PhD Candidate, Department of Geography. Jean-Paul’s research examines the role of political-ec
onomic processes and class relations in shaping life, work, citizenship and politics in the city. Through a comparative study of Toronto and Chicago, his dissertation research will explore; geographically contingent articulations of capitalist urbanisation and urbanism; the state and regulatory-institutional architecture of global cities; and their dialectical relationships with political practices in marginalised urban areas.
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environmental Studies. Adrina’s research explores the evolution of urban forestry as a discursive and contested practice by examining the interaction between socio-cultural and political urban forest ecology processes and narratives. She is particularly interested in the social constructions of nature and the cyclical struggle between the “human/nature” divide that has led to conflicted methods of human consumption within, and behaviour towards, the urban forest. Adrina’s research explores the social psychology of environmental justice (and justifications); the creative influences in photography and literature and the political polarizations in social forestry and urban culture in Toronto and Montreal.
PhD Candidate, Department of Social Anthropology. Umit’s research interest lies in intersections of neoliberalism, urban poverty, new governmentalities and local governance issues in Istanbul/Turkey. He aims to understand how local governance under neoliberalism became the site of constellation of a new Islamist governmentality and sites of contested and negotiated performances and practices of citizenships. In addition, Umit is interested in adult education, neoliberalism, workfare state, anthropology of non-spaces, masculinity and space relations, European Capitals of Culture and appropriations of past, present and future and culture industries in urban areas.
PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science. Simon’s research employs a feminist political economy lens to examine how state and civil society groups respond to, manage, and/or mediate crisis tendencies in social reproduction resulting from the neoliberal restructuring of welfare in two urban political economies – Toronto and New York. He is also interested in the theory and practice of community unionism, and organized labour’s changing relation to the city and urban governance.
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography. Peter’s research explores how transformations in urban space and the political-economic landscape of contemporary capitalism have produced possibilities for a renewal of working class power in North America. Specifically, his dissertation examines the relationship between the rise to world city status of Toronto and Los Angles and transnational labour organizing and activities within and between these two global city regions.The principle aim of this research is to develop a richer understanding of the dialectical relationship between transformations in urban governance structures, state power and working class organizations and strategies for social transformation.
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography. Rob’s research explores Toronto’s evolving ‘middle-landscape’. Specifically, he is interested in how current suburban residents are adapting, reordering and reconstituting the physical, social and political spaces of Toronto’s suburbs to meet increasingly diverse needs.
PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology. My dissertation From Slum Clearance to Revitalization: Fear, Hope, and Family Life in Torontos Social Housing, 1945-2012, is an historical-ethnographic study of the transitioning social housing communities of Regent Park and Alexandra Park (both in Toronto) and the housing co-operatives that neighbour them. Through participant-observation fieldwork, life history interviews with people who grew up and/or raised children in these communities, and a discourse analysis of every mention of Regent Park in four newspapers from 1945 to the present, I look at how generations of social housing residents have challenged the idea that they constitute a social problem requiring state intervention, and how daily life has unfolded in these intentional communities designed according to state priorities of regulation and surveillance. Ive also been part of fieldwork on faltering electrical service and social security in the Dominican Republic, and Im planning future research on neighbourhood dynamics and uneven development in southwest Scarborough.
PhD Candidate, Political Science. Cory’s research examines gentrification in Berlin from the perspective of those most affected by it, the gentrified. He is currently researching how the Berlin state is currently driving the gentrification process in the historically working class neighborhood of Neukölln through welfare state restructuring. By focusing on the neoliberalization of public housing, the labour market and welfare, he argues that the Berlin state devitalizes rather than enables residents to resist, let alone challenge gentrification. Cory’s thesis adds to the gentrification literature by examining how the Berlin state is a heavily understated actor behind gentrification-based displacement in Neukölln today.
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environmental Studies. Punam’s research is an extension of her work as a social justice activist. Her dissertation research theorizes the intersectionality of gender, race, and class within processes of urbanization. Focusing on the position, survival strategies, and resistance of low income women of colour, she uses case studies based in the ghettos and slums of Toronto and Nairobi.
PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology. Left & Labor’s problematic history of representing marginalized populations constitutes my main area of interest. In my dissertation research I plan to compare labour unions’ engagement with workfare issues in Toronto, Frankfurt and Stockholm.
PhD Candidate, Graduate Program of Sociology. Burak’s academic interests are in urban studies, development studies, political economy, politicalsociology, and sociology of law as well as Marxist, poststructuralist, and postcolonial theories. Hisresearch interests lie in the social, political, and legal geographies of urbanization and the emergingforms of urban governance in the context of neoliberal capitalism particularly in relation to landand housing in the Middle East and South Asia. More specifically, Burak is planning to look at thelegal instruments and politics of land regulation, land acquisition, and land-use transformation inmetropolitan cities and urbanizing frontiers in Turkey, Egypt and India, with a focus on the role ofthe politics of land in shaping the urbanization processes in these contexts as well as in mediating theprocesses of capital accumulation; their impacts on the urban poor and the environment; the emergingclass-based patterns of urban citizenship and their contestations.
Ranjith Kulatilake PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environmental Studies. Ranjith’s research is focused on the commodification of urban space and ethno-cultural, social identity politics with special reference to Sri Lankan cities.
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography. Claire’s research interests include regional economic geography, precarious labour in post-Fordist / post-industrial contexts, social reproduction, resource geographies, and the risks to workers associated with emerging infectious diseases. Her dissertation is on the relationship between working, social reproduction, urban materiality, and social services at the scale of the city in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environmental Studies. Darren’s research brings together queer theory, sociospatial theory, and urban political ecology as the basis for a queer/ed urban ecology. Broadly, his work is concerned with gentrification as an increasingly naturalized urban process. In this vein, queer urban ecology constitutes an attempt to counter capital-driven transformations of urban-natures (e.g. parks and public spaces). Through both critical and reparative gestures, Darren’s work seeks to articulate an embodied agency sensitive to sexual difference and driven by desire. His work can be tracked at http://queerurbanecologies.wordpress.com and he’s always up for taking a walk through Toronto’s shifting urban landscape.
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography. Nate’s research looks at undocumented people’s movements in North American and European cities, focusing on their relationship to historical and contemporary notions of imperialism and colonialism, particularly the distinctions between resistance to settler colonialism and global capitalist imperialism. Using migrant justice as a lens, Nate’s research in Frankfurt and Toronto hopes to explore anti-colonial movements as a force in (re)shaping urban politics, spatial justice, citizenship and claims to the city.
PhD Candidate, Department of Social Anthropology. Michelle’s research interests include political ecology, borders and territoriality, political mobilization, and development. Based in the cities of Montevideo and Mercedes, her current research looks at the growing foreign-owned forestry/pulp mill industry in Uruguay at a time when the left-wing party has come to power. Rejecting the divide between nature and society, she explores how the tension around the forestry/pulp complex is linked to the ways people interpret progressive politics and understand the concepts of “nature” and belonging.
PhD Candidate, Women’s Studies. Kathryn’s research interests include feminist and emotional geographies, gender theory and the construction of urban/suburban spaces, affect, belonging, and theories of violence. She begins her dissertation project understanding that since geographic places are emotional spaces, it is useful to question how places actually produce, and are simultaneously produced through, certain emotional experiences. Using loneliness as an analytical framework, her research reexamines how the Parisian banlieues are constructed as exterior locations.