Social Inclusion

social inclusion

The impact of recent and rapid change on societies, cultures, languages, and values is evident every day. Events and migrations unfolding worldwide have and will alter our societies irrevocably. The Society theme encompasses issues that affect populations and communities locally, nationally, and globally. By utilizing various branches of knowledge, research in this area will increase our understanding of cultural evolution and societal change by facilitating the examination of cultural and social policy. KPU is engaged in scholarship that informs one’s ability to manage change for future benefit. Research in this area will allow for analyzing and synthesizing information in innovative and creative ways to empower life-changing ideas. KPU’s large Faculty of Arts, with degree programs in disciplines such as English, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and criminology anchors research in this theme. Students are significantly involved through research assistantships and honours degrees.

Some research and community engagement highlights include: the National Refugee and Resettlement Conference; Connecting Minds Conference; the International Teaching of Psychology Conference; the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference; Northwest Cognition and Memory Conference; and many in-house research conferences. KPU has also been instrumental in providing a safe haven to writers and artists at risk in its partnership in International Cities of Refuge Network through the City of Surrey. KPU is also home to innovative projects: ‘The Visual Media Workshop’ project in Journalism and Communication Studies, a SSHRC-funded Indigenous burlesque project, the Social Justice Centre, an initiative focused on developing an umbrella organization and local incubator for community advocacy and civic change, KPU’s film journal, Mise-en-scène.

KPU hosts a new Tier 2 CRC in the area of South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies. KPU has three campuses in Surrey. Surrey is home to the second largest concentration of South Asian Canadians (SACs) with over 30% of the population identifying themselves as of South Asian heritage. Cities within KPU’s catchment area also have a sizeable population of South Asian Canadians. For example, 25% in Abbotsford, 7% in Richmond, and 8% in Burnaby identify themselves as SAC. The CRC in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies examines the contributions of South Asian Canadian writers and filmmakers from 1910 to 2010, an under-examined yet significant area of Canadian cultural production. This ongoing research will raise awareness about how these artists have fostered a just and empathetic Canadian society. Using an intersectional social justice and critical hope framework, the Chair analyzes literary and visual texts to establish theories of interpreting creative expressions as sites of socio-political change and activism. Outcomes include a monograph, a multilingual literature anthology, community engagement events, and an open-access digital portal.

Areas of research focus include: South Asian literary and cultural studies, Indigenous community development, South Asian community development, positive psychology, cognitive psychology, addictions research, safe communities, criminology, and urban design. Research strengths include the studies on protective factors that steer at-risk youth away from gangs and crimes. KPU also hosts a Tier 2 CRC (now in its second term) in the area of lifespan cognition, within cognitive psychology.