Abstracts - 5th Annual SCUSC - 2015




Session 1 - Neoliberalism & Education


Rationalization, Neoliberalism, and Mass Education
Kenneth Abad, Sociology, KPU

This paper will be looking at the entrenchment of neo-liberal policies and how it has affected higher education. It argues that class based institutions such as higher education enforce social and economic structures of hierarchy. The analysis will look at how neo-liberalism through privatization of public wealth, and deregulation of economic activities has given political and economic power to the corporate entities. As Max Weber argued, rationalization and bureaucracy promote systematic arrangements of rules, which emphasize efficiency, predictability, calculability, and dehumanization; creating the iron cage of rationality. Weber’s theory will be drawn upon to highlight how credentialism has emerged from this structure of stratification. In this paper, I ask, “How has the rationalization of society transformed educational institutions into credential granting bodies that favour the dominant class?” Although rationalization of society is the evident result of mass democracy through economic and social growth, and individualization is emphasized through the implementation of the bureaucratic state. I argue that the movement for mass education was not from a sudden ‘thirst for education’, but from the desire to restrict the supply for elite positions and their monopolization by the power elite. The emergence of credentialism creates a system of class stratification, which enforces social and economic disparities. The holders of these credentials become the gate keepers and gain control over the system of special examinations.


Barriers to Post-Secondary Education
Preeti Bains, Sociology, KPU

In this paper, I explore the different barriers that affect students’ access to higher education in Canada. In this research, I ask “what are the major barriers keeping students from completing post-secondary education?” I argue that some of the major barriers are tuition costs, low grades, disability, various forms of discrimination, cultural differences, and marital status.

Learning the Grid: Standardized Testing in the American Education System
Trini Tseng, Sociology, KPU

National standardized testing is a method used to assess college readiness as early as grade six. In the context of high school, the curriculum has been skewed to prepare students to learn off college entrance exams’ blueprints, threatening the art of critical pedagogy. Standardized testing puts emphasis on students’ mastery of curriculum rather than their capability to become analytical and question various forms of oppression. Despite its many merits, this method of measurement for academic success stifles creativity, disregards agency, and caters to invisible institutional agendum. SAT and ACT are the predominant entrance exams, and so will be the focal pool from which I collect my empirical data. The overall goal of this paper is to weigh the pros and cons of standardized testing. I argue that it is time to incrementally abolish this system of measuring “intelligence”. In fact, three liberal arts colleges in the United States have already pioneered the movement to deemphasize standardized testing for admission purposes. Their goal is to diversify the student body (e.g., race) and reduce educational inequality (e.g., economic class).


Sexual Health Education in Singapore

Jennifer Boorman, KPU


The purpose of this research project is to critically examine the sexual health education program for school aged children and youth in Singapore. In the last several years, there has been a movement towards a comprehensive sexuality education model; however, the program still holds core values rooted in the abstinence-only-until marriage education model. This research project will explore approaches to sexual health education, review the goals of the current sexual health education curriculum, and addresses the impacts of Section 377A – the criminalization of male homosexual acts – of the Penal Code in Singapore. It will argue that although Singapore has attempted to incorporate a comprehensive sexuality education model, current social policy – specifically, Section 377A – hinders the extent to which an all-inclusive model, encompassing issues such as gender identity, sexual orientation, and body image, can be implemented.


Session 2 - Activism & Student Scholarship


The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG)

The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group

Founded in December 2013 by KPU students committed to social, economic, and environmental justice, the Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG) is a student-funded, student-directed, non-partisan, non-profit, independent, on-campus Society that conducts research, advocacy, campus and community organizing/activism, lobbying, and educational and media campaigns. As a dynamic hub of progressive student activism, KPIRG strives to stand at the forefront of interrelated social, economic, and environmental struggles at KPU and in the community and aims to spur student mobilization around such intersecting issues as colonialism and indigenous sovereignty; class oppression, labour exploitation and socioeconomic inequity; patriarchy and feminism; environmental justice, extractive industries, and divestment from; racism, migrant workers’ rights, and immigration policy; corporate and alternative media; and many more issues. KPU students can participate in their PIRG through, amongst other avenues, action research conducted in collaboration with community organizations; skill-sharing workshops; creation of Working/Action Groups, such as D.A.M.N.!; and events planning and coordinating. KPIRG, the only PIRG south of the Fraser, is one of over twenty PIRGs based out of universities across Canada and follows a forty-year history of PIRGs in Canada. At the 5th annual Sociology/Criminology Undergraduate Student Conference, KPIRG board, staff, and student mobilizers will be sharing KPIRG’s history, structure, objectives, values, and projects with fellow KPU students and will be engaging students through a variety of workshop activities.

Breaking Through a Culture of Denial: Pathways to Environmentalism in B.C.
Justine Nelson, KPU alumnus


Our society is in collective denial about the extreme threat that climate change presents to the future of our world. Capitalism creates a culture that is based on the exploitation of people and the earth for profit, and as citizens living within this culture we use denial to shield ourselves from this reality. This study contributes to the growing field of green criminology, and combines an analysis of the politics of climate change with a sociological exploration of practices of individual and collective denial and acknowledgement. Drawing on qualitative interviews with B.C. activists, the study explores the pathways of people who have moved past denial and are now participating in the diverse and multifaceted environmental movement. The ability of this movement to successfully act against climate change, and those who are allowing it to happen, will shape what kind of world we leave for the next generation. Conflict resolution, privilege, and dealing with subsequent emotions in constructive ways are identified as steps to help others break through the culture of denial and strengthen the movement.


Session 3 - Assisted Suicide, Criminality, & the Media


The Right to Die
Keisha Matthews-Downing, Sociology, KPU


This paper analyzes how the topic of ‘Doctor Assisted Suicide’ is portrayed and discussed in one Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail. I examine the ideologies that frame these discussions in light of how other critical scholars have viewed and conceptualized assisted suicide in Canada. Despite the fact that since 2015 one has the right of access to Doctor Assisted Suicide in Canada, the controversy has not subsided and there are many arguments that both support and criticize assisted suicide. Although, a number of other countries have already implemented and created strict guidelines for assisted suicide, which only grant certain people with certain medical conditions access to assisted suicide, so far, Canada does not appear to have established clear-cut strategies regarding this issue. Nevertheless, it remains an important and hot issue in the media.


Media’s Portrayal of Suicide: the case of CBC’s ‘The Fifth Estate’
Nicholas Stanley, Sociology, KPU


This paper focuses on the portrayal of suicide in the Canadian media. The research will explore the discourses and frameworks used to narrate and explain the causes of suicide in the media. Specifically, it will examine how the issues are portrayed in various “The Fifth Estate” broadcasts. My aim is to show how this popular Canadian investigating journalism depicts suicide by examining two episodes that dealt with the deaths of Chazz Petrella and Amanda Todd. It will observe how various factors such as mental illness, sextortion, and bullying structure discussions about suicide from a post-structuralist perspective, Erving Goffman's Framing Theory, and Emile Durkheim's theories of Suicidology.


Heroes or Villains? - The Calculated Construction of Criminality in Mass Media

Viraj Abeysekera, Sociology, KPU


This paper plans to examine how criminality is represented in various types of mass media (e.g., movies, TV, music, news, etc.). Specifically, I ask to what extent these various forms of media serve in effectively separating the hard facts from glorified fictions and myths about criminality. As a secondary point of my analysis, I want to look at how experts in the field of criminal justice system weigh in on these characterizations.  Theories I wish to employ include: Emile Durkheim’s functionalism and the belief that social inequality is inevitable, the Weberian concept of “life chances,” “the bystander effect,” and Nichola Machiaveli’s views on human nature expressed in his book, “The Prince.” Due to time frame constraints and breadth of scope, I will be restricting my geographical focus to organizations and individuals that were/are active in North America. I will also look at specific groups and categories: The Italian Mafia, outlaw motorcycle clubs, and Prohibition-era bootleggers. I draw upon films and television programs as my main sources of analysis in addition to supplementary scholarly journal articles and any/all relevant theories. The movies I will analyze are: The Godfather Trilogy, Goodfellas, Donnie Brasco, Lawless, and The Untouchables. The aforementioned films will help me better examine the Italian mob while the latter two will help me gather more insight into the prohibition era. Lastly I wish to use episodes from the television programme Sons Of Anarchy to garner greater insight into the world of outlaw motorcycle clubs.


Session 4 - War, Dislocation, & Refugees


The Syrian Refugee Crisis: An Examination of the Quality of Life and Life Chances that Female Syrian Refugee Youth Face
Ayesha Khan, Sociology, KPU


This paper will analyze the effects of the Syrian migration crisis from 2011 to 2015 in terms of the impacts of war on internationally displaced Syrians, specifically looking at the lives of Syrian refugee youth students in Turkey. My research, furthermore, focuses on the marginalization of female refugee youth, their quality of life, and their life chances in refugee camps in Turkey. I will draw on intersectionality as a theoretical approach, and will focus on issues of power and social justice in exploring gendered oppressions of this marginalized group. I will use culture and religion as the main frameworks to offer a holistic approach to and understanding of the effects of the transnational dislocation of Syrian migrants.


Syrian Refugee Crisis: Media Accounts and Reader’s Perspectives
Victoria Douglas, Criminology/Sociology, KPU


This research paper is an analysis of two news sources: The Globe and Mail and Al Jazeera. I will be using narrative and discourse analyses to see how Syrian refugees and asylum seekers are constructed within these news sites. The articles will be collected from the online databases dating from January 2015 to September 2015. As well as analyzing newspaper articles, I will be examining the online comments of the readers of these articles to see how commenters make sense of the Syrian crisis, specifically exploring if their comments are centered on fears of terrorism. This paper will seek to answer the following questions: Do the articles in The Globe and Mail and Al Jazeera promote Islamophobia, and how is Canada’s role in resolving the Syrian refugee crisis discussed? This research seeks to show the importance of language and narration within newspapers, and how certain discourses frame the news and comments of the readers about Syrian refugees.


The Rape of Nanking
Zoe Atkinson, Amber Sandhu, Zahra Choudhri, Luping Yin, Crystal Gounder, Chris Mok, Kayla Gardner, & Damon Mann, KPU


In this presentation, we will examine the atrocities that took place between December 13, 1937 and January of 1938 in what is referred to in the literature as ‘the Rape of Nanking’. We will explore the inhumane acts that took place when the Japanese military occupied this city. The voices of the survivors will be used to provide insiders’ perspectives that we hope will offer the audience new perspectives on the effects of violence. Our aim is to highlight the physical, emotional, social, and psychological effects of war and violence on the citizens of the city of Nanking and ultimately of/in the world.


