Doukhobor village life, ca. 1905, from USask Archives, Jean Murray fonds, MG 61, IV.

$1.85M in federal grants awarded for USask social science and humanities research

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) has been awarded a total of $1.85 million for 10 wide-ranging faculty research projects and 30 graduate student scholarships and fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in a Canada-wide competition.

Several USask faculty projects announced today by Canada’s Science Minister Kirsty Duncan will look at the implications of stereotypes for women and First Nations. Others will delve into Canadian history, examining the successful integration of the Doukhobors in Saskatchewan, the legacy of the Indian Act’s band-membership rules, and the classification of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by the federal government as ‘Indians.’  

"The insights of these talented researchers contribute to new knowledge and greater understanding of societal issues, both past and present, providing a strong foundation for Canada to be able to adapt and succeed in the future,” said USask Vice-President Research Karen Chad. “The major investment in scholarships provides a high-quality research training experience for our students, who will be among the leaders of tomorrow.”    

SSHRC awarded a total of almost $1.27 million in Talent Grants for USask graduate student and post-doctoral researchers, including an $81,000 post-doctoral fellowship, three doctoral awards, and 26 Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships for master’s and PhD students.

Faculty researchers awarded SSHRC Insight Development Grants are:

Ashleigh Androsoff (history, $47,000)—A History of Harmony: Integration and Independence among Saskatchewan Doukhobors, 1899- 2019. Doukhobors integrated into life in Saskatchewan in a way that British Columbia Doukhobors did not. Androsoff, a descendant of Doukhobors, wants to document how and why they integrated well, which has potential lessons for new immigrant communities. 

Scott Thompson (sociology, $62,000)—Unmaking Indians: Tracing the Governmental Root Causes of Stereotypes Regarding First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada. This project examines how a diverse group of Indigenous peoples was labelled “Indians.” Researchers will conduct a substantial knowledge mobilization project to rob the term “Indian” of its power, conducting workshops and developing a web portal.

Megan Walsh (business $65,000)—Addressing Stereotype Threat for Women in Leadership: The Role of Mindfulness. This study aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of how mindfulness—paying attention in a purposeful, non-judgmental way—can help mitigate the threat of stereotyping. The project has two specific objectives: understanding how and why mindfulness can improve women’s aspirations to be leaders, and understanding how and why mindfulness can improve women’s leadership performance. This project will include a four-week mindfulness intervention involving  women in leadership roles.

Damien Lee (Indigenous studies, $70,000)—The Failure of Section 10: Narrating Three Decades of Indian Band Membership Policy, 1985 to Present. Lee is exploring the legacy of the Indian Act’s band membership provisions to inform future Indian band membership policy. As Canada is starting a consultation process to reform these rules, it is consulting only bands and not excluded people, which leaves a knowledge gap, Lee says.

Janet Okoko (education, $47,000)—School Leadership Preparation: Developing Programs that Ameliorate Cognitive Dissonance and Build Cross-Cultural Understanding with Newcomer Families. Of immigrants to Saskatchewan, 27.6 per cent are school-aged, and only seven per cent cite English as their first language. The study, aimed at building greater cultural understanding, will look at the inconsistencies in values and beliefs that school principals may experience when dealing with newcomers.

Jim Robson (sustainability, $69,000)—Strategies for Building Inclusivity in Mexican Forest Commons. Robson is working with two forest communities in Oaxaca, Mexico to examine local forest-management practices and governance. The goal is to foster long-term sustainability by strengthening ties between people and forests so that local people feel invested in their forest commons.

Jesse Stewart (linguistics/religious studies, $62,000)—Documentation and archiving of Media Lengua: A rare mixed language spoken in the Ecuadorian Highlands. The project goal is to continue to fund the documentation of Media Lengua into a community-language database to preserve it for future generations. Media Lengua is a true mixed language in which the entire grammar is from one language, while the vocabulary is from a different one. Mixed languages form quickly (within one generation) and provide linguists with a unique insight into how languages are created, changed, and systematized.

Vicki Squires (education, $57,000)—Interrogating Implications of Adopting the Okanagan Charter: Gauging Impact on Well-being of Canadian Campuses. This study will examine the potential of the charter, developed in 2015 in response to alarming mental health statistics involving students, to serve as a building block for developing a systematic approach for well-being on post-secondary campuses.

Jeffrey Michler (agriculture and resource economics, $73,000)—Approximation in Complex Pricing Mechanisms. Companies that produce multiple products used by the same consumer mostly use a few prices for their goods. Economic theory suggests there should be many prices to maximize profit. How closely do simple strategies match the results of maximizing strategies? What is the impact of pricing strategies on social welfare, as well as profit? This study aims to find the answers.

Dwayne Moore (philosophy, $33,000)—The Causal Exclusion Problem. Moore will draft an entry for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy on the causal exclusion problem, which says there can be behaviours that are automatic and driven by the brain (neural), a finding that conflicts with the common view that the mind controls the body. His goal is to establish the theoretical framework for integrating neuroscientific advances with human autonomy in decision-making.

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