Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference

Established in 2008 our Annual Graduate Research Conference is now recognized as a premier inter-university forum for graduate students in the field of ethnic studies to come and present their work. We attract a great number of proposals from various universities, not just in Canada but also the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The main purpose of our conference is to provide graduate students with an opportunity to present their work in a professional yet convivial atmosphere in preparation for more formal settings.

Every year we are very fortunate to have a dedicated group of graduate faculty members who serve as discussants, and prepare thorough and insightful comments for each paper submitted. Our conference thus provides valuable feedback to those seeking publication of their research.

The conference is organized with the help of a committee of students from the Collaborative Program in Ethnic and Pluralism Studies. These students are often themselves presenters at the conference, and also serve as session chairs and timekeepers.

Detailed summary of the 7th Annual Conference (January 2014) available here.

Detailed summary of the 8th Annual Conference (January 2015) available here

Detailed summary of the 9th Annual Conference (January 2016) available here

We also invite some of the most prominent and exciting scholars in ethnicity to be our keynote speaker on the first day of the conference. Past speakers have included: 2011 – Mary Waters (Harvard University), 2012 – Richard Alba (City University of New York) , 2013 – Jennifer Lee (University of California, Irvine), 2014 – Barrington Walker (Queen’s University), 2015 John Borrows (University of British Columbia) and 2016 – Ayesha Chaudhry (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study, Harvard University).

Mary C. Waters Richard Alba  Jennifer LeeBarrington Walker John Borrows (2)cropped-Ayesha_LR1


10th annual eps Graduate Research Conference January 26-27, 2017: Special Anniversary event









Our 10th Annual Graduate Research Conference was held on January 26 and 27, 2017 at the Munk School of Global Affairs (Observatory Site, 315 Bloor Street West).

We listened to 23 presenters for the scheduled 7 thematic sessions and were particularly pleased to welcome three overseas participants (from Germany, Brasil and Sudan). With a keynote lecture on Day 1 and a special alumni session on Day 2, this was indeed a memorable event worthy of our tenth anniversary. We would like to thank all of the participants, presenters, speakers, discussants, session chairs, and of course, our student conference committee,

Here are some details and photos from the conference (click to enlarge photos).

Thursday January 26, 2017
9:00-9:05am             Opening remarks
9:05-10:35am           Session 1 “Nationalism and Representation”

Discussant: Prof. Robert Austin (History, University of Toronto)
Chair: Joanna Cotarlea (University of Toronto, CERES, MA program)
Duygu Gul Kaya (York University, Sociology, PhD program): Diaspora and Memory Practices: Remembering the Armenian Genocide in Canada
Cristina Stoica (University of Toronto, CERES, MA program): A Case Study of the Szekely Community in Transylvania: Will Self-determination Result in Territorial Autonomy?
Brittany Witham (University of Toronto, CERES, MA program): Ultranationalists in European Parliament: The Case of Jobbik
Suzanne Van Geuns (University of Toronto, Department for the Study of Religion, PhD program): Mirroring Multiculturalism: White Nationalist Religious Remembrance

10:40am-12:00pm   Session 2 “Religion and Integration”

Discussant: Dr. Jing Shen (Sociology, MZES, University of Mannheim)
Chair: Helen Mo (University of Toronto, Study of Religion, PhD. program)
Beesan Sarrouh (Queen’s University, Political Studies, PhD program): Accommodating Muslim Minorities in Secular Societies: Public Education in England, Scotland, Ontario, and Quebec
André Paes (Methodist University of Sao Paulo – Brazil, Religious Studies, PhD program): Brazilian Diaspora and Brazilian Baptist Churches in Greater Toronto Area
Lucy El-Sherif (University of Toronto, OISE, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, PhD program): Unpacking Islamo-racism scholarship in Canada

1:00-3:00pm              Keynote lecture “Reflections on Belonging and Inclusion”  (see details below)

3:10-4:40pm              Session 3 “Temporary Workers and Precarious Labor”

