Category Archives: news

Susan Pfeiffer Receives JJ Berry Smith Supervision Award

We are thrilled to announce Dr. Susan Pfeiffer is the recipient of the JJ Berry Smith Supervision Award. Susan has taught in the Department of Anthropology since 1999. During that time, she has supervised 12 PhD and 21 Master’s students. A “strong advocate for graduate students,” Susan has been praised for being an academic “known for her integrity” whose own work with human remains and the sensitive intersections between history and identity affirm “her commitment to the interwoven concerns of both science and humanism.” In the words of twelve former students, “Susan has had a profound impact on her advisees by fostering a strong, collaborative, and challenging academic community; setting high standards and pushing [her students] to address important questions; and demonstrating impeccable ethics in a field fraught with political implications.”

Recipients received a JJ Berry Smith Supervisory Award Certificate, their name on a plaque housed at the School of Graduate Studies, as well as a SGS Conference or Travel Grant to be awarded by the recipient to support a current doctoral student.

Congratulations, Susan!

Victoria Sheldon & Aleksa Alaica receive 2017-18 TA Award

Congratulations to Victoria Sheldon and Aleksa Alaica, whose nominations for the 2017-18 departmental TA Award were both successful.

In recognition of her contributions to the STEP program, Aleksa helped undergraduate students pursue their academic and career goals, connecting them with professional archaeologists and anthropologists.

Victoria designed realizable goals, provided superior feedback on essays and assignments, and nurtured enthusiasm to try new things in the classroom. She achieved high standards while being a TA in an astonishing six courses.

Students of Anthropology: Hazel Stuart and the Indigenous Peoples of Papua New Guinea


A new artifact display was unveiled at the Department of Anthropology building on the St. George Campus this month. Students of Anthropology: Hazel Stuart and the Indigenous Peoples of Papua New Guinea, located on the third floor of building, presents a selection of artifacts and travel ephemera recently donated to the Department by Hazel Stuart. Stuart, at the time a recent anthropology graduate of the University of Western Ontario, volunteered at a Papua New Guinea high school from 1973 to 1975. She donated her collection to the University of Toronto for it to be used by students and publicly displayed.

The display explores the social, economic, and spiritual climates of Papua New Guinea in the 1970s, as well as the process of collecting and the work of anthropologists, through the Indigenous cultural objects and travel ephemera collected by Stuart with assistance from her friend Donna Chowder.

The display was curated and constructed by graduate students Madison Stirling and Emily Welsh of the University of Toronto’s Master of Museum Studies Program in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology. The project was funded by the Faculty of Information and the Department of Anthropology.

Madison Laurin Wins Richard B. Lee Award

Congratulations to Madison Laurin, the 2017 recipient of the Richard B. Lee award for her essay, “The Everyday Study of Resource Politics,” written for ANT 486H1S: Special Topics: Socio-Cultural Research Seminar: Politics of Resources: Accumulation, Agency and Nature under Contemporary Capitalism. The Awards Committee appreciated the critical review of the pertinent literature, and the ethnographic case-studies (Ontario, Hawai’i and Standing Rock) demonstrated the politics of refusal demands consideration in interpreting indigenous responses to corporate policies and resource extraction. The Committee also commended the clear and engaging writing style.

Max Friesen & Bence Viola Awarded SSHRC Insight Grants

Richard B. Lee Named to Order of Canada

Irv and Richard at SAfA in Toronto June 2012
Richard B Lee (right) with Irv DeVore at the Kalahari Reflections Event held at U of T in June 2012. Photo is courtesy Alison Brooks.

Congratulations to Prof. Emeritus Richard B. Lee! He was recently named as an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of science. For a list of the other 100 appointees, see

Mehran Shamit Wins Richard B. Lee Award

Congratulations to Mehran Shamit, winner of the 2016 Richard B. Lee Award for her essay “Rethinking Microcredit and Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.” The Awards Committee felt that this essay, written for ANT 374H (Rethinking Development or the Improvement of the World) stood out as a rigorously researched review of the politics of microcredit and development in Bangladesh.  The committee also commended the clear writing style and cited it as a fine example of the best undergraduate research in anthropology.

Honourable Mention was awarded to Anna Shortly for her essay “Board Proposals, Bingo, and a Band: Strength in Numbers at the University of Toronto Students’ Union’s Annual General Meeting.” This paper was written for Prof. Tania Li’s course, ANT473H (Ethnographic Practicum: The University).
The Awards Committee felt that this essay stood out as a lively and original ethnographic analysis of university student politics.

