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Public Sociology Engagements

Faculty in the Department of Sociology often engage in Public Sociology, where they share their expertise and knowledge with other scholars, the media and the general public. These engagements include news articles, podcasts, video interviews and conversations that delve into current issues in Sociology. Below you can learn more about the different engagements that some our faculty have participated in.

Meet the artist etching memorial tattoos for people who lost loved ones to COVID-19

November 19, 2021

Deborah Davidson
Article Mention

According to a 2015 Harris Poll, almost 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo, a 10% increase from 2011. At least 80% of tattoos are for commemoration, said Deborah Davidson, a professor of sociology at York University in Toronto who has been researching memorial tattoos since 2009.

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High cost of living, economic recovery and climate change top Vaughan-Woodbridge residents' concerns

September 20, 2021

Robert A Kenedy
Article Mention

Reporter Dina Al-Shibeeb interviewed Brian Shifman, Robert Kenedy, Frank Lupo and Charline Grant to understand people's top concern.

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Postcolonial African feminisms

September 18, 2021

Sylvia Bawa
Video Conference

Sylvia Bawa and Yolande Bouka: Postcolonial African feminisms. Pre-conference debate for the 4th Biennial Conference of the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA).

Ugly Anti-Masker Protests Plague Canadian Election

Cary Wu profile photo
August 30, 2021

Cary Wu
Article Mention

It’s unsurprising that the anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters are targeting Trudeau’s events, said Cary Wu, a York University sociologist who specialized in political culture.

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York University Canada Research Chairs to study Indigenous history and Black studies

Christopher Kyriakides headshot
June 15, 2021

Christopher Kyriakides
Article Mention

The initial five-country analysis, including Canada, the United States, Italy, Greece and Jordan, will examine the extent to which policy instruments and media discourses related to the “global refugee crisis” negatively impact racialized communities in each reception context.

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Smart regulations for long-term care would focus on helping the workforce

Pat Armstrong headshot
May 17, 2021

Pat Armstrong
Author of Article

Long-term care reforms should focus on structural changes such as staffing levels, rather than regulations designed to control the actions of staff.

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Long-term care reform: No time to waste

May 7, 2021

Pat Armstrong
Author of Article

The commission’s report calls for person-centred care, making it clear that staffing and leadership are at the core of this approach. As we have been arguing for well over a decade in our international “Reimagining Long-Term Residential Care” project, the conditions of work are the conditions of care.

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Did the pandemic shake Chinese citizens’ trust in their government?

May 5, 2021

Cary Wu
Op-ed

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, the vast majority in many Western countries think China handled the outbreak poorly.

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As Asian Canadian scholars, we must #StopAsianHate by fighting all forms of racism

April 15, 2021

Ann H Kim, Cary Wu, Guida Man, Harris Ali, Muyang Li
Article

Anti-Asian racism has been present in Canada for centuries. It is deeply rooted in the historical formation of Canada through the Chinese head tax, Japanese internment camps, the Electoral Franchise Act, which explicitly denied Chinese Canadians the right to vote, and more. It is embedded within the minds of Canadians.

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Status for all: Pathways to permanent residency in Canada need to include every migrant

April 15, 2021

Luin Goldring
Article

Post-pandemic immigration policy is a longer conversation that must consider the global dimensions of migration. We can work toward an equitable recovery by acknowledging the systemic failures of the Canadian immigration system. It begins with reversing the rise of two-track and two-step immigration and prioritizing permanent immigration.

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With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, ‘immune-insecure’ people have to navigate added risks in social life

April 9, 2021

Michael Nijhawan
Author of Article

Current debates over vaccine passports and mandates are troubling — beyond the privacy concerns bioethicists have raised.

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Inked in grief: Memorial tattoos are an increasingly popular way to commemorate lost loved ones

March 16, 2021

Deborah Davidson
Article Mention

I noticed the people that I thought weren’t likely to have tattoos based on my biases and my stigmatizing with people with tattoos did have tattoos, did have tattoos in memory of their loved ones.