Session 5 - Language, Family, Feminism, & Sexualization

Signs of Divide: A Content Analysis of Richmond BC’s Foreign Language Sign Debate
Kira Hogarth-Davis, Criminology, KPU



This research project is a qualitative content analysis of the newspaper coverage on the Chinese language sign debate in Richmond, British-Columbia. Guided by the three research questions of (1) How is the debate being reported by local newspapers?, (2) What terms are being used to describe both sides of the debate?, and (3) What key issues are receiving newspaper coverage?, 41 articles were analyzed from 3 local papers to reveal the use of sentimental narratives in the reporting on the debate. The unveiled narratives of “Community Harmony”, Canada is Anglophonic”, “A Matter of Business” and “Individual Freedoms” took precedence over the reporting of statistical information about the total numbers of signs in Richmond. These sentimental narratives were often held by opposing sides of the debate, suggesting that community members in Richmond may hold similar aspirations for their neighbourhood despite differing in means to achieve them. It was further revealed that even those who were against, or neutral toward bylaw regulation utilized Anglo-normative statements to uphold their position, a finding which suggests that Eurocentric social norms are still the dominant standard to which the community is measured against.


Problems with Feminism’s Rights-Based Approach to Neoliberal Oppression in Latin America
Kari Michaels, Philosophy, KPU


This paper argues that feminist movements need to take into account the problems with rights based claims to justice in order to challenge the diffuse power of neoliberal ideology. I will begin by outlining what neoliberalism is and how it has affected social, political, and economic institutions. Through Foucault’s analysis of power, I will demonstrate how the reach of neoliberal power stretches beyond state control. The state is one of many institutions that plays a role in reproducing inequalities. Using Simone Weil’s critique of rights, I will explain three problems with human rights based approaches to women’s liberation. The three issues with a rights based approach to justice I will highlight are: 1) Rights are not an equalizing force because they depend upon an external force to defend them. More specifically, they are subject to military force and class power. Where there is a power imbalance between the violator of ones rights and the person claiming rights the individual with more power will prevail. 2) Human Rights discourses commercialize human needs by insinuating there is a price at which one would be willing to "sell" what the right is protecting. 3) Human Rights deradicalize political action by transforming political claims into moderate requests for provisions to preserve self-respect rather than conditions of living with dignity.  I will demonstrate how these three problems with human rights based approaches have arisen in the feminist struggles in Latin America. I will focus on how the lack of enforcement or recognition of basic human rights, in addition to the weakening of regulations that prevent economic exploitation, results in multinational corporations’ violation and exploitations of resources and people. The lack of enforcement or recognition of basic human rights also needs to be read in light of how governments violate and exploit through vicious social policies that cut social services that are supposed to provide basic human needs to marginalized peoples. The reason these violations are permitted is largely based on the ideology of neoliberalism that has been adopted by many transnational corporations, international economic institutions, and governments that would normally be expected to uphold these rights.


The Objectification of Women and Sexuality
Sukhjeevan Grewal, Sociology, KPU


This paper explores how women are sexualized and objectified in rap and R&B music videos. The focus of this research is on three popular videos that will be used as sources for data analysis. The videos include: “I’m a Slave 4 u” by Britney Spears, “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj, and “Pop That” by French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne. All these rappers and R&B singers are highly influential in their fields. They are chart topping artists who many people around the world look up to. This paper will reveal how these music videos depict women from stereotypical perspectives, which further affects people’s perceptions of women in society. These videos will be analyzed through a number of theoretical lenses that guide this research. The main goal of this paper is to explore and find a basic understanding of the ethical implications of women artists portraying themselves as sexual beings, and how this further leads to the societal acceptance of portraying women in such patriarchal ways. Furthermore, this paper will closely analyze the physical appearances and body languages portrayed in the videos to understand whether these women are involved in their own oppression and participate in the oppression of other women, or if their performances reflect their individual view points and choices. Some authors suggest that these female artists are being oppressed and are constructed as sexual objects. However, others suggest that they are ‘empowering the ideology of sexuality’ by embracing their sexuality (Frisbey & Aubrey, 2015).

Long Distance Relationships: Effects of Long-term Separation on Families of Overseas Filipino Workers
Juan Victor Cortez, Sociology, KPU


This paper examines the life-experiences of transnational Filipino workers and the effects of separation on their families. The paper will highlight the importance of the transnational Filipino workers or Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to the economy of their country of origin, the Philippines, as well as the well-beings of their families. It will examine the ramifications of the migration process on the children and spouses. The paper will also explore the consequences of migration on the family structure in terms of children’s educational experiences and transnational relationships between parents and their children.


Session 6 - Gender Inequity & Education


Gender Inequality in African Education Systems
Karanvir S. Purba, Criminology, KPU


This paper focuses on gender inequities in the education systems of various African countries. Education is a skill that is considered as a human rights, which should be granted to every child no matter his/her gender identity and age. In some countries, however, females are denied the right to basic literacy. This paper will examine the current situations of young girls and women who do not have the chance to obtain education in their communities due to various cultural and economic conditions and factors. I will explore how different gender roles and values affect women’s access to education. I will provide a statistical overview of differential access of women to educational facilities in a number of African countries. I will also offer ideas and solutions to how to promote gender equality in these education systems.