Pedagogies for Water Justice Around the Great Lakes

Paul Baines (Great Lakes Commons) and Prof. Bonnie McElhinny co-hosted a video campfire in late November, 2016 on teaching about water and social justice around the Great Lakes. The video can be viewed at They asked people who teach about water in a range of sites – universities, community-based organizations, schools – to share their thoughts on 3 questions: what they are doing now, a resource or project they have been wanting to do, and some ideas for linking people around the Great Lakes. Coming soon: a list of resources recommended by the participants……

Terrific list of participants included:

Paul Baines, Great Lakes Commons, Outreach and Education coordinator. Paul leaped into the GLC work after reading ‘Our Great Lakes Commons: a peoples plan to protect the Great Lakes forever’ and then founded the Great Lakes Commons Map in 2012 to crowdsource people’s worry and wisdom for water health through data, discussion and story. He comes to this water reconciliation work with a background in critical pedagogy, democratic media, and environmental and cultural studies. He just finished a 5 month tour of the Great Lakes connecting people, issues, and perspectives.

Sheila Boudreau is a landscape architect and urban designer at the City of Toronto, with over twenty years professional experience in both the public and private sectors. She represents the OALA on the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Steering Committee, and acts as an advisor for Ryerson Urban Water courses related to blue/green infrastructure. She recently organized a weekend-long hack-a-thon for over 70+ students in Toronto, in which interdisciplinary teams designed innovative contributions to blue/green infrastructure in an intensive weekend of workshops, talks and social events.

Marcie Cunningham is a partner in CGC Educational Communications. She and her partner John Gregory are working on several water literacy projects, two of which were created for the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) and are rolling out across the province. The OneWater program, operating in over 20 school boards, brings local water operators into the Grade 8 classrooms to work with students to explore local water, both clean and wastewater, and their personal responsibilities to “treat our water well.” As an adjunct to that program CGC has created The Changing Great Lakes, a program focused on the geography and art curriculum, which engages students in their local watershed to develop an understanding of the affect that climate change is having on our Great Lakes. A range of activities, from a field trip encompassing “a Portrait of the Shoreline,” to innovating local solutions to climate change adaptation in their homes, schools and communities gives students an opportunity to get tangibly engaged in the Great Lakes’ issues. This program is currently in pilot test in several Ontario classrooms.

Stephen P. Gasteyer is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. Dr. Gasteyer’s research focuses on the nexus between water, land, community development. Specifically, his research currently addresses: 1) community capacity development and civic engagement through leadership training; 2) the political and social processes that enable or hinder community access to water and land resources, specifically (but not exclusively) in rural communities; 3) the class and race effects of access to basic services (water, sanitation, food, health care); 4) community capacity, community resilience and water systems management; 5) the impacts of greening in economically depressed small cities; 6) the community aspects of bioenergy development; 7) international social movements and community rights to basic services; and 8) facilitating cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary partnerships to address water and land resources management.

Rachel Havrelock is Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line (University of Chicago Press, 2011). After writing about how the conflicted borders of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict formed and congealed in Palestinian and Israeli cultures for River Jordan, Rachel became invested in water sharing as an approach to Middle East peacemaking. Havrelock’s current book project, Pipeline: How Oil Created the Modern Middle East and How Water Can Transform It, chronicles the role of oil extraction and infrastructure in the militarization of the Middle East and suggests how regional water management could transform the landscape. In addition to the Middle East, Rachel’s work addresses the Great Lakes as a transborder water system both abundant and imperiled. She has been awarded a Global Midwest grant from the Mellon Foundation in order to explore the common challenges of international transborder water systems; she is developing a web-site on water and the environmental humanities.

Deborah McGregor is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair Indigenous Environmental Justice. Her research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, forest policy and management, and sustainable development. She is currently involved in three more: “Indigenous Knowledge Transfer in Urban Aboriginal Communities” with Professor Kim Anderson (Wilfred Laurier University); “Maple Syrup, Climate Change and Resilience: A Longitudinal Study” with Professor Brenda Murphy (Wilfred Laurier University); and “Exploring Distinct Indigenous Knowledge Systems to Inform Fisheries Governance and Management on Canada’s Coasts” with Professor Lucia Fanning (Dalhousie University).

Bonnie McElhinny is associate professor of anthropology and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto. She teaches courses and does research on water, anti-racist, feminist and de-colonial approaches to place, migration and multiculturalism, and language and social justice. Her most recent co-edited book was Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility; she has written on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Her course Living at the Water’s Edge in Toronto, was cited out as one of 14 innovative pedagogical initiatives at U of T for building connections with community partners. Singled out for particular attention was a partnership with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW), in which first year students participated in a pilot project for collecting watermark stories. She has also taken students to Hawai’I to engage in land and water restoration projects, in a course on critiques of multiculturalism and settler colonialism. This year, she again partnered with LOW at the Great Lakes Public Forum; 40 students gathered over 150 watermark stories from participants. This work was featured in an article in the Great Lakes Connection (newsletter of the International Joint Commission) which went out out to 17,000 stakeholders interested in transforming the Great Lakes.

