies, a process of bureaucratization, a larger farmers’ economic and institutional dependence and the ensuing sense of dispossession and loss of governance. Therefore, the reintroduction of the brown bear poses the critical question of what and, for whom, Pyrenean landscapes and territories are. Before joining McGill University, Lluís received a MA in Anthropology from University of Barcelona, a BA in Anthropology and a BA in Economics from Autonomous University of Barcelona. In addition to the Wolfe Fellowship, his doctoral research is supported by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC).

Michel Fournier-Simard is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at McGill University specialized in the social impact of Artificial Intelligence. His dissertation looks at police policy making in the era of AI. As the police enacts the State monopoly of legitimate violence over a given territory, the way it engages with technological innovations to enhance this power - or not -, and how society responds, are crucial dynamics illustrative of the challenges AI poses for policy makers. When integrating police AI technological innovations, services must identify which products or services provide the best balance between optimized technical capacities and cost efficiency, while developing use policies addressing privacy, inequality and unaccountability concerns. Michel dives into the decision-making process of police policy leaders, arguing they make sense of complex AI technologies through a simplification process centred on the impact of technologies on traditional policing, the type of surveillance capacities they enhance, and the perceive maturity of each technology. In addition to his PhD research, Michel is a dedicated educator in the Faculty of Political Science at Dawson College. He holds an M.D in Comparative Political Sociology (Sciences Po), and a B.S. in Political Science & History (University of Ottawa – summa cum laude). His doctoral research is supported by a Wolfe 2020 Graduate Fellowship, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Yasmin Haddad is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University working in the Philosophy of Biology. Her work focuses on the concept of downward causation as a model to understand biological complexity. Research in the field of Philosophy of Biology addresses a combination of epistemological and ethical issues, especially when it comes to assessing the growing use of technology in research. One example is the use of large-scale databases in model organism research. Changes in the way the traditional scientific method is being transformed are accompanied by vast opportunities for the advancement of biological research. However, with such changes ethical questions also arise, such as: to what extent are technological advances benefitting biological research? How have rules of extrapolation changed from model organisms to target systems (e.g. human beings in biomedical research)? How is inference-making changing in light of the availability of large data sets? In her dissertation, Yasmin addresses these issues from the perspective of the epistemology of evolutionary-developmental biology. One of the key outcomes of her research is to assess the proposal of an extension of standard evolutionary theory (the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis) in light of the most recent technological advances in the biological sciences.

Naim Jeanbart is a PhD candidate in Anthropology. He comes from a BA in cultural studies and philosophy at McGill, a Masters’ of Social Science degree from the School of Social Science in Paris, France (EHESS), as well as a diploma in television and film from Sheridan College, Ontario. Naïm is interested in the role that networks and communication technologies have played in the development of contemporary forms of Sufism. Naïm looks at the various ways in which the legacy of a recently deceased Turkish-Cypriot Sufi master, Sheikh Nazim el Haqqani, is nowadays preserved, used, and circulated, irrigating the communities that he has either left behind or that were created in his name, across countries worldwide, through his engagement with the followers’ own use of social media. He looks for contemporary forms of the followers’ search for their Master’s spiritual presence, offline and online, whether through the person of Sheikh Nazim himself, or through his successors, as well as their understandings of what it means to « connect. He tries to tie this fundamental principle to the general consolidation of the communities of sympathizers into a single movement, paying attention to both their networking practices and their spiritual rituals. Naïm argues that the movement’s media practices are such that they have come to take a spiritual value in their own right. Naïm hopes that a close study of such contemporary evolutions of Sufism can help, by the same token, shed some light on our common condition and constitution as hyper-connected selves.