Equal Educational Opportunities for Females in Three Sub-Saharan African Countries
Harshaan Gill, Criminology, KPU


This paper explores the inter-related factors that constrain females from receiving formal education in three Sub-Saharan African countries. Prohibiting females in Africa from receiving the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts impacts society as a whole, because females play a huge role in the maintenance of individual and collective health and labour. If formal education is provided, fewer child marriages and pregnancies will occur and the economy will be greatly strengthened. In this paper, I compare the effects of the education systems in Kenya, Tanzania, and Congo on females from a historical perspective. I examine the reasons for unequal access of females to educational opportunities. The paper concludes with recommendations adopted from several researched sources that explain the ways through which the governments and citizens of Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya can work together to bridge the educational gaps/inequities for females. In short, I deconstruct the gender biases that have been instilled in the education systems of the aforementioned countries over the years.


Gender Inequality in the Indian Education Systems
Tarun Bangar, Criminology, KPU


This paper focuses on gender inequality in the Indian education systems. This paper will highlight the different inequalities and barriers that oppress women. In particular, I will explore the social, cultural, and financial barriers that segregate women and affect their educational experiences. As the case study by Vimala Ramachandran entitled, “Gender Equality in Education in India”, points out, various forms of inequalities are faced by marginalized Indian women. Gender stereotypes, motivations of teachers, and financial burdens are only a few of the many reasons why women face barriers in the education systems in India. This paper will draw upon Dana Dunn’s book, Gender Inequality in Education and Employment in the Scheduled Castes and Tribes of India in order to provide statistical analysis, highlighting the extent of gender inequality in the education system. This paper will also propose solutions that could overcome these inequalities and barriers. Overall, the objective of this paper is to identify the gender inequalities and barriers women face when it comes to education in India and to offer possible solutions to these barriers.


Education and Gender: A Look at the Portuguese School System
Breana Coleman, Sociology, KPU


In this paper, I will examine Portugal's education system from primary school to higher education. I will focus on how or if the school experience differs for students depending on their gender. I will make reference to the history of Portugal's modern education system, globalization, student's family backgrounds, their ethnicities, and socio-economic statuses, and how these elements contribute to differences in an individual's school experience and educational attainment. I will also investigate whether or not male students are given special preferences in comparison to their female counterparts, encouraging them to continue and pursue their studies beyond K-12 grades.


Session 7 - Rape, Abortion, Marriage, & Culture


She Has the Right: Wrongfully Denying Abortions    
Brittany Coleman, Sarah Sarvepalli, Donna Antonio, Korry Langlois, Sukhmine Shergill, Sharlene Kumar, & Megan Harvey, KPU


In this presentation, we demonstrate the oppressive realities of women who are continuously denied the right to safe, hygienic, and medically approved abortions. This presentation conveys the stories of multiple women who have suffered due to a lack of access to safe abortions procedures, resulting in psychological problems, physical illness, or death. By highlighting their stories, and the harm such circumstances inflict upon women who are frequently forced to find their own dangerous means of proceeding with abortion, we strive to give voice to all women who deserve the right to have access to this medical operation. The presentation seeks to acknowledge the importance of how denial of a woman’s right to safe abortion causes psychological turmoil and life-threatening dangers, depending on the severity of the mother’s anxiety or other circumstantial stressors. These voices and stories suggest that society needs to address the needs of these women, as any postponement causes severe complications in terms of their physical and mental health.


Forced to Unwanted Marriage: Video and Talk    
Nicole Knight, Aidan Hooper, Ajay Gill, Monika Saran, Keighley Pozdikoff, Katelynd Walcott, & Mariah Negrillo-soor, KPU


In this presentation, we explore how individuals, mostly females, are oppressed in the context of the practice of forced marriage. We represent the life-story of Saida through her voice, video, and discussions. Saida’s video testimony depicts her escape from her family and demonstrates for us her lack of choice in the matter and the fact that she was not allowed to pursue her dreams. We want to emphasize the oppression put on young girls by their family and friends that are often framed in cultural terms (our aim is not to demonize any culture, but emphasize how gender relations are framed in light of dominant cultural practices).We will explore both the negative and positive effects of “arranged marriages”.


‘No’ Does Not Mean ‘Convince Me’: Rape Culture in Canadian Workplaces
Jordan Hayward, Political Science, KPU


Canadian women face sexual advances and physical objectification at work every day. This onslaught is the manifestation of rape culture within a professional setting. This essay examines the societal effects of rape culture ideology on women in the workplace. I argue that rape culture at work is an effect resulting from a capitalist economy celebrating masculine traits such as competitiveness and aggression. Because capitalism favours men over women, women are forced into subsidiary positions both in the workplace and socioeconomically. The marginalization of women leads to Canadian culture internalizing sexual crimes against women where only 6% of sexual assault cases, of varying severity, make it to court. Rape culture in Canadian workplaces is an epiphenomenal effect of patriarchy and misogyny in our society that reproduces the gender gap, pushing women further down the socioeconomic ladder.


Session 8 - Experience, Representation, Sexuality,

& Communities of Difference


Experiences of Filipino/a LGBTQ Peoples in Canada: Intersectional Analysis of Identity Construction and Identity-Society Relation
Juan Victor Cortez, Sociology, KPU


This paper contributes to the narrative of Filipino/a LGBTQ peoples in Canada. Specifically, I will be looking at how adult Filipino/a LGBTQ peoples, living in the Lower Mainland, construct their identities as LGBTQ and Filipino/a persons. I will explore their experiences through a structural intersectionality perspective to see how their identities are affected by race, culture, family, class, etc. The purpose of this study is to create a space and discourse that focuses on the experience of Filipino/a LGBTQ peoples in Canada, and to collect valuable information in order to analyze the identity construction of various Filipinos/as who categorize themselves as LGBTQ and live in Canada.


