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Students earn awards for advancing work in Canadian studies

Students earn awards for advancing work in Canadian studies

York University’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies has announced the winners of two prestigious academic awards recognizing the best graduate dissertation and undergraduate paper in a fourth-year course that advances knowledge of Canada.

The Barbara Godard Prize for the Best York University Dissertation in Canadian Studies recipient is Min Ah (Angie) Park for “Diversity in ‘the Korean Way’: Transcultural Identities in Contemporary Diasporic Korean Literature and Media in North America.”

The recipient of the Odessa Prize for the best undergraduate paper in a fourth-year course is Christine Cooling for “Reimagining Broadcasting Policy in a Networked Canada: Debating Digital Sovereignty and Democratic Reform.”

The Barbara Godard Prize

Park, who is currently a postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Gender & the Economy at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, completed her doctorate in English at York University in 2022. During her studies at York, she also completed dual graduate diplomas in world literature (from the Department of English) and Asian studies (from the York Centre for Asian Research).

She is a recipient of the Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowship, and her research focuses on the methods and best practices of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training in corporate environments.

Park’s winning thesis, titled “Diversity in ‘the Korean Way’: Transcultural Identities in Contemporary Diasporic Korean Literature and Media in North America,” explores literary and visual media representations of diasporic Koreans in Canada and the U.S., largely since 2010.

Her thesis, she says, demonstrates how these representations reflect the complex and evolving ways that Korean immigrants and descendants have been reimagining their identities beyond persisting stereotypes and across national and geographical borders, while grappling with local and global effects of racism, colonialism and capitalism.

Min Ah Park

“I particularly look at women’s narratives (in the form of memoirs and novels) and humour in television shows to examine how diasporic Korean identity is made complex by the movements between individual and communal identity construction, simultaneous experiences of exclusion and inclusion, and forces of capitalist markets and competing geopolitical histories,” says Park, adding that she chose this line of inquiry because, in recent years, she has been fascinated by the growing representation of Koreans and diasporic Koreans across diverse media industries.

Her thesis further aims to address a lack of knowledge and scholarly discussion regarding diasporic Korean expression and experiences, especially in Canada, and further in the U.S.

“I am so happy and honoured to receive this award because the three values of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies aptly reflect my personal aims for writing my dissertation: knowing Canada through people; situating Canada in its places; and connecting Canada to the world,” she said. “To be recognized by the prestigious Barbara Godard Prize gives me the pleasure and honour of knowing that I was able to contribute to these values through my research on a subject so near and dear to my own identity as a first-generation immigrant and person of Korean heritage in Canada.”

Christine Cooling

The Odessa Prize

Cooling, now a master’s student at York University and Toronto Metropolitan University, studying communication and culture, is a graduate of the Communication & Media Studies program in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Cooling shares that she chose her undergraduate program “without knowing virtually anything about media studies,” but “became quickly and deeply fascinated by how communication policy shapes ideologies surrounding national culture.”

In her current work as a master’s student, she plans to expand her thesis research on Canadian broadcasting policy to dive deeper into the relationship between historical and contemporary policymaking debates.

The Odessa Prize was awarded to Cooling for her thesis titled “Reimagining Broadcasting Policy in a Networked Canada: Debating Digital Sovereignty and Democratic Freedom,” which interrogated Twitter and online legacy newspaper coverage of the controversial Online Streaming Act, Bill C-11, that was recently given royal assent and made into law in Canada.

“This bill sought to bring online streaming platforms under the scope of traditional broadcasting regulation, which has covered radio and television since the 20th century and had not been amended since 1991. These media perspectives offered valuable insight into public opinion on what role online streaming services should play in Canada’s digital media environment, as well as what role the Canadian government should play in regulating internet platforms such as Netflix – an undoubtedly challenging task,” says Cooling.

This line of inquiry was of particular interest to her because of both the history of Canadian broadcasting policy as well as contemporary debates on Canadian broadcasting policy.

“Winning the Odessa Prize is truly one of my proudest accomplishments as a student with a passion for researching Canadian communication policy – a research area that may not always sound exciting but is incredibly rich and controversial,” says Cooling. “To me, the Odessa Prize affirms the importance of my research and recognizes my dedication to the field; upon finding out I won the prize, I felt instantly inspired and motivated to pursue a future career in academia, which is my ultimate goal.”

Originally published in YFile.