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Vol 39  No 17
July 19, 2007



In Brief

In the Field

Letter to the Editor

New Faculty

News & Notes



Out and About

Papers & Presentations


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Aug. 9, 2007

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Standard Research Grants

Winning research

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) recently announced this year’s recipients of Standard Research Grants. SSHRC awarded $77.8 million in university-based research that covers a broad spectrum of the humanities and social sciences, including history, education, politics, economics, law and literature. These research projects will also provide students and scholars with training that will increase Canada’s talent pool for the private, public and voluntary sectors.

SSHRC is an independent federal government agency that funds university-based research and graduate training through national peer-reviewed competitions. SSHRC also partners with public and private sector organizations to focus research and aid the development of better policies and practices in key areas of Canada’s social, cultural and economic life.

Memorial University researchers awarded Standard Research Grants from the Council include:

The Fiction of the Irish Easter Rebellion

Dr. Danine Farquharson, English Language and Literature, will be investigating fictional representations of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland, thanks to SSHRC’s Standard Research Grants program.

“The Easter Rising of 1916 is a significant and critically vital event for Irish historians, political scientists, sociologists and literary critics,” said Dr. Farquharson. The Easter Rebellion, as it is sometimes called, took place mostly in Dublin during Easter week in 1916, in the midst of the First World War. Historians widely consider the Rising a watershed event characterizing Irelands “new nationalism.” The violent insurrection by a group of Irish nationalists against British control failed and ended with the execution of several of its leaders, thereby making them martyrs.

“Literary critics are interested in the Rising, largely because, in the words of R. F. Foster, ‘its rhetoric was poetic,’” said Dr. Farquharson. She will mine the ways in which fictional representations of the Rising have changed since 1916. “The Easter Rising has a profound cultural capital in the repository of images and icons of Irish nationalism and identity,” she explained. “I will investigate the politics of such representation within fictional frameworks, specifically the novel.”

Dr. Farquharson received $44,876 for Writing the Rising: Irish Fiction and Easter 1916 from SSHRC.

Living on the edge

Coast people worldwide are vulnerable to pressures and changes brought about by natural phenomena and the impact of human activities on nature. The effects of fisheries collapse, habitat loss and sea level rise are among the most challenging issues confronting coastal peoples. Canada, like other countries, is investing in new approaches to coastal management designed to achieve sustainable management and development of coastal and ocean resources.

“Researchers have argued for holistic and integrative approaches taking into account ecological, environmental, economic, social, cultural and institutional aspects of the coasts,” said Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial’s Canada Research Chair in Natural Resource Sustainability and Community Development. “Such approaches need to balance between conservation and resource recovery and economic development.”

Dr. Chuenpagdee was awarded $136,300 from SSHRC’s Standard Research Grants programme for her project, Coastal Connections: Interactive governance models for sustainable coastal development. Dr. Barbara Neis, Department of Sociology is also one of the collaborators of the project.

Dr. Chuenpagdee said her interdisciplinary research program will focus on enhancing the understanding of connectivity and interactions among coastal areas’ natural, economic, social and governance systems using an “interactive governance” model.

“Interactive governance refers to an exploration of ways in which coastal actors, both private and public, participate in addressing coastal concerns through problem-solving and opportunity creation. It requires actors to work collaboratively in the design and implementation of governing institutions with the capacity to cope with diversity, complexity, dynamism, vulnerability and various scales of resources systems and activities in coastal areas.”

Dr. Chuenpagdee will undertake the project in the research lab, the International Coastal Network, located in the Inco Innovation Centre, room IIC-3063.

Children and nationalism

Dr. Karen Stanbridge, Sociology, is focusing her scholarship on how nationalist leaders use children to promote their agendas, particularly in the case of the Finnish nationalist project from the pre-and post-First World War era. To undertake this research, Dr. Stanbridge was awarded $54,000 for her project titled, Children and the Nationalist Project in Finland, 1809-1939 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Standard Research Grants program.

“Children are often presented as the ‘future of the nation’ in nationalist rhetoric,” said Dr. Stanbridge. “Nationalist policies pertaining to children – education, welfare, etc. – can thus say a lot about how nationalist leaders envision their ‘ideal’ citizens and society. But for their visions to gain the support of the population, nationalist leaders have to shape their policies to complement prevailing understandings of children. These understandings have their foundations in the society’s culture and institutions.

“Finland’s leaders faced a dual challenge after independence: unite a country devastated by the civil war that followed separation from Russia, and promote Finland to a world community wary of its loyalties and permanence. Policies aimed at cultivating Finland’s ‘future citizens’ thus sought to achieve nationalist ends within the confines of existing cultural understandings of children, while paying tribute to the new dialogue on child welfare that emerged in the international community after World War One. Finland thus provides an opportunity to examine the nature of child policies in a nationalizing project concerned as much with conditions outside as inside the country’s borders.

“The rise of the nation-state in the West was accompanied by new ideas about children and what constitutes an ‘ideal’ childhood. Case studies like mine can illuminate how these new ideas penetrated particular cultures and how they were shaped by local concerns and conditions. This kind of historical understanding of child policy in ‘child friendly’ countries like Finland is important if we wish to improve the lives of children elsewhere.”

Self image

Un-censoring the Self: Photography in Autobiography, a research project undertaken by Dr. Nancy Pedri, English Language and Literature, will examine the inclusion of photographic images in the 20th-century autobiographical narrative where subjects confront most directly the difficulty of asserting self when faced with the compelling mosaic of images and stories that make up personal identity.

In her examination of how photographic practices of self-representation intersect with autobiographic practices of self-representation, Dr. Pedri starts from the premise that self conception and self expression frequently occur at the interface of image and text. She will demonstrate that the coming together of photography and autobiography can and has given expression to the un-censoring of self – that is, to individual but highly suggestive challenges to the existing terms informing the self and its representation and, more importantly, to individual formulations (both visual and verbal) that break away from the effacement of self that such terms entail.

“I will examine the ways in which photographs function alongside autobiographical narrative to un-censor the self in the multimedia autobiographies of Roland Barthes, Jack Cato, Anny Duperey, N. Scott Nomaday, Michael Ondaatje, Daphne Scholinski, Jo Spence and others,” said Dr. Pedri. “I hope to demystify the notion that photography and autobiography necessarily police identity. The union of verbal and visual self image-making creates a unique narrative space where alternative conception of personal identity can be expressed and new and highly contradictory models of subjectivity are instated.”

Dr. Pedri was awarded $43,105 from SSHRC’s Standard Research Grants program for her project.


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