“Prepper & Shooter” Analysis  
Nick Chretien, Sociology, KPU


I will be conducting a discourse analysis/deconstruction of "Prepper & Shooter" magazine. I will be employing a post-structural theoretical lens, specifically, Pierre Bourdieu's concept of cultural capital to examine how "Prepper & Shooter" magazine utilizes "survivalist" knowledge to create and reproduce prefigurative, "prepper" identities, and how this knowledge and these identities are informed by discourses of whiteness and hegemonic masculinity.

Sharing the Voices of the Oppressed of the Transgender Communities Across the World
Arman Bansal, Joshua Frank, Gaganpreet Gill, William Platinga, Harveen Sanghera, & Jaspreet Toor, KPU


This presentation will give voice to the transgendered communities that have endured various forms of systematic oppression around the world. It will do this by publicizing the personal stories of Shiva, the transgender Iranian woman, Caitlyn Jenner, the retired professional athlete, and various other transgendered peoples. It will shed light on the hardships, abuses, acts of violence and terror committed on and experienced by these individuals who belong to the Trans-communities. It will also examine the roles that our society and culture play in silently and blatantly oppressing the Trans-communities. It will expose the various professionals and authorities of society that have failed to uphold the rights of the members of these communities who have been facing dire and oppressive circumstances.


Session 9 - First Nations, Genocide, & the Education System


The Importance of Aboriginal History and Justice in Canadian School Curriculum   
Katie Osborne, Criminology, KPU


Aboriginals are the original inhabitants of Canada and unfortunately they have suffered great adversities due to colonization.  Many hardships such as loss of identity, inequality, and oppression are still felt by Aboriginals today, and sadly many Canadians do not fully understand the negative effects of colonization.  This lack of understanding is created from the absence of education on Aboriginal history and justice in the Canadian school system.  One survey conducted by The Canadian Race Relations Foundations in 2000-2001 concluded that 67% of Canadian students have not discussed issues of concern about Aboriginal Peoples in Canada during their elementary or high school education.  This number is alarmingly high and has not decreased significantly in the recent years.  The power of education is extremely influential and can have substantial impacts on one’s life.  However, for education to be powerful in Canada the curriculum needs to integrate more Aboriginal history and justice teachings.  The knowledge students learn in high school should benefit the individual and society as a whole.  Nonetheless, excluding Aboriginal history from Canadian curriculum is neither beneficial to the individual nor society.  Overall, in Canada the education about Aboriginal people’s history of oppression, assimilation, and exclusion is virtually invisible in high school curriculum and this is unacceptable.


Aboriginal Peoples in Canadian Curriculum   
Katrina Lowood, Criminology, KPU


This research analyzes the extent to which the histories of Aboriginal Peoples are reflected in the Canadian curricula materials and textbooks. I will examine high school textbooks and their approaches to the histories of Aboriginal Peoples. I will argue that Canadian students need to be taught about colonialism and its effects on Aboriginal Peoples by, for example, exploring the historical and contemporary consequences of the Indian Act. Most Canadian history textbooks describe colonialism as a positive and necessary process for making Canada what it is today; however, such a construction neglects and silences the hardships that Aboriginal Peoples have faced in Canada. Lack of critical approaches to the history and effects of Residential Schools in Canada is a good example of how the curriculum and textbooks silence the histories of Aboriginal peoples in this country. Since many Canadian lack knowledge about the racist and assimilationist aspects of Residential Schools, there is a need for a reformulation of the education system making it more inclusive of the historical memories of Aboriginal peoples. I will explore and examine a number of curriculum reforms that could be implemented in the education system in Canada to better inform Canadian citizens of the history of their land.


Silencing Genocide in Society and Within the Education System    
Camilla Daoud, Sociology, KPU


This paper offers a historical account of various examples of genocide and how these genocidal policies and events have been silenced in various school curricula around the world. I examine the ideological reasons behind the silencing of genocide in school textbooks. I ask who determines to silence knowledge about certain forms of genocides and not others and why. I also discuss why it is important to offer critical reflections about all groups and individuals who have been negatively affected by genocide in school curricula. This paper offers an overview of the Armenia genocide and why this particular genocide has been silenced and not included as part of school curricula in various parts of the world. Such a silencing points of the ideological and selective nature of knowledge.


Education, Settlers, and Residential Schools in Canada

Gurveen Bamrah, Psychology & Sociology, KPU


My presentation will focus on how a western conceptualization of education has impacted the education system in Canada by exploring what European settlers have been taught in schools about residential schools. I argue that Western education system has instilled imperialist attitudes and values as part of the education of European settlers and has provided Aboriginal children with an unequal education. The educational system is very Eurocentric due to the fact that Canada is a colonized country and has instilled Eurocentric policies into the system. I will analyse three elements that explain how western education has managed to thrive in Canada. The first is by analysing what the European settlers were taught in school about the Aboriginal Peoples. Second, I will look at what the Aboriginal children were taught in the residential schools; and third, what the overall outcome of contemporary education is in Canada, and how all these factors have resulted in the prominence of western education and how it has resulted in the ‘othering’ of the Aboriginal Peoples.


