Alyssa Brierley is a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at York University. Her dissertation, titled: "Public Interest Litigation as a Development Strategy: An Examination of the Campaigns for the Right to Food, Health and Housing in India" will explore how non-governmental organizations have utilized litigation to advance development objectives in India and the extent to which this has been effective.
Alyssa completed her Juris Doctor at Osgoode Hall Law School with a specialization in International, Transnational and Comparative Law and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2010. Prior to law school, Alyssa completed a Masters degree in Political Science at York and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science.
She is a 2012 Graduate Fellow with the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security and is active with various national and community-based organizations, serving on the Board of Directors of the Family Services of Toronto and the International Advisory Committee of the Red Cross (Ontario Zone).
Jessica Caporusso is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology at York University. Her research considers the intersection of political ecology, science studies and the place of expertise in postcolonial and neocolonial contexts. Broadly speaking, her dissertation examines the impact of colonial science and imperialism on the cultivation of western and non-western subjects. In particular, her work explores the design and implementation of sustainable development projects in Mauritius, an island-nation in the Indian Ocean, and the influence of colonial-era green imperialism on which these current projects are imbricated. As such, this research is informed by past and contemporary transnational encounters that configure connections between environment, expertise and knowledge exchange.
Elena Chou is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at York University. Her areas of research interest focus on the intersections between “race” and racialization, identity and representation, cultural studies and media and popular culture, particularly as they pertain to the identity and representation of the Asian diaspora specifically in Canada, but also more generally in white settler and other immigrant receiving societies. Her dissertation proposes to examine how ”race” continues to play an important role in producing and shaping the media and public cultural discourses which define Canadian culture within the context of multiculturalism, through an examination of the ways in which Asian-Canadians and Asian-ness are discursively constructed and represented as abject and/or “Other” in Canadian culture. She holds an MA in Sociology from York University and a BA in Sociology from the University of British Columbia.
Khairul Chowdhury's research interests are on race/ethnic groups of Bangladesh as well as environmental politics. His doctoral research concerns contemporary theorization on environmental politics in relation to race/ethnic groups of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.
Catherine Cua is a Doctoral Candidate at Glendon College in Études Francophones. She received her Masters of Arts and her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Études françaises at York University. After extensively traveling through Asia, she chose to explore the writings of Ook Chung through the concept of cultural and aesthetic hybridity. For her PHD thesis, she will be working on a corpus of a very different nature as she focuses on Chinese, Korean and Japanese representations and aesthetics in French-Canadian children’s literature.
Conely de Leon is a Doctoral Candidate in the School of Women’s Studies at York University. She received her Master's of Arts in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, and her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Women’s Studies, and English Language and Literature at Queen’s University. Her research interests focus on transnational feminist praxis, gender and migration, and the development of Critical Filipina/o Studies in Canada.
Guillaume is currently a PhD student in the Department of Social Anthropology at York University. Theoretically informed by the sub-field of economic anthropology, his PhD dissertation seeks to ethnographically examine the ways in which “the economy” is connected to the practices and meanings of food, foodways, and food (in)security in New Delhi, India. Broadly speaking, his areas of research are: political economy, political ecology, capitalisms, theories of development, actor-network theory, the concepts of governmentality and habitus. His main site of research is the (Targeted) Public Distribution System, a 50 year old distribution program for subsidized food and non food items that is currently on the verge of being overhauled by the central government. Guillaume holds a BA in Communication/Journalisme the Université du Québec à Montréal and a MA in Mondialisation et développement international at the University of Ottawa. .
Ryan Foster is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at York University. Broadly, his areas of research interest are: global political economy, development studies, post-colonial thought, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, and political theories of emancipation. He also retains research interests in the fields of political ecology and corporate social responsibility where he has previously researched and published.
His doctoral dissertation explores the formation of political subjectivities among the newly emergent “global middle class”, within the context of economic liberalization in BRIC countries. With a comparative focus on India and Brazil, his research offers a critical appraisal of both Western and Eastern renderings of the relationship between middle classes, democracy and freedom..
He holds an Honours BA in Political Science from the University of Alberta, and an MA in Political Studies from Queen’s University.
Zhipeng (Simon) Gao, PhD Candidate
Zhipeng (Simon) Gao is a PhD candidate in the Psychology Department at York University. His research interests include history and theory (philosophy) of psychology from critical, sociological, political, discursive, feminist and postcolonial perspectives.