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Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities

February 12, 2021

Harris Ali
Author of Article

Emerging infectious disease has much to do with how and where we live. The ongoing coronavirus is an example of the close relationships between urban development and new or re-emerging infectious diseases.

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At protests that draw counter-protesters, people on the left more likely to face arrest

Leslie Wood
January 12, 2021

Lesley Wood
Article

In analyzing 64 U.S. protests from 2017 and 2018 where counter-protesters were present and arrests were made, York University sociologist Lesley Wood finds right-leaning protesters account for 8% of total arrests while left-leaning protesters account for 81% of arrests.

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We plunge deeper into mediocrity when we focus on oppressing others instead of building together

SYLVIA BAWA headshot
January 8, 2021

Sylvia Bawa
Interview

Fundamentally, I believe in the inherent equality of all people and in the human rights of every human being. I was raised to value fairness and I saw that fairness in how my parents equitably distributed resources. I also value uniqueness and difference in people.

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Should I report my neighbour for breaking COVID rules?

November 21, 2020

Eric Mykhalovskiy
Article Mention

I really think that people need to be very careful and think twice, three times or four times before they start engaging in this type of reporting of their neighbours or their fellow citizens.

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Whether it’s for Trump or Biden, Americans who trust others are more likely to vote

October 29, 2020

Cary Wu
Op-ed

Forecasting election results is hard. Predicting who will turn out to vote in the United States is not.

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If not now, when? The throne speech and long term care

September 24, 2020

Pat Armstrong
Author of Article

COVID-19 has made it clear we need to act now on long term care. The throne speech offers some promise on this front, but we have to continue the pressure to ensure that elders and those who provide their care can be “safe, respected and live in dignity.”

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Insight Out: Navigating Multiple Systems While Living on Low Income

Amber Gazso profile photo
July 24, 2020

Amber Gazso
Article

Professor Amber Gazso from the Department of Sociology is a recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant worth $150,738 this year for her project titled “The Systems of Our Lives: Navigating Multiple Systems While Living on Low Income.”

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146 Academics From Across the World Demand Varavara Rao's Release

July 20, 2020

Hira Singh
Article Mention

A group of 146 scholars from across the world have come together to ask the Indian government to release 80-year-old Telugu poet Varavara Rao from prison.

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What does it mean to 'defund the police'? 4 social justice experts explain

July 16, 2020

Carmela Murdocca
Article Mention

The police really represent a threat to certain communities. And so a focus on police reform needs to focus on what problems the state is asking police to solve and whether the police are really best suited to solve them.

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CCBC Webinar: The Future of Canada as a Top Destination for Chinese Students Post COVID-19

July 8, 2020

Rhonda L Lenton
Video Conference

Given the complex challenges COVID-19 has placed on post-secondary institutions, how will campus life be impacted and what immediate and long-term steps can universities take to manage this? CCBC, Universities Canada, and York University discussed this important issue in a live webinar.

How police unions present barriers to change in Canada

Mark Thomas profile photo
June 30, 2020

Mark P Thomas
Article Mention

Police unions, like any union, work to protect the interests of their members. Those interests, however, are exactly what situates police unions outside of the labour movement in Canada.

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Christopher Kyriakides on persons of self rescue

June 16, 2020

Christopher Kyriakides
Video Clip

Christopher is one of our partners from York University in Toronto and a member of LERRN's Intersectionality and Diversity Working Group. Here, he discusses his perspective on how refugees are more than that label.

Episode 20 | The scandal in our nursing homes with Pat Armstrong

May 28, 2020

Pat Armstrong
Podcast Interview

A recent military report has highlighted the deplorable state of private nursing homes in Ontario, a scandal that experts and families have drawn attention to for years. It is hard to understand, impossible to accept, and Pat Armstrong has solutions.

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#COVID19: Social media both a blessing and a curse during coronavirus pandemic

March 22, 2020

Fuyuki Kurasawa, Harris Ali
Author of Article

We are facing an unprecedented crisis of public understanding. Western digital corporations and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Reddit) and their Chinese equivalents (WeChat, Weibo, Tencent and Toutiao) are at the heart of this crisis. These platforms act as facilitators and multipliers of COVID-19-related misinformation.