Session 10 - Disability, Work, Education, & Hollywood


Employment Education    
Melissa Kramer, Sociology, KPU


This paper focuses on the government funded educational employment programs available for individuals with developmental disabilities.  The paper will review the barriers individuals with disabilities face when pursuing employment.  It will critically look at the different ways these program in Canada and the United States aim to educate people, determine what style of programs have the most success, and which programs lead to long term success. The paper evaluates whether or not government funded employment programs for people with developmental disabilities provide enough training and education to allow individuals to find lasting employment. I ask what styles of programs are most successful and whether or not training for an employment consultant affects the desired outcomes of long-term employment.  Long-term employment is defined as maintaining employment for over a year on a part time basis.  There are many different styles of programs, however, the paper will argue that supported employment programs are the most beneficial style of program that could be offered.  Supported employment programs offer support and guidance to individuals to find meaningful and successful employment. These programs also stay with the individual while they are employed in case any issues or concerns come up.  Supported employment programs often help people with job coaching and finding a job that they are excited and passionate about. Supported employment programs typically have the most success because when an issue comes up that an individual needs help dealing with, an employment consultant is there to support and assist individuals with disabilities with those issues. The paper concludes that although funding is constantly changing within this field, it is important for organizations offering employment programs to support individual’s long term to ensure success and equal opportunities.


Disability Action Movement Now! - D.A.M.N.!   
Catherine Kruger and D.A.M.N.! Collective members

Disability Action Movement Now! (D.A.M.N.!) is KPU-based, student-run action group that was founded in June 2015 by several students with disabilities who sought an outlet for positive change on campus for students of all abilities. With the support of the President’s Diversity & Equity Committee (PDEC), KPU faculty, KPIRG, and the KSA via the Student Rights Centre and Disability constituency representative, D.A.M.N.! aims to raise consciousness among all KPU students regarding the barriers to the access faced by persons with disabilities on campus. D.A.M.N.! is also pushing KPU to expand, improve, and guarantee services to persons with disabilities. Like similar student groups across Canada, such as Students United for Disability Support, or SUDS, an SFSS constituency group, D.A.M.N.! is part of a broader movement with local urgency and glaring relevance. And we are growing. We are issuing a call-out to all budding student researchers who wish to participate in our current research project centred on accessibility on campus. Through our collaborative research report, we will be crafting a policy proposal that we will be submitting to PDEC. This is your opportunity to produce knowledge and engage in praxis, or sociopolitical action. Contact us at damn@kpirg.ca


Representations of Disability in Hollywood Movies    
Neelam Atwal, KPU


In our society, people with disabilities have continued to face discrimination and stereotypes which has resulted in their alienation and marginalization in society. The mass media presents us with ideas about and representations of the world and influences us as social actors in terms of “what we consider good or bad, positive or negative, moral or evil” (Kellner, 2003). The media depicts people with disability in various ways, as super heroes, villains, or someone whom we should pity. In this study, I will focus on the stereotypical portrayals of people with disabilities in Hollywood Films. I will analyze three films that portray individuals with disability. I will discuss these films by references to available research that have analyzed movies that are about people with disability, or portray people with disability.


Physical Disability, Accessibility, and Dependence

David Hicks, Chelsea Schulz, Amrit Minhas, Zainab Chandel, & Jasmine Randhawa, KPU


This presentation focuses on the effects of physical disabilities and how they lead to oppression. We will discuss the impacts of physical disability in light of issues of accessibility and dependence. The topics of early childhood and the psychological effects of growing up with disability will be touched upon. We will also expand on the differences between physical and mental disability.


Session 11 - Racism & Genocide


Racism: Past and Present    
Shannon Watson, Summer Goodwin, Kari Gfrerer, Delaney Vandenberg, Parmvir Johal, Evan Rozon, Navleen Walia, & Young Zhou, KPU


This presentation will focus on the oppression of African-Americans. We will be looking at how this racialized group has fought for equal rights in the United States. We will explore the extent to which African-Americans continue to face racism. Our presentation will speak to how the victims of oppression have felt, how they have resisted oppression, and have made major changes in society.


Racism and Hate Crimes    
Selina Mahal, Gagan Nahal, Chelsea Blackwell, Stefano Mastromonaco, Levi Legroulx, & Sabreena Suri, KPU


Racism is a well- known problem all around the world. Although over time racism has decreased significantly, it still exists and is expressed in new forms that most people seem to be unaware of. We will be looking at various experiences of hate crimes and the effects they can have on their victims. Racism is often hard to end as it is accompanied by deep-seated ways of thinking, especially when individuals do not view racism as a form of oppression. We also need to become cognizant of individual forms of racism, despite the effects of structural and systemic forms of discrimination.


My Mother’s Light   
Lenée Son, Journalism/Sociology, KPU


From 1975 to 1979, Cambodia was taken over by radical Khmer Rouge Communists led by Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouge regime sought to enforce a form of agrarian socialist society and “purify” the country by eliminating all Western and traditional influences. The brutal regime also targeted all influential people for execution. Political and military leaders of the former regime, religious leaders, academics, celebrities, minority groups such as the Cham Muslims, and their families were all eliminated. During Pol Pot’s reign in Cambodia, an estimate of three million people died. The Khmer Rouge carried out forced relocations of large populations from urban centres, mass executions, forced labour, and torture. Many Cambodians also died from malnutrition. To date, 20, 000 mass graves have been uncovered. As with many other Cambodians, my mother lost many family members during the genocide. Her father, my grandfather, was the first person to be taken away. My mother immigrated to Vancouver, B.C. in 1983 after escaping the Khmer Rouge genocide in her native Cambodia and living in a refugee camp in Thailand for several years. Originally published on Multimedia Photojournale, My Mother’s Light is a multimedia photo story of survival, transgenerational trauma, and empowerment. Despite being born in Canada, I have been greatly influenced by my mother and her past. In My Mother’s Light, I explore how my mother’s history and strength have shaped my identity as a second-generation survivor of genocide.