He has a number of publications on Chinese psychology, the history of psychology, methodology/epistemology in psychology, and social justice in psychology. In 2012 he received the Mary J. Wright Award offered by Canadian Psychological Association. His major work, “Toward a Psychological Theory for Practicing Epistemological Reflexivity”, provides a dialogical approach for social researchers to reflect on the influence of their subjectivity on the properties of social knowledge.
Currently he works on the history of Chinese and Soviet psychology, cross-cultural communication, and researcher-participant relation in psychology. He holds an Honours BS in Applied Psychology from Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China
Asher Ghaffar is a doctoral candidate in Social and Political Thought.
His research interests include: literary theory, critical theory of
the Frankfurt School, theories of 'race' and racism, and comparative literature
(South Asian and African-American). His dissertation will likely argue
that immanent critique is indispensable to rethinking the
postcolonial project in general and the postcolonial novel in
particular. It might approach these questions by returning to the
early and later theoretical work of Edward Said, developing its
arguments by examining the novels and films of Hanif Kureishi and their
relationship to the works of James Baldwin and Bertolt Brecht. The
project is supported by a SSHRC doctoral fellowship.
Asher is also the author of a book of poetry published by ECW Press in 2008. His second poetry manuscript was recently nominated for the K.M. Hunter Award in Literature; and his work has appeared in "Literary Review of Canada," "This Magazine," "dANDelion" among other journals.
Nadia Hasan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at York University. Her research interests include postcolonial, feminist, and critical race theories, the women’s movement in Pakistan, and intersections of Islam and gender. She holds an Honours B.A. in Economics and International Relations from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Political Science from York University. Nadia has spent several years working with various NGOs in Toronto and Pakistan and has taught at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Currently, she is working on her dissertation project on theorizing women’s agency in Pakistan.
Anindo Hazra is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of English at York University. He is, at present, preparing a dissertation on contemporary queer Indian textual production. Born and raised in Calcutta, India, he received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Bristol, U.K., and his Master’s degree in English Literature from Queen’s University in Kingston. As a graduate student, his interests cohered around issues of gender and sexuality and the novel blending of postcolonial and queer theories. His current research seeks to contribute to the wider discourse on queer subjectivities by following the contours of the terrain out of which “queer India” emerges in the contemporary period.
Naoko Ikeda is a Ph.D. candidate in Women’s Studies at York University. Her research Interests include: feminist theory of war, militarization, and nationalism; gender and military and nationalist violence in Japan/Okinawa; feminism, activism, and peace building. Her doctoral research is a study of gendered processes of militarization and women’s non-governmental contributions to local and international peace negotiations in Okinawa, Japan. Naoko is a recipient of Doris Anderson Fellowship (2007-2008).
She is also a researcher, interpreter, and co-author for a Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust-funded research project, “Feminisms, Socialisms and Pacifisms in Movements against War and for Peace: from Common Goals to Coherent Actions” with Dr. Cynthia Cockburn (forthcoming). Naoko also works as an occasional contributor and translator for Women’s Journal [I Women’s Conference, Tokyo] and Women’s Asia 21 [Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Centre, Tokyo, Japan].
Her translation of "Gender as a Root Cause for Militarization and War" was recently published in K. Kimoto and Y. Kido (eds.) Society and Gender: Male History, Military and Sexuality (Shakai to Jendaa: Danseishi, Guntai, Sekushuaritii) (Tokyo: Jumposha, 2010).
Sara has a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington and an MA in Geography from the University of British Columbia. She began her PhD at York in fall 2009, after lecturing at the Metropolitan State College of Denver and the National University of Mongolia.
Her research interests include cultural geographies of resource extraction, environmental displacement, and territory. Sara’s dissertation focuses on infrastructure development of the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and how natural resources and the nation are re-imagined and materially transformed through the construction of a mining boom. Working with an illustrator, part of her dissertation is a graphic novel that draws from her research experiences to be translated and distributed in Mongolia. The working title of her dissertation is Building a Gold Rush: Imagining New Territories in Mongolia’s South Gobi.
A SSHRC doctoral fellowship and a research fellowship with the American Center for Mongolian Studies fund Sara’s research.