Discussant: Prof. Luin Goldring (Sociology, York University)
Chair: Dirk Rodricks (University of Toronto, CTL, OISE, PhD program)
Paul Pritchard (University of Toronto, Sociology, PhD program): A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to ‘Include’ Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community
Hadelzein, Elobeid (Sudan University for Science and Technology, Centre for Peace Studies and Culture of Peace, PhD program): The context of migrant labor in Sudan- the case of domestic workers
Georgette Morris (York University, Public Policy Administration & Law, MA program): Live in Caregiver program: The Jamaican Canadian Experience 1973


Friday January 27, 2017
9:00-10:45 am           Session 4 “Human Capital and Economic Integration”

Discussant: Prof. Valerie Preston (Geography, York University)
Chair: Prof. Jeffrey Reitz (Harney Program Director, Munk School of Global Affairs)
Rochelle Wijesingha (McMaster University, Sociology, PhD program): Human Capital or Cultural Taxation: What Accounts for Differences in Tenure and Promotion of Racialized and Female Faculty?
Justin Kong (University of Toronto, Sociology, MA program): The Ethnic Economy and Labour Movement Renewal
Sasha Gronsdahl (University of Toronto, SPPG, MPP program): “Stranded Human Capital”: Foreign Qualification Recognition for Immigrant Physicians in Canada
Alexandra Pileggi (University of Toronto, SPPG, MPP program): The High-Skill Problem: A Review of Best Practices for Foreign Credential Assessment in OECD Countries and Implications for Canada
Nora Warrach (University of Cologne, Germany, Cultural sociology, PhD program): ‘Emancipated’ transmigrants? Biographies and transnational spaces of women in Germany and Turkey

10:50am-12:10pm    Session 5 “Multiculturalism and Social Support”

Discussant: Prof. Irene Boeckmann (Sociology, University of Toronto)
Chair: Sasha Gronsdahl (University of Toronto, SPPG, MPP program)
Rachel Peters (University of Toronto, CERES, MA program): How “How” Matters: Swedish and German family benefits and their effects on immigrant child poverty
Dulani Suraweera (University of Toronto, OISE, Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, PhD program): Understanding the Hegemonic Constructions of ESL Education through an Awareness of Power, Privilege and Intersectionality
Johanne Jean-Pierre (Dalhousie University, School of Social Work, Post-Doctoral Fellowship): Conceptualizing culturally responsive and community driven alternative disciplinary interventions

1:00-2:00pm               Session 6 “Counter-radicalization and Policy”

Discussant Prof. Ron Levi (Dir. Master of Global Affairs, University of Toronto)
Chair: Lucy El-Sherif (University of Toronto, CTL, OISE, PhD program)
Hadear Shaheen (University of Toronto, SPPG, MPP program): A Critical Analysis of Community- Based Responses to Counter-Terrorism in Canada
Joanna Cotarlea (University of Toronto, CERES, MA program): Homegrown Solutions to Homegrown Terror: A Comparison of Three European Counter Radicalization Programs

2:05-3:35pm               Session 7 “International Crisis and Response”

Discussant: Prof. Rachel Silvey (Geography, University of Toronto)
Chair: Siobhan Kirkland (University of Toronto, CERES, MA program)
Yasmin Khan (University of Toronto, Geography, PhD program): The Enemy Refugee and Food Insecurity: The Rohingya in Myanmar
Marko Kljajic (University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, MGA program): Letter From 2020: Explaining Rescuers in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Man Xu (University of Toronto, Sociology,PhD program): Covering Syrian Refugee Crisis – Immigration Discourses and the Politics of National Belonging

3:40-5:00pm               Special session “The Fire Next Door: The 1967 Detroit Uprising in the Canadian Imagination” (see details below)

5:00-6:30pm               Reception (Library)



Keynote lecture: “Reflections on Belonging and Inclusion”
January 26, 2017  1:00-3:00pm (Munk School of Global Affairs, Observatory Site, Boardroom)


Keynote speaker: The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, C.M., O. Ont., Senator, The Senate of Canada, Distinguished Visiting Professor,
Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University

Official Senator Ratna Omidvar Photo

Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized expert on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Ratna to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario.

Ratna is the founding Executive Director and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. GDX is a think-and-do tank on diversity, migration and inclusion that connects local experience and ideas with global networks.