Elizabeth Miller is an independent documentary maker, trans-media artist, and professor at Concordia University. She is interested in new approaches to community collaborations and the documentary format and my work connects personal stories to larger social concerns. My new project, The Shore Line, is in interactive documentary looking at the tensions between unchecked development and climate change on coastal towns and cities around the world. Her film Hands-on: women, climate, change profiles five women from four continents tacking climate change through policy, protest, education and innovation. She developed the film in collaboration with directors from Kenya, India, Norway and Canada, all IAWRT (International Association of Women in Radio and Film) members. Her documentary film The Water Front (2007) brings the controversial issue of water privatization in Michigan to the larger public.

Andrea Most is Professor of American Literature and Jewish Studies in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. She teaches and conducts research in the areas of modern American literature and culture, Jewish cultural studies, the environmental humanities, food studies, theatre and performance. Selected as a Jackman Humanities Institute Faculty Fellow on the special theme of Food for 2012-13, Prof. Most continues to conduct research on the relationship between Jews, Judaism and agriculture in the modern era, with a special focus on the contemporary Jewish food movement. She works as a co-founder and designer of Bela Farm, a centre for land-based Judaism in Southwestern Ontario and as an activist in the Jewish food movement both locally and internationally. Prof. Most’s current research and teaching focus broadly on the crucial role of the humanities in confronting environmental crisis. As part of this initiative, this year she will be completing an ecocritical memoir entitled A Pain in the Neck and developing a new experiential pedagogy for teaching in the environmental humanities.

Alexandra Thompson is a Lecturer at Lakehead University. Alex Thomson was born in Toronto and has spent much of her formative years in north central Ontario, including the coniferous forests on Anishnaabe territory near Sudbury and Temagami, Ont. She has been a canoe guide, outdoor education instructor, and workshop facilitator. Alex teaches many sections of the required course Aboriginal Education, EDUC 4416 and the elective Outdoor Experiential Ecological Education. She enjoys learning about the forest, ecosystems and waterways of the Orillia area. Alex is studying to become an naturalist through the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. She completed a Masters Degree at Trent University in Canadian and Indigenous Studies, a B.A. in Social Justice Studies at McGill University and a B.Ed. from Lakehead in Thunder Bay Intermediate/Senior with teachables in Native Studies and Outdoor Experiential Ecological Education.

Krystyn Tully is vice president and co-founder of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Krystyn Tully has been organizing community events and organizations since her days as a high school student in Oshawa, Ontario. Since co-founding Lake Ontario Waterkeeper with Mark Mattson in 2001, Tully has written or edited more than 400 articles about water and environmental policy. She has appeared before numerous municipal, provincial, and federal government committees. For four years, she coordinated a mentoring program that connected aspiring lawyers with communities facing environmental challenges. For two years, she was editor and co-host of a weekly radio program. In 2012, she wrote a series of features on beaches for blogTO and became a regular contributor to Huffington Post. Through Ryerson University’s part-time degree program, Tully has received extensive education in Public Administration and Governance, with a specialization in nonprofit sector management. She was profiled in NOW Magazine’s “Class Action” feature in October, 2012.

Marie Wee is an undergraduate student in women and gender studies/equity studies. She is taking a course with Dr. McElhinny on water and social justice issues, and will offer an undergraduate student’s perspective on pedagogical needs and projects.

Bricoleur Call for Submissions

The Bricoleur

Volume 1: Call for Submissions

The Bricoleur is a new periodical published by graduate students in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. We publish innovative work from contributors worldwide in an accessible format, bringing anthropological conversations into the public domain. We welcome diverse, multi-media submissions from all sub-fields of the discipline.

The editorial board is now inviting submissions that speak to our inaugural theme: “emergence”. The following questions may be helpful in guiding your submissions, but please feel free to propose other interpretations of this theme:

  • Does your work involve an emerging technology or method?

  • Does your research engage with emerging social formations?

  • Did you encounter novel challenges during your fieldwork work that encouraged you to take your research in a new or unexpected direction?

  • Are unexpected findings emerging from ongoing archaeological excavation?

  • What material grounds allow (or prevent) something to emerge?

  • What are the ethical or political stakes of working with emergent forces, materials, or methods?

  • How can we trace or problematize the etymology of ‘emergence’, or, more simply, what does it mean to ‘emerge’?

  • Is your research on the forefront of emerging theoretical trends in anthropology?

We accept text, photographic, video, and audio submissions. Please send us a 250 word abstract or proposal that outlines what your submission intends to discuss or show. The editorial board reviews all submissions and works with authors and content-creators to establish guidelines for submission length and format. Submissions may be tied to existing research or to theoretical and methodological explorations (including future research directions).

We have a full peer-review process in place for scholarly submissions, but we also welcome submissions that provide commentary on emerging public issues, which will be posted to our blog.

For more information, visit our website,, where you’ll find detailed submission guidelines as well as example submissions.

Unsure if your work fits within this theme?  Wondering if your research can be published on our platform?  Please contact us at