Beenash Jafri is a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist and Women's Studies at York University. Her dissertation, tentatively titled If We Are The Cowboys, Who Are the Indians? Racialized Identities, Settler Colonialism and the Wild West, looks at how racialized identities are constructed in relation to settler colonialism, through an examination of Black and South Asian Wild West films. The project, which is supported through a SSHRC doctoral fellowship, is informed by productive tensions between theories of race, (post)coloniality, indigeneity, transnationality and culture.
In the past, Beenash has worked and consulted on national and community projects on issues including anti-racism, youth engagement, environmental justice, alternative libraries and domestic violence. She served as principal organizer for the National Youth Anti-Racism Network Conference in Calgary (2005, Canadian Race Relations Foundation); for the (National) Green Justice Conference in Saskatoon (2004, Youth Environmental Network); and for the Redefining Green Conference in Toronto (2002, Anti-Racist Environmental Coalition).
Beenash’s research and writing can be found in edited collections such as Alliances: Re/Envisioning Indigenous-Non-Indigenous Relationships, and Speaking for Ourselves: Constructions of Environmental Justice in Canada, and in magazines/journals such as Briarpatch and Alternatives.
Dhruv Jain is a PhD student in the Social and Political Thought program. His dissertation will examine problems of radical democracy and organization in the work of post-Maoist philosopher, Alain Badiou, especially in light of Badiou’s particular reading of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and theories of democracy and organization put forward by contemporary Maoist movements in India and Nepal.
Mr. Jain is the guest editor of Deleuze and Marx (Edinburgh University Press, 2009) and has published several essays and book chapters on problems of democracy, organization and social change in French continental philosophy and South-Asian social movement theory.
His interests include histories of communist, worker and peasant movements in North America, China and South-Asia; contemporary Marxist and post-Marxist theories of political subjectivity and organization; democratic and radical democratic theory; and post-war Continental Philosophy.
In the 2011.2012 academic year, he is a research fellow position at the Jan Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, Netherlands) where he will be working on his dissertation research on Alain Badiou and the Cultural Revolution.
Radhika Johari’s doctoral research focuses on the cultural politics of conservation and development in the Indian Himalayas and has been supported through an IDRC doctoral research award and a dissertation fieldwork grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. It examines how conservation and enterprise-building initiatives in this region have been contoured conceptually and in practice by an increasingly influential paradigm of neoliberal market-centered development, and how in turn these have been refracted by a deeply entrenched politics of identity and place in ways that have had important implications for social and environmental relations.
She is the recipient of the Susan Mann Dissertation Scholarship for 2008-2009.
Prior to joining York, she had several years of professional experience and consultancy work in the field of environment and development in India, Bhutan, and Nepal.
Azam received her MA and BA in social science from Tehran University and has continued her study in the PhD program in Environmental Studies at York University, where she is working on her dissertation titled “Beyond developmentalism and populism: Restructuring the urban governance in Iran . ” Azam’s broader interests include comparative studies of space and society, urban history and gender in Asia. The related research projects that she has contributed to include: Collaborative Research on Politics of Public Space, Comparing Iran and Turkey, funded by SSRC in 2001; Comparative Research and Practice on Neighborhood Restoration, comparing Tehran, Paris and Rabat, funded by IFRE in 2005; Women's Empowerment in Muslim Contexts, a cross border research project (Indonesia, Pakistan, China and Iran) funded by Southeast Asia Center at City University of Hong Kong in 2007.
Vanessa's research interests rest with issues of nature, conservation, and competing claims over and for water/rivers, particularly in the context of Southeast Asia. Prior to commencing her programme at York University, Vanessa completed her Masters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has also worked for Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), a Thai-based non-governmental organization.
Colin’s area of interest is the music of the martial arts and his PhD research focuses on the drumming performed by some traditional Chinese kung fu clubs in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). His approach is interdisciplinary and draws from ethnomusicology, hoplology, phenomenology, semiotics and diaspora studies. Of particular importance to this area are the processes of transmission, identity formation, creation of space, claiming of place and construction of meaning. The ritualistic, sometimes even secretive, nature of the gong and drum rhythms used to accompany lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations precludes extensive musical transcription. Instead, Colin has chosen to focus on the rich experiences of learning, performing, and beholding the blurred genre of kung fu percussion in the context of a multigenerational, multicultural and transnational environment.