Kariuki Kirigia is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. His doctoral research examines the processes and politics of establishing a system of individualized land tenure in a shift from pastoral commons, and the establishment of community wildlife conservancies, in the Maasai rangelands of southern Kenya. Kariuki primarily focuses on the pastoral commons on the Olderkesi group ranch in Narok County, southern Kenya and interviews with conservation NGOs, land surveyors, wildlife conservancy administrators, and state officials within Kenya. The Olderkesi community is in the process of dismantling the pastoral commons by subdividing the group ranch, apportioning small plots of land and title deeds to individuals. The title of Kariuki’s dissertation, “Privatization and Conservation in the Postcolony: Contradictions in Dismantling while Preserving the Pastoral Commons,” reflects the two key processes underway in Olderkesi. Evident in his doctoral research is the extent to which, during the process of subdividing the commons, formalization of tenure has entailed rendering land an object of technological control, assessment, and manipulation through the production of maps by land surveyors, assessing land potential by identifying key natural resources, and contesting boundaries through administrative processes. Born and raised in Kenya, Kariuki pursued a liberal arts undergraduate degree at the University College of Utrecht and an MSc in Sustainable Development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Jorge Alonso Gamarra Is a PhD candidate in Anthropology Department at McGill University. His research focuses on the relationship between food and belonging in contemporary Peru, where a recent history of totalitarian rule (1990-2000) and internal armed conflict (1980-2000) structured a pivotal moment in the country’s neoliberalization. Today, Peru’s post-conflict political-economic model is continuously called into question by grassroots organizations, unions and communities affected by emergent modes of precarity and environmental damage. In different ways, food is at the centre of how contemporary forms structural vulnerability are both experienced and imagined. Over the past fifteen years, gastronomic associations, celebrity restauranteurs, TV shows and print media have assembled celebratory discourses and pictures of Peruvian cuisine, which juxtapose a conflict-ridden past with a harmonious present where environmental stewardship, small-scale agriculture, and social and economic justice have become national priorities. Beyond this optic, agricultural communities confronting extractive projects and social movements politicizing hunger and food security are increasingly met with militarized repression and criminalization. Such glaring contradictions shore up an important question: what is the role of food across different ways of rendering and responding to the systemic forms of harm that constitute Peru’s current political-economic regime? This research investigates what forms of community and political life become possible as the global crisis of neoliberal economic models brings about struggles for resources, disentrancement, and suitable living conditions. Framing “belonging” in terms of practices that enable people to participate in the ongoing construction of their ordinary worlds enables Gamarra to approach a political-economic system by foregrounding its effects on in the rhythms and attachments that constitute situated scenes of everyday life. In particular, his research with farmers, market workers and activists living near two mega mining projects in the region of Arequipa (Peru) focuses on the role of food-related practices in collective attempts at maintaining local forms of existence— attempts, which often challenge neat distinctions between politics, pedagogy and repair. In this context, the Wolfe Fellowship will allow Gamarra to investigate grassroots responses to the environmental damage produced by a large-scale dam, which over decades has affected the composition of the water and the soil downriver— where community is currently also destabilized by a mining conflict. By attending to the experimental farming methods that valley residents use to leech arsenic and boric acid from their land, Gamarra offers another way of understanding the relationship between food and belonging in neoliberal Peru— in this case, as a part of an emergent an agri-social infrastructure, which sustains household economies and communal relations in a complex struggle to repair existing environmental damage, and refuse a mega mining project deemed essential for the country’s economic growth.


Manuel Cárdenas is a doctoral candidate and course lecturer in the Department of English studying early modern English poetry and epistemology. His SSHRC-funded dissertation focuses on Milton and knowledge, taking seriously the interrelated logics, discourses, and practices of science and literature as enterprises concerned with making knowledge. The poet’s engagement with the philosophical and scientific milieu of the seventeenth-century is well-established. Less documented are Milton’s fundamental assumptions about how knowledge is made—whether it is acquired subjectively or objectively, in solitude or collaboration. These are major preoccupations not only for philosopher-scientists like Descartes and Hobbes and the English exponents of what would become modern science, but also for Milton, whose life work culminates in Paradise Lost, a poem about the gaining and losing of knowledge. The dissertation considers singular and communal epistemology at precisely this juncture, challenging the enduring caricature of Milton as a prototype of the modern subject who knows the world in solitude and by virtue of his self-sufficiency. Questions about the bounds of knowledge, the mode of its acquisition, and its ideal expression—all held in inchoate tension in Milton’s early writing—manifest themselves in his late major poetry, refracting through his curtailed confidence in self-sufficiency. In coming to see the limits of the self, Milton accepts the impossibility and undesirability of knowledge without bounds, and he moves towards a communal epistemology wherein the fullness of knowledge is found only collectively by virtue of the mutual self-constitution of subject and object. In so doing, the poet both attenuates his own individualistic impulse and revises the assumptions of the ascendant new science and philosophy.