The Reality of the Holocaust   
Dapinder Pooni, Nathan Ram, Sukhraj Takhar, & Maxwell Le, KPU


In our presentation, we represent the experiences of Jewish people through their voices and explore how they were oppressed. We will focus on the ways Jewish people were treated and how they experienced life in the ghettos and concentration camps. The objective for our group is to familiarize the audience with the Holocaust and to contextualize how Jewish people viewed and experienced World War II. We plan to do this through a short film, so it is easier for the viewers to visualize and put into perspective how badly the Jewish people were being oppressed during this time. We will play the roles of various groups, ranging from German SS officers, Jewish family members, and Jewish prisoners. We hope that this visual presentation will provide the audience with a space to reflect on the effects of violence and how the lives of ordinary people were disrupted and changed forever.


Session 12 - Media & Space in the Reproduction of Capitalism


Gentrification and Neoliberalism
Fraser Readman, Sociology, KPU

Vancouver is known as one of the most liveable cities in the world; however, for many people currently residing in the city and its surrounding municipalities, the cost of buying a house has been climbing more and more out of reach, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping.  For the younger generations, the prospects of owning property are extremely slim.  The city of Vancouver claims to be attempting to address this issue by creating initiatives to build more affordable housing, adjusting existing regulations so that smaller, more cost-effective dwellings can be built in Vancouver for younger Vancouverites.  The purpose of my research is to analyze the ways in which the City of Vancouver proposes to create affordable housing, and through a sociological lens, discover to what extent neoliberal ideologies inform Vancouver’s municipal policies surrounding property ownership, property rental, zoning and land use, housing quality standards and homelessness. I will pose the question: do these policies, rather than make the city more affordable, actually contribute to the increasing unaffordability of housing in Vancouver? Using Critical Discourse Analysis, I will look closely at the language used in City policies, comparing the ideas and assumptions that make up the policies to ideas that inform neoliberal housing frameworks, such as Solly Angel’s “Urban Expansion Initiative”, which believe that housing is, and always will be, a tradable market commodity, rather than a universal human right.


Power Structures of Gentrification
Aaron Philip, Criminology/Political Science, KPU


This paper provides a powerful case for the efficacy of legal geography as a perspective for criminologists and city planners by applying the theory to the phenomena of gentrification. Legal geography is rooted in critical Marxist theory and the works of Henri Lefebrvre, who sought to draw attention to the physical spaces of the city and how they are used. My work begins with an explanation of the Legal geography perspective, highlighting the intimate and casual relationship between space and power. The role of State power in the gentrification of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 FIFA World Cup will be examined, as well as the narratives constructed to morally justify displacement. Over the course of the presentation, it will become clear how the legal geography perspective can be used to help eliminate peripheral factors and focus on the most important facet of the city: space. Finally the presentation will conclude with an examination of how the legal geography perspective can be used to resist gentrification.


Classism in the Avengers: A Media Analysis of Dominant Ideology
Angela Giesbrecht, Psychology/Sociology, KPU


“Classism in The Avengers: A Media Analysis of Dominant Ideology” addresses how classism in the Avengers is conveyed and promotes capitalism. The Avengers primarily represents the upper class, the rich, influential one percent of the American population. The upper-upper class, “old money”, who inherited their wealth from their “prominent” families (Kendall, 2011, p.51-52) are represented by Tony Stark, Thor, Loki, and the S.H.I.E.L.D council members. The majority of the Avengers are in the upper-middle class, who with higher education “earn incomes far above the national average” (Kendall, 2011, p. 52) such as Dr. Bruce Banner and Nick Furry. Steven Rogers, Natasha Romanoff and Clinton Barton, Avengers in the upper-middle class, promote that the American Dream is achievable through the “emulation” framework (Kendall, 2011, p. 52, 40). The Avengers focuses on the upper-class to reinforce

that capitalism benefits everyone, failing to address the external uncontrollable factors in capitalism that affect those in middle and lower classes negatively. The middle class, those with less higher education (Kendall, 2011, p.52) are only represented by the S.H.I.E.L.D aircraft operators, and the bystanders in the news. Loki and the Avengers are mainly interested in associating with and saving the upper-class, respectively. Further, The Avengers promote capitalism as the only legitimate system through its “end-of-the-world disaster narratives” (Carleton, 2013). Tony Stark, normalizes and personifies capitalism using the “price-tag” framework to promote consumer capitalism. The upper class (aka the dominant capitalist class), are proven to have a right to their position and agency through class stereotypes incorporated into the interactions between the Avengers and the middle class. In comic books, superheroes shifted from expressing positive to negative liberty. Since these trusted superheroes do not deal with societal institutions or the status quo, they fail to address class inequalities that societal institutions create while maintaining capitalism.


Children and Consumerism

Chelsea Finskars, Sociology, KPU


This research focuses on how consumerism affects children and the way they see themselves. I will examine advertisements as well as films and television shows in order to determine the types of consumerism that young children are exposed to. I will explore the extent to which the media has influenced the rise of consumerism in society and among children. I will examine the extent to which the media through its emphasis on consumerism has affected children’s conceptions of their bodies.