Ratna is a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara. She is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita and was formerly the Chair of Lifeline Syria.

Ratna is co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015), an Open Book Toronto best book of 2015 and one of the Toronto Star’s top five good reads from Word on the Street.

Ratna was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, Ratna received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.


Special Session “The Fire Next Door: The 1967 Detroit Uprising in the Canadian Imagination”
January 27, 2017 3:40-5:00pm (Munk School of Global Affairs, Observatory Site, Boardroom)

To read our summary on this event, please visit this page.



image (2)This special session took place on the second day of the R.F. Harney 10th Annual Graduate Research Conference in Ethnic and Pluralism Studies (January 26-27, 2017), featuring Harney Program alumni Wendell Adjetey. The presentation aimed to illuminate Canadians’ perceptions and fears of U.S. racial violence.

Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is a doctoral candidate in the Departments of History and African American Studies at Yale University, where he holds numerous awards and prizes, including the Falk Foundation, Felix G. Evangelist, and Douglass R. Bomeisler Fellowships. He is writing a dissertation on twentieth-century black activism and freedom linkages between Canada and the United States. Wendell is a Trudeau Scholar and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Toronto.

Discussants: Prof. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (Sociology, University of Toronto), and Prof. Ian Radforth  (History, University of Toronto)



For this special anniversary event, we established a new award to recognize the best papers presented during the conference. Two winners were selected by the Harney Program Director for the “R.F. Harney Award for Outstanding Conference Paper” and each received a certificate and a cheque for $200. 



Please see the Director’s comments on the two recipients, Paul Prtichard and Beesan Sarrouh here.

We also have special feature on the two recipients here


Call for papers (online submission is Now Closed)

Thank you to all who submitted their proposal. The results will be communicated individually by e-mail on MONDAY NOVEMBER 28, 2016.



Past presentations have featured course papers by Master’s level students, works at different stages of doctoral research, as well as ongoing studies by recent graduates. (Please refer to past conference programs posted below)

Papers can be co-authored and co-presented.

Presentation Topics

Presentation topics can be in any area related to the mandate of the Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Program, including ethnic and race relations, international migration and immigration, cultural and linguistic communities, inter-group dynamics, nationalist movements, aboriginal affairs, and human rights.

With the length of the final paper set at approximately 20 pages, each presenter will have 20 minutes to make their presentations. PowerPoint slides are not mandatory but strongly recommended.

To submit your proposal:

Please read carefully the instructions below in order to fill out all the fields of the online proposal submission form.

  • E-mail: make sure to enter your correct address so you can receive a confirmation e-mail for your proposal submission.
  • Name: provide your full name as you would like it to appear on the program (if the paper is co-authored, only the lead author’s name and affiliation are required)
  • Affiliation: provide information on your university, degree pursued, or other current affiliation as you would like it to appear on the program
  • Title of paper: this can be a working title, and minor modifications will be accepted when you submit your final paper
  • Keywords: choose TWO keywords that best describe your paper from the drop-down menu. The options provided were drawn from previous conference session themes. If you would like to suggest a different keyword, choose “Other” and enter your suggestion in the field below.
  • Scheduling: you should be available to present on EITHER January 26th OR 27th. If you have special requests regarding scheduling of your presentation, you may indicate them, but we cannot guarantee that they will be accommodated. We also ask that you attend some (if not all) of the sessions at least on the day of your presentation.
  • Abstract of paper: your abstract should be specific enough to give us a good idea of the final paper. Length: up to 300 words.

Upon submission, you should receive an email confirming receipt of your proposal. If you do not receive such an email, or if you wish to make changes to the details of your proposal PLEASE CONTACT US at:, and DO NOT RE-SUBMIT a new proposal.



important deadlines:

  • The deadline for proposal submission is MONDAY NOVEMBER 21, 2016
  • We will notify all those who submitted a proposal as to the results of the evaluation process  ON MONDAY NOVEMBER 28, 2016. Please let us know if you submitted a proposal but did not get notified ON that date.
  • The deadline for the final papers is MONDAY JANUARY 9, 2017

For your reference (past conference programs):

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