Daniel Harris is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University working in the philosophy of artificial intelligence (AI). His work focuses on the mitigation of the potential risks which could emerge from current and future advanced AI systems. Research in the field of AI is developing at a rapid pace. As this technology continues to mature it is likely to embed itself more and more in the social structures that shape our lives. With these changes come tremendous opportunities for human advancement; equally, though, such changes also pose a substantial danger. In his dissertation he poses the question: what sorts of prediction can we make regarding human-AI interaction and, of those predictions, can we identify certain scenarios that represent a serious threat to humanity? Using game theory, Daniel takes a step towards answering this question through an analysis of risk related issues pertaining to the design of ethical AI, the AI arms race, and human-AI coexistence more generally. He holds a MPhil Studies in Philosophy (King's College London), a M.A. in Theory, Culture & Politics (Trent University), and a B.A. in Philosophy & Information Systems (Trent University). In addition to theWolfe Fellowship, his doctoral research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dahye Kim is a PhD candidate in the East Asian Studies Department at McGill University. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Korean Literature from Yonsei University, where she also completed PhD coursework in Korean Literature prior to joining McGill. Dahye’s research focuses on the techno-cultural historicity of national literature and digital writing practices, especially in relation to global media circulation and local Korean development of media technologies. She is now writing her dissertation under the working title, Technofiction: the Cultural Techniques of South Korean SF Fandom. This project connects early online science fiction fan culture, the developmental history of hangul (the Korean alphabet) digital input technology, and cultural techniques of typing, coding, and writing in the 1980s and 1990s South Korea. The term technofiction emphasizes the new social condition under which the modern distinction between the semi-autonomous cultural realm and a distinct technological realm is increasingly blurred and transcended, and her project fully incorporates the analysis of technological issues in her study of literary texts and fan culture. Focusing on the generation of fans who grew up reading the heated techno-cultural debates surrounding the thorny problem with national language code and keyboard development in popular computer magazines, this study will explain how an understanding of the development of these writing technologies, as well as the embodied cultural techniques of writing and typing, are crucial to understand the literary pieces produced by them, while at the same time exploring the complicated junctures between neoliberal reformation since 1980, the development of information infrastructure in South Korea, globalization, techno-nationalism, and related subject formation. For example, the technologies of Korean digital language input appropriated by the sf fan-writers were a byproduct of the neoliberal government’s partnership with “global” conglomerates like Samsung and LG on a project of informatization, while also a product of the linguistic and technological nationalist discourse of anti-American leftist. Accordingly, the tension between such competing forces is one of major thematic concerns of technofiction. Dahye received a Korea Foundation Graduate Studies Fellowship for three full award years and was a Visiting Graduate Researcher in Korean Studies at UCLA.

Ferran Pons Raga is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. His research inquires about the recent land and landscape transformations undergone in the Catalan High Pyrenees, northeastern Spain. By taking political ecology and anthropology of infrastructure literatures as the main theoretical framework, his approach aims at understanding how the (in)compatible interplays among alpine skiing, environmental conservation programs, and extensive farming have resulted in crucial changes on land value and landscape valuations. Coinciding with the staggering decline of the farming sector during the 1980s, both the most famous ski station in Spain—Baqueira Beret— and conservation politics steadily began to redesign the landscapes in line with the tertiarization process undertook by this region. A set of technological performances not only has shaped current landscapes, but they also claimed to improve them. Economic development and moral progress intersect by setting a new linkage between land value and landscape valuations. These peripheral mountainous rural territories are thus framed within an urban-centered chromatic idiom: greening. Strikingly enough, greening presents itself as the common goal shared by the ski station, environmental conservation programs, and even by the farming sector. However, greening requires complex engineering processes in which apparent compatibilities may jeopardize the actual power relations among these three domains. This study coins the neologism ‘greeneering’ to bring together both the greening and the engineering sides of these land(scape) changes in order to tease out the political economy relations that underpin them. Ferran holds a MA and BA in anthropology from University of Barcelona, as well as a BS in Biology from Pompeu Fabra University.

