Elahe Nezhadhossein is a PhD candidate in sociology at Memorial University. Following studies at University of Tehran (Bachelor of Political Science 2007, Masters of Political Sciences 2010) and at New Mexico State University (Masters of Sociology 2014), she was fortunate to work voluntarily with NGOs on cultures and media and worked as a teaching assistant for four years on courses about cultures, feminism, social changes and media. She is now studying women’s participation in social movements and their representation in media, under the supervision of sociologist Dr. Mark Stoddart. Elahe has published as co-author with Dr. Stoddart in the Sociological Quarterly journal.
How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your graduate degree?
The first reason was academic considerations; I was interested to Dr. Mark Stoddart’s work and research (my supervisor now). Non-academic consideration was first of all I liked to continue my studies in Canada! Small nice peaceful city, being close to ocean, and also reasonable tuition!
What drew you to explore sociology originally?
Social movements, media and women are the main parts of my academic career. Drawing on political science, a masters degree in sociology with women's studies minor, and now sociology, I am exploring various relations between different phenomena through my academic background.
Can you explain your current research into women’s representation in social media and movements?
My research is about the intersection of race and gender inequalities and their common roots in political power systems that create the misrepresentation of Iranian women in the mainstream media.
Along with the effects on gender-based domination systems, women’s participation in social movements against power structures has the capacity to change women’s oppressive representations in the media that are based on race or based on ethnicity as Muslim women.
My research will explore the effects of Iranian women’s activities in social movements on their representation in Western media. These women’s activities in social movements, either gender-based or non-gender-based movements, can help to empower women and fight against power systems and various intersectional domination systems such as racism and sexism.
What’s been your biggest challenge since arriving at Memorial?
My biggest challenges as a PhD student have been the ability to keep a balance between my studies and life, stress management, time management and being as productive as I can. And in terms of living in St.John’s, the weather was a big change for me, moving from New Mexico with no snow and growing up in Tehran with not much snow. The first months of living here I was trying to figure out how I should dress and what kind of boots or jackets I needed.
A supervisor can be key to the success of any grad student. What does your supervisor Dr. Mark Stoddart bring to his role as your advisor and mentor?
A supervisor’s role is one of the most significant aspects of a graduate student life. I feel very lucky to have one of the best, organized, supportive supervisors. Mark is an active researcher, and a great professor who gives his students opportunities to research and teach and gives them great support. And he shows us how to keep a balance between a very successful academic career and other aspects of life such as sports and music.
Have you attended any conferences/delivered any papers this year? Can you give details?
I love academic conferences! They are one of the greatest opportunities to have feedbacks from your colleagues from other places. I have participated in CSA (Canadian Sociological Association) conference every year since my PhD studies began. This year it was in Calgary and my presentation was about women’s participation in social movements and its effect on media representation of women.
I am also working with some other graduate students in the history department and other social sciences to host a conference this year on conflict studies.
Are you involved in any organizations on-campus or off? If so, can you explain and detail such involvement?
I am a board member of MUNIranian organization on-campus. This is a non-profit, non-religious, and apolitical organization for Iranian students at Memorial University. I also work with the Simorgh Foundation, a private, apolitical, non-governmental international organisation based in Vienna. Our aim is to encourage cultural and social exchange between countries and peoples, in order to develop, enhance and improve human development and communication. I am also very happy to be a member of the HSS graduate student council here at Memorial.
What do you like most about being a graduate student at Memorial?
I like my supervisory committee and research group atmosphere the most. They are supportive, very kind, professional and encouraging.
What do you hope to do after completing your graduate degree?
I love doing research on my interest areas of studies on social movements, media and women. Hopefully I can do research and active work and teach in my area of interest.