Professor Critchlow is conducting SSHRC-funded research on meanings of place, self, and community for staff at educational, spiritual retreat centres in the Canada and the U.S. How do agendas for changing the world play out against changing the self at these centres? How have intentions shifted since the centres started? What lessons have been learned at the institutional and personal levels? How do globalized discursive practices, such as yoga and meditation, circulate among places, communities, and selves?
The social and cultural construction of place links Professor Critchlow's current research with her work on Canadian housing cooperatives (1992, Rodman and Cooper, New Neighbours ) and with her long-standing research involvement in Vanuatu, a chain of islands in the South Pacific. The topics she has studied during nine field trips there include customary land tenure, colonial history, and development issues. Her publications include three books on Vanuatu, Masters of Tradition (1987, University of British Columbia Press), Deep Water (1989, Westview Press), and Houses Far From Home (2001, University of Hawaii Press). An edited book with Jan Rensel studies housing change in the Pacific: Home in the Islands (1997). A collaborative book with Vanuatu women, House-girls Remember (2007) gives voice to women who worked as maids in the colonial era.