Graduate Research

Inspiring Minds 

inspiring_minds.jpgNetworked Masculinity In Toxic Techno-culture

The unmoderated freedom of expression and the privilege of anonymity on social media platforms allow for expressing oneself freely, along with the broadcasting of disinformation and hate propaganda that can shape people’s perceptions and beliefs. These racist or misogynistic information-sharing practices are heavily influenced by the participation of men in the virtual space. My research focuses on the role of masculinity in the virtual space that facilitates toxic techno-culture to produce online hate speech and enables it to influence offline racial or gender- based violence. My aim is to conduct a comparative analysis of white masculinity in Canada with Hindu masculinity in India to show the construction of virtual masculinity in different cultural, social, and political settings. I also aim to investigate the conflict between the right to freedom of expression and the right of minority communities to be free from violence in the virtual world. LEARN MORE

Lutfun Nahar, PhD candidate, Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies 

leveau.2e16d0ba.fill-350x350.jpgPosthuman novels: how stories of clones, robots and animals reshape our understanding of the Human

Traditionally, language, intelligence and emotions have been attributed to humans. Those deemed devoid of these qualities are labelled as “others” and become “disposable bodies”. The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded humans of their vulnerability - a characteristic shared with all the living world - and has made obvious their increased dependence on science and technologies. It has highlighted the imperative to rethink the autonomy of humans to move towards a definition that takes into account interconnections with other species and technologies. Stories depicting non-human characters blur the boundaries between what is human and what is not. My research focuses on analysing French novels that question the frontiers of humans. In Marie Darrieussecq’s book Our life in the forests, readers discover that the narrator is a clone and not a “real” human. They experience confusion and are invited to rethink humanity as a moving scale rather than a closed and fixed category. LEARN MORE

Fanny Leveau, PhD candidate, French Studies

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Recipients are selected based on leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and/or health sciences. Each scholar receives $50,000 annually for up to three years. 


Sohini Chatterjee is a PhD student in gender, sexuality and women’s studies, researching queer and trans communities in India. 

“My doctoral project will interrogate insecurities experienced by variously marginalized queer and trans people in the state of West Bengal, in post-377 India,” said Chatterjee.  

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India said that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — a colonial era sodomy law — criminalized consensual homosexual intercourse and was therefore unconstitutional. 

Although this was celebrated as the undoing of a historical wrong in national and international media and was marked as a progressive verdict, trans and queer people without class, caste, and non-disabled privileges continued to experience various forms of violence and discrimination.   

Chatterjee’s research seeks to understand what it would take for “marginalized trans and queer people and their communities to feel more secure, she said.


Florence Wullo Anfaara
PhD, Women’s Studies and Transitional Justice
Promoting Community Health and Wellbeing in Liberia: The role of Peace Huts

AnfaaraLiberian women who work in peace huts were instrumental in ending the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Yet, little is known about the strategies they used to contain the outbreak.

In addition to international responses, women in peace huts were active in mobilizing Ebola-affected communities to create local interventions that helped end the outbreak.

Established about 17 years ago, peace huts are spaces where women meet to resolve disputes and domestic violence through mediation and conflict resolution and promote community health and well-being. Liberian women viewed the end of Ebola as vital to sustainable peace.

Florence Wullo Anfaara uses a mixed-methods approach to address three objectives: First, to identify, document, and disseminate the strategies used by women to support Ebola-containment efforts and how in the context of limited resources these strategies can be replicated to prevent future outbreaks. Second, to assess how women view these strategies as connected to their peace work; and third, to examine how peace huts contribute to community health and well-being.

Findings from this study will inform the design of robust health policy on infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Liberia in particular, as it strives to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3.3 on ending infectious diseases by 2030.

Jessica du Toit
PhD in Philosophy
Human Vulnerability and Medical Ethics: Towards Proper Protections For All Vulnerable Research Participants

du ToitThe protection of vulnerable research participants is a central tenet of human research ethics. Despite this fact, we lack a thorough understanding of what makes certain human participants vulnerable.

This has serious practical implications. Without this understanding, we are unable to identify all of those needing special protections. Thus, we run the risk of exploiting many vulnerable research participants.

Terrible in and of itself, this could also lead to an erosion of public trust in the research enterprise, and the ultimate demise of human participants research.

To avoid these prospects, Jessica du Toit will focus on the concept of vulnerability. She will consider three questions: What does vulnerability mean for human participants research? Who is deemed vulnerable? What special protections are owed to vulnerable research participants?

She will develop, test and refine conceptual conclusions, as well as develop knowledge translation materials so her work can be used to better protect vulnerable research participants.


Jemima Nomunume Baada
PhD, Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, with the collaborative specialization in Migration and Ethnic Relations
Examining the Dual Effects of Climate Change and Multilateral Investment on Agrarian Migration in Ghana

BaadaIn Ghana, the effects of climate change are worsening in the northern sector. Therefore, most people who depend on farming and forest resources migrate to southern Ghana for better lives. At the same time, growing foreign investments in the south are attracting migrants. Yet, we know little about how changing climates and growing foreign investment affect people in rural migration origins and destinations.

It is important to study the combined effects of climate change and foreign investment on migration in Ghana as existing research focus on one or the other, although they are linked. Furthermore, rural dwellers – particularly women and children – tend to be excluded from most studies on climate change, migration and investment in developing regions.

Baada’s research explores the lives of return-migrants and non-migrants in the Upper West, which has high rates of outmigration, and eyes migrants’ access to resources in rural areas of the middle belt which are migrant and foreign investment hubs. Through that, she will identify how foreign investment could be better used to improve the lives of rural migrants in withdraw these notions from circulation in academia.