Before entering the PhD programme, Colin earned a Master’s in composition (2003) from York University, was a course director for York’s digital and electronic music classes, and also received transmission (2008) of the complete Sum Nung Wing Chun Kuen system of Chinese kung fu under Lo Kuen-Hung Sifu. His album Big Dirty HiFi (2008) has been in the top 20 for electronica on the Canadian national campus/community radio charts and his compositions have been performed at such occasions as The Four Beauties of China with the Little Pear Garden Chinese Performing Arts Company (2010), International Dance Day at Pearson Airport (2009), Nuit Blanche (2007), Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists (2005) in Toronto, and the International Computer Music Conference (2003) in Singapore. Colin’s primary fieldwork site for ethnography is the Hong Luck Kung Fu Club in Toronto’s Spadina Chinatown.
Nausheen Quayyum is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at York University. She holds an MA in Development Studies from York University and an Honours BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto. Her Master's research focused on the indigenous movement in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Her current doctoral research investigates labour organizing in garment factories in Bangladesh. Broadly, her research interests include indigenous, labour and feminist movements in the Global South, political economy of South Asia, and community and international development.
Omme-Salma Rahemtullah is PhD Candidate in the graduate program in Sociology at York University. She is currently completing her first comprehensive exam in the area of Postcolonial Theories of Nationalism and will focus her second comprehensive exam on Methods in Cultural Studies. Her research focuses on cultural productions of the South Asian diaspora as it relates to identity, belonging and race. Her regional focus is on East Africa, with a specific focus on Tanzania. She has also published on the South Asian diaspora in Canada. Her dissertation project will focus on the narratives of South Asian women in Tanzania and how their subjectivties are informed by discourses of modernity and migration.
Omme-Salma completed her MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University, and her BSc in International Development and Environmental Science at the University of Toronto.
Maita's research interests include political economy, semiotics, and continental theory. She is currently extracting images of the land and the inhabitants of the Philippines from 16th- to 18th-century texts written by Spanish colonials, travellers, and missionaries. These documents were anthologized and translated in the early 20th century by American scholars. Her method is semiological, with an emphasis on what arises from the corpus, in order to provide a hypothetical description of the political economy and the systems of knowledge at work during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines.
Umesh Sharma is a Masters student in the Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought at York University. He holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto in Political Science, History and South Asian Studies. His central research interests include: Philosophy of Religion; Philosophies of Enlightenment; Colonial Social and Political Formations; Indigenous Epistemologies and Cosmologies; Theories of Nation and State; Philosophy of Education. Areas of interest include: North America, Europe and India.
Harini Sivalingam is a PhD Candidate in socio-legal studies at York University. Her PhD dissertation will focus on the public, legal and political discourses surrounding the arrival of asylum seekers to Canada by boats. She obtained her LL.B. at Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006. Harini completed her LL.M. in International Comparative Law at McGill University in 2009. Her Master’s thesis explored the discourses of fear and victimization in the national security context and how these discourses impact on community groups. Harini has a diverse set of research interests including immigration and refugee law, international and domestic human rights, and national security law.
Doris Sung is a PhD candidate in Humanities at York University.
Doris’s research focuses on Chinese women’s painting and multimedia artwork from the 1900s to the present. She is working on the dissertation entitled “Self-representations of Body and Gender in the Art of Pan Yuliang (1895-1977).” She is currently the research assistant to Professor Joan Judge on the international research project “A New Approach to the Popular Press in China: Gender and Cultural Production.”
Doris is also an artist, curator and an active member in the art community. She served on the boards of several artist-run centres in Toronto.
Ishrat’s doctoral research focuses on identity construction of Rohingya refugee youth in southernmost part of Bangladesh. Her research examines how Rohingya youth identities are shaped (and expressed in everyday ways) through their Burmese history and cultural background alongside their displacement, refugee experience, and non-citizenship status in Bangladesh. In exploring Rohingya youths’ identities, her project investigates how “the self” (youth identities) and “others” (the Rohingya people as a whole) are governed through citizenship policies and regulations.