Session 13 – Intersections of Gender, Sexuality, Race, Media, & Education


Who is Bottom? The Examination of Gay Asian Males in the Gay Community in New York; Imposed Feminization, Submissiveness, and the “Oriental” Stereotype
Juan Victor Cortez, Sociology, KPU


This study aims to explore the experiences of gay Asian males living in North America, and specifically looking at their relationship with the dominant gay male group within the gay community. The paper will further explore this relationship in terms of the dominant group’s treatment and perspective of gay Asian males. Lastly, the paper will examine the extent to which the discourse of Orientalism has influenced the views about non-western gay individuals among Euro-gay community members. It will analyze how the tenets of this theory has lent itself to create a discriminatory and racialized view of gay Asian males within the gay community.


Superficial Frontier Reflections: Hipster Lumbersexuals, Hegemonic Masculinity, and the Performance of Whiteness
Nick Chretien, Sociology, KPU


The hipster was a jazz age construction, defined by gendered and racialized hierarchies. Contemporary perceptions of the term “hipster” are mostly disassociated from its jazz age connotations, but the same social-historical narratives continue to inform its construction. The contemporary manifestation of hipster masculinity, often referred to as the "Lumbersexual", is predicated upon mytho-poetic hyper-masculinities, and the performance of whiteness. These aspects of Lumbersexual hipster identity are somewhat limited by fragmented, ironic performances, but still remain pertinent as they belong to a social milieu framed around hetero-patriarchal capitalism.


A Feminist Analysis of Women in Philosophy
Kari Michaels, Philosophy, KPU


In my presentation I will use a critical feminist lens to analyse data that shows the lack of representation of women in academia, in particular how they are disproportionately underrepresented in philosophy programs (from undergraduate to graduate levels). I will also review the educational issues that arise because of this lack of representation. I will present a critical perspective on some compelling arguments for why women are underrepresented in philosophy. I will focus in particular on issues with labelling and stereotyping in the classroom which lead to fewer women pursuing studies and careers in philosophy. I will also examine the problem of legitimizing western knowledge in the curriculum as a way of excluding women’s contributions to the canon. Finally, from a critical perspective, I will present some of the solutions that have been put forward to address the problem of gender diversity in philosophy. These solutions include equitable hiring policies, broader curriculums, and feminist pedagogical practices that aim at redefining philosophy altogether.


Education of the Dalit Caste: Inequalities and Solutions

Ryan S. Gossal, Criminology & Sociology, KPU


The Dalit caste also known as the Untouchables has been discriminated against in India for generations. Their members are seen as less than human, and are subjected to degrading jobs in society. My research is focused on India’s various state policies in regards to the Untouchables caste in that country. I will examine how these policies are implemented in two states, and critically evaluate programs that attempt to address the educational inequalities faced by the members of this cast. The policies that have been implemented deal mainly with employment and education, which have improved the status of Dalit’s members in India.


Session 14: The Amazon Field School: A Panel Discussion


The Amazon as Interdisciplinary Teacher   
Lee Beavington, Lucie Gagne, Connell Green, Elina Gress, Lisa King, & C. Merry McMullen, KPU


The Amazon is a rich cauldron of cultural, geographical and biological diversity. Students in KPU’s Interdisciplinary Amazon Field School participate in a multitude of hands-on creative workshops, cultural experiences, and immersions in nature, which invigorate their studies with a renewed depth, purpose, and global awareness. In this interactive panel presentation, Amazon Field School alumni will address multidisciplinary approaches to de-colonizing knowledge and alternative viewpoints and ways of knowing, based on their time in the rainforest and with the people who’ve lived there for thousands of years. Our questions include:

1. How can an interdisciplinary approach catalyze and expand our learning?

2. How can aboriginal ways of knowing inform a holistic, ecocentric, and sustainable worldview?

3. What is the best way to conceive of integrating the ecological, creative, and cultural traditions within the context of an epistemic, social, philosophical, and pedagogical inquiry?

4. How does mindfulness in nature heighten our awareness and efficacy in teaching and learning?

5. How can increased access to the internet enable some tribal groups to better coordinate their lives and political activities?

6. In what ways can immersive and place-based education promote not only a reconnection with the natural world, but a vital way to remarry science and philosophy by avoiding ontological reversal, where the model takes on more importance than the object under study?

7. What ontological innovations occur with a primary sense of mutuality and interdependence (ecocentrism) rather than our modern anthropocentric perspective?

We will argue that the Amazon rainforest serves as a profound teacher of creativity, ecology and philosophy, and share our research that integrates aboriginal, artistic, and scientific scholarship.


Session 15 - Doing Sociology, Teaching Disability


Doing Sociology, Teaching Disability (Sociology 2280: Health, Disability & Society class)  
Chair: Dr. Fiona Whittington-Walsh, KPU                                                                                        


This session presents a series of video’s that KPU sociology students (SOCI 2280: Health & Disability), did in collaboration with the Disability non-profit organization, Pos-Abilities, Langley. Pos-Abilities approached KPU students to document their annual Try on a Disability Challenge where public personalities such as the Mayor of Langley, Ted Schaffer, and the President of KPU, Dr. Alan Davis, were filmed using a wheelchair for four hours during a typical working day. The goal of this project was to raise awareness about accessibility issues and to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in every aspect of our social world.