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Unpacking the Everyday

Power and Everyday Practices, Second Edition book cover
August 19, 2019

Aryn Martin, Mark P Thomas
Article

Power and Everyday Practices, Second Edition is an innovative text that provides undergraduate students with tools to think sociologically through the lens of everyday life. In this post, the authors explain the book and why they encourage students to turn their social worlds inside out and explore alternatives to the dominant social order.

Future of Education with Dr. Rhonda Lenton, President of York University

Rhonda L Lenton profile photo
May 21, 2019

Rhonda L Lenton
Podcast

In this episode Alex and Mimi chat with Dr. Rhonda Lenton President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. As the global work environment shifts to new technologies with bigger demands, our education also needs a reboot. Hear Rhonda’s thoughts on the future of formal education.

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After shocking survey, Vaughan professor calls for 'enforcing' critical thinking skills

May 17, 2019

Robert A Kenedy
Article Mention

We’ve seen students who don’t have the skills. I put a lot of personal efforts in teaching them, but I am one course, one professor.

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Recent Canadian Immigrant Seniors: Literature Review

April 26, 2019

Nancy J Mandell
Video Clip

Presentation was part of CERIS's "Settlement Services for Immigrant Women, Youth, and Seniors in Canada: Who is Falling through the Cracks?" Community Panel Discussion.

A generation waiting to be heard: Massive walkout shows reach of engaged student activists

April 5, 2019

Lesley Wood
Article Mention

Many of us are paying attention to so many things that we can get paralyzed and they don't seem to be quite as paralyzed as the rest of us.

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Social media can be information poison when we need facts most

July 26, 2018

Fuyuki Kurasawa
Author of Article

While immersed in social media platforms, we cannot stand on the sidelines of informational struggles. Equipped with our apps and a commitment to truth, we must plunge into the social media trenches.

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Vaughan resident fired up over 'extravagant' city staff trips

Robert A Kenedy profile photo
July 20, 2018

Robert A Kenedy
Article Mention

Rob Kenedy doesn't like the Vaughan P-card system and says city employees shouldn't be staying in upscale hotels when they travel for business. The Kleinburg Inn behind him is an example of one of the more reasonable options out there.

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New washroom policy is 'positive 1st step,' but Starbucks needs to do more, York University prof says

May 21, 2018

Sheila Cavanagh
Article Mention

They’re really in a position to set a good example for the rest of the industry.

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Instilling a Sense of Worth Important When Reaching Out to Refugees

March 9, 2018

Christopher Kyriakides
Article Mention

Kyriakides also stressed the need for not just resettlement “information” to be shared with refugees before they get here but real “knowledge” such as the steps that must be taken in the host country before they can continue in the profession they practised prior to displacement.

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Judge strikes mandatory minimum sentence in drug case involving Indigenous woman

February 22, 2018

Carmela Murdocca
Interview

Aboriginal Legal Services helped Sharma’s defence launch its Charter challenge, calling York University sociologist Carmela Murdocca as an expert witness to testify about the historical challenges faced by Indigenous people and the vulnerability and financial hardship experienced by many racialized women convicted of drug crimes.

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Critics blast Toronto police's push for more Tasers, stress de-escalation

October 19, 2017

Lesley Wood
Article Mention

Tasers are weapons and they're weapons that go away from the idea of zero death, zero harm which is the police's goal here.

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Reinvestment will make Canada a global research leader

October 17, 2017

Rhonda L Lenton
Op-ed

Top talent at York and at universities across Canada are helping to solve the biggest challenges facing humanity, enhancing quality of life at home and abroad, and developing the next generation of researchers and innovators.

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Canada’s ‘Feminist’ Aid Program Creates More Questions Than Answers

June 20, 2017

Sylvia Bawa
Author of Article

By 2022, 95 percent of Canada’s international assistance programs will target women and girls. But will this policy actually empower those it seeks to help? York University’s Sylvia Bawa questions how the new “feminist” approach will operate on the ground.