Ishrat has a diverse set of research interests in rights, citizenship, children and youth, governance, immigration, refugee and South Asia. Prior to joining York, she completed her MA in Child and Youth Studies at Brock University. Her MA research examined how social and legal services affect life situation of unaccompanied minors in Canada. She also earned Master’s degrees in Women’s Studies and in Public Administration from Dhaka University, Bangladesh.
Ishrat had several years of professional experience and consultancy work with development organizations in Bangladesh, such as the FAO, the UNDP and the UNICEF, offering assistance to the empowerment of disadvantaged people that includes the coastal fishing communities, street children and children without parental care. She also worked with the Ministry of Social Welfare of Bangladesh in designing and organizing training on Proactive approaches to child friendly social work for the government and NGO personnel. She is the co-translator (English to Bengali) of the book Child Rights: The Historical Evolution by Ghassan Khalil.
My intellectual interests include historiography of Japanese art history, and socio-political aspects of collecting practices of foreign objects, especially in the 19th century. I am particularly interested in how the meaning of objects shifted when they were physically transferred from one culture to another. My current research focuses on the Japanese ceramic collection of Sir William Van Horne and other Japanese collections in Canada at the turn of the 20th century. This research topic was derived from my professional experience as a curator of Japanese art at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2003-2005. I have Bachelor of Social Science from Hitotsubashi University, Master of Art Administration from the University of New South Wales, and Master of Art History from University of Toronto.
Kasim Tirmizey is a doctoral student in environmental studies where his research focus includes agrarian political economy, political ecology, and knowledge-production. In his doctoral research, he will investigate the political economy of contemporary land grabbing in rural Pakistan.
In her dissertation project she is concerned with processes of Othering and their constitutive relationship with identity formations, especially relating to migrant populations. Therefore she is investigating underlying epistemologies of race and ethnicity and how they operate within the politics of exclusion and inclusion in the context of Switzerland. Other research interests include the questioning of concepts of 'development' in the context of India, for example 'leadership' and processes of 'decentralisation' in rural Rajasthan, and inquiries on the performative impact and outreach of Bollywood Cinema.
Sophie completed her MA in Gender Studies and Social Anthropology at the universities of Basel and Heidelberg and conducted fieldwork in India for her master thesis. She is currently teaching at the University of Basel.
Megan Youdelis is a PhD candidate in the Geography department. Her research interests include issues around market-oriented conservation, neoliberalism and the environment, discourses of nature, and local communities’ roles in environmental governance. Her SSHRC-funded Masters research explored ecotourism as a market-oriented conservation strategy in the Doi Inthanon National Park in Thailand.
Megan completed her Honours BA in Environmental Anthropology at the University of Toronto, and completed her Masters in Human Geography at York University.
Durriya Zaidi is a Masters’ Candidate in the graduate program in Development Studies at York University. She holds an Honours BA in International Relations with minors in Political Science and History from the University of Toronto. Her research interests include the intersection of business and development, particularly in the context of the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in sustainable development, and green business. She has spent several years working in the private sector and not-for-profit sector in Pakistan, and has also taught at the Southwestern University for Finance and Economics in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China. She is currently a facilitator for the Mosaic Institute’s project “New Beginnings”: Young Canadians’ Peace Dialogue on China and Tibet. She has completed her first year and is currently undertaking the fieldwork component of her degree at the UNDP in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Yikun Zhao, PhD Candidate
Yikun is a PhD student in Sociology at York University. She obtained her BA degree in English Linguistics and Literature from Beijing International Studies University and MSc degree in Administration (Marketing option) from Concordia University.
Yikun is interested in critical social theories and modern consumer culture in China, especially its visual representations and political implications that are most evident in the consumer-citizen debate.
Jianlan Zhu, PhD Candidate
Osgoode Hall Law School
Jianlan is currently a PhD candidate with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Her research interests include internet law, intellectual property, privacy and public policy. Her LLM thesis focuses on the impact of the new media on Freedom of the Press. The main focus of her PhD dissertation is the regulation of commercial use of the personal information on the internet in particular as it affects children.
She holds a BA (Honours) in Economics from East China University of Politics and Law, a Juris Master (equivalent to JD in North America) from Fudan University, China, and a LL.M from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Prior to arriving at York University, she was a lawyer in China and practiced in the field of business law. She was also a columnist of China Business Time from 2001-2003. She volunteered at Toronto Worker’s Health & Safety Legal Clinic, Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Legal Aid Center for many years.