Cynthia L. Tang is a PhD candidate in the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine, and History & Classical Studies at McGill University. She has a BSc. in toxicology from the University of Toronto and an MSc. in immunology from the University of Waterloo. Her dissertation, “Technological Change in ‘Ordinary Medicine’: The Emergence of Minimally Invasive Gallbladder Surgery, 1970-2000” uses the case of laparoscopic cholecystectomy to analyze the economic, social, and technical conditions in which technological change in medicine occurs. The adoption of laparoscopic cholecystectomy for the treatment of symptomatic gallstones in the early 1990s is often referred to as the beginning of the “laparoscopic revolution.” This description alludes both to the effect that the laparoscopic technique had on surgical practice, as well as to the rapid pace at which it supplanted open cholecystectomy as the “gold standard” treatment for symptomatic gallstones. At least 80% of gallbladder removals in Canada and the US were already being performed laparoscopically just four years after its introduction to the surgical community. This is an incredible rate of adoption considering that it required practicing surgeons to be trained in a technique that drastically changed the very basic motions of surgery, as well as the development and production of new surgical instrumentation. Cynthia’s research examines the different stages in the rise of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (i.e. motivation, development, spread, and acceptance) to understand the factors that allowed this major transformation in modern surgical practice to occur so quickly. Cynthia holds a SSHRC doctoral fellowship and is co-investigator on a CIHR Project Grant for “Medical Innovation and the Patient Consumer.” The Wolfe Fellowship will allow her to spend Fall 2019 as a Visiting Student in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

Sophie Toupin is a Joseph-Armand Bombardier scholar and PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. She has a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) with a speciality in information technology, and a Master of Social Science in Development and International Relations. Her dissertation research examines the relationship between communication technologies and revolutionary movements in the context of liberation struggles. More specifically, her object of study is an encrypted communication system that was developed and used by the South African liberation movement. In the 1980s, anti-apartheid freedom fighters built an encrypted communication system that allowed activists on the ground in South Africa to communicate secretly and transnationally with the senior leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) based in Lusaka, Zambia via London, UK. Under the working title “Revolutionary Communications: Encrypted Communication and the South African Liberation Movement,” Toupin investigates this system through the history of media and communication, the politics of infrastructure and hacking. The primary research conducted for this dissertation was carried out in South Africa, the Netherlands, Canada and Great Britain. It involved archival work and semi-structured interviews with those who developed, operated or supported the encrypted system. It was funded by a Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement and a Mobility Grant from the Graduate and Postgraduate Studies at McGill University.

Samantha Walker is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her PhD project combines archaeological and oral-historical research with earth sciences to explore place-making and settlement strategies among Tuniit (i.e. Paleo-Inuit) groups in the Igloolik area of Foxe Basin, Nunavut. 3000 years ago, Tuniit populated key areas in Northern Foxe Basin which continue to endure as important cultural places among modern Inuit. Samantha’s work questions how the deep connections that people share with places might have historically shaped Tuniit settlement strategies during the Paleo-Inuit Period (1700 BCE-1000 CE). As the first large-scale analysis of Tuniit settlement strategies, her project extends our knowledge of human-land relationships in the Canadian Arctic beyond recent encounters between Inuit and European colonists. Her research design takes an inclusive, community-oriented approach to archaeology by emphasizing the social and cultural continuity of Inuit Owned Lands, and by including Iglulingmiut Inuit as advisors and colleagues. Related to her community-oriented approach, Samantha is the Executive Director of the Walker Education and Research Foundation (www.walkerfoundation.ca), an organization dedicated to improving education and capacity-building opportunities within remote Indigenous communities in Canada.




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