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Hyun Ok Park

The Capitalist Unconscious book cover
January 5, 2017

Hyun Ok Park
Interview

Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University and author of The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea, published by Columbia University Press and recipient of the 2017 AAS James Palais Award Honorable Mention.

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Media accused of racism in reporting HIV-related crime

December 2, 2016

Eric Mykhalovskiy
Article Mention

The most striking revelation of this report was the grand scale of stereotyping and stigmatizing by Canadian media outlets in their sensationalistic coverage of HIV non-disclosure cases.

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Abuse of Ghostbusters star a PR 'nightmare' that forced Twitter to ban Yiannopoulos, expert says

July 21, 2016

Fuyuki Kurasawa
Article Mention

The social media platforms that we're talking about, whether they be Twitter or Facebook, Instagram or others, are all private [sector] companies.

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Violent news 'more intense' through smartphones and social media, expert says

Fuyuki Kurasawa profile photo
July 19, 2016

Fuyuki Kurasawa
Article Mention

It's not as if bad news and violence are anything new. But the way it affects us has changed with our growing reliance on smartphones, says Fuyuki Kurasawa, an associate professor specializing in global digital citizenship at York University in Toronto.

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Room for a new thought: Queering bathrooms against trans erasure

May 14, 2016

Sheila Cavanagh
Article Mention

Trauma is being thrust into a transitional space where one’s possibilities as a subject collapse. My intention was to highlight the experiences of trans people excommunicated from the public space.

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Talking About the Unconscious

Hyun Ok Park profile photo
December 9, 2015

Hyun Ok Park
Interview

The exploration of the capitalist unconscious is my way of understanding what has continued to trouble and fascinate me at the same time, namely, the lack of discussion of capitalism in everyday life, let alone its critique.

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Return of the long-form census excites the experts

Luin Goldring (L) and Patricia Landott (R) full size photo
October 23, 2015

Luin Goldring
Article Mention

Luin Goldring, a sociology professor at York University who conducts research on immigration, said she doesn’t completely trust the voluntary data provided by the NHS.

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The Politics of Bathrooms

June 17, 2015

Sheila Cavanagh
Article Mention

Almost ten years ago, Cavanagh was teaching a graduate seminar on gender and sexuality. She’d assigned Freud’s “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” but her students kept talking about bathrooms.

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First-Person - Sheila L. Cavanagh on Queer Bathroom Stories

Sheila Cavanagh headshot
June 7, 2014

Sheila Cavanagh
Author of Article

On November 7, 2010 during the launch of Queering Bathrooms at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, I staged the first iteration of the QBS (then titled Queer Bathroom Monologues) to give the audience a flavour of the interviews. To my surprise, 150 people in attendance gave QBS a standing ovation.

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Canada’s Vicious HIV Laws

May 5, 2014

Eric Mykhalovskiy
Article Mention

In order to make a police complaint, people must understand themselves to have experienced a potential criminal wrong.

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Migration at the margins: Work, profit, or nation-building?

April 15, 2014

Luin Goldring
Video Clip

Part of a panel at the Kick-Off event for the Migration Matters program.

York University professor who refused student's request to be separated from female classmates broke ‘obligation to accommodate’: officials

January 8, 2014

J Paul Grayson
Article Mention

After refusing to honour a male student’s request to be separated from his female classmates for religious reasons, a York University professor has found himself at odds with administrators who assert he broke their “obligation to accommodate.”

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Relying on Inter-generational support

December 20, 2012

Amber Gazso
Video Clip

The complexities of the reliance on family members for inter-generational support.

Interview with Aryn Martin on Microchimerism

aryn martin profile photo
November 11, 2010

Aryn Martin
Interview

Language in science, as elsewhere, is a deeply complicated and dynamic beast, where we language-users are at best partially aware of the resonances implied by our word choices. In investigating this research domain from a science studies perspective, I noticed a surprisingly robust package of metaphors used by researchers in their technical writing, interviews, and speech.

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The shame of honour crimes

June 21, 2010

Mark J Goodman
Article Mention

Between 2001 and 2004, Haideh Moghissi, Saeed Rahnema and Mark J. Goodman of York University conducted an extensive study of about 2,000 immigrants to Canada from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.

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