As announced earlier the inaugural R.F. Harney Award for Outstanding Conference Paper was given to two of the presenters of the 10th Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference.

Paul Pritchard (University of Toronto Sociology PhD program)
“A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to ‘Include’ Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community”


Beesan Sarrouh (Queen’s University Political Studies Ph.D. program, now at Ryerson University, Centre for Immigration and Settlement)
“Accommodating Muslim Minorities in Secular Societies: Public Education in England, Scotland, Ontario, Quebec”

After the conference, we caught up with the two recipients and asked them for a brief biographical paragraph, as well a few comments about the background of their paper and what they thought of their Harney conference experience.


Paul Prtichard

Paul is a first-year PhD student in sociology at the University of Toronto. His main research interests lie at the intersection of precarious legal status (non-citizenship) and precarious employment. In particular, he is interested in processes of social inclusion/exclusion and youth-to-adult transitions as they relate to global migration and the labour market. He is also involved in collaborative research on the social integration of refugee children and youth.

On the background of his paper:

“This paper is based on research I conducted in 2014. I first became interested in issues surrounding temporary foreign workers through attending a conference in New York during my undergraduate degree. Upon returning to Nova Scotia, I learned that the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program had been rapidly expanding in the region, yet there was very little information available, academic or otherwise, on the experiences of these workers, and I became interested in how they were ‘welcomed’ in the host community. My intention with this paper is to draw attention to the rise of non-citizenship as a constitutive part of the Canadian immigration landscape and to the neglect in Canadian immigration research to consider the integration and wellbeing of temporary im/migrants— many of whom have differential access to the rights, entitlements and protections Canadian workers enjoy.

What started out as an ambitious undergraduate research project has developed into a deeper concern for the rise of Canada’s temporary labour programs as part of a broader transformation of the Canadian immigration system, under which immigration and citizenship statuses are increasingly associated with social inequality. It is these bigger questions with which my current and future research contends.”

On the Harney Conference:

“This is my first but hopefully not last presentation at the Harvey R.F. Harney Graduate Research Conference. What stands out as different than other conferences I previously attended is the critical and constructive feedback I received. My next step is to revise this paper and submit for publication and the substantive feedback provided by the discussant of my panel, a leading scholar in my field of research, is simply invaluable. I am also happy to have met other inspiring scholars with similar interests and I highly value the conversations we shared and the connections that were formed.”


Beesan Sarrouh:

On the background of her paper:

“My paper draws from my recently defended dissertation, “Accommodating Muslim Minorities in Secular Societies: Public Education in England, Scotland, Ontario, and Quebec.” The paper discussed the most compelling finding: the counter-intuitive ranking of the cases. So, to give an example, Ontario ranked last. Some might find this surprising since the province is seen as the ‘multicultural hub’ of Canada.

My field research really stood out as a highlight of this project. The most memorable discovery involved the England case; the struggle for Muslims to obtain public funding of Islamic schools went on for 13 years. Their applications were rejected three times by the Conservative government until finally, in 1997, they were granted funding by the Labour government. When I was conducting archival research in Edinburgh, Scotland, I came across this small package that had a ‘10 Downing Street’ stamp on the front. The information inside discussed the last application Muslim advocates submitted to the Conservative government. The official explanation for rejection was an issue of school districts: the two Islamic schools applying for funding were in areas which did not need any more state schools. The folder I found contained internal correspondences from the Home Office to the Prime Minister’s Office which revealed alternative reasons for the rejection. The major concern was Muslim integration, with the Salman Rushdie Affair being referenced. That information is not yet available to the public in England, but there must have been some information exchange between the two jurisdictions, and eventually the archives in Scotland made them public.”

Brief Bio:

“Presently, I am Collaborator and Project-Lead on a SSHRC and IRCC-funded project that focuses on the private sponsorship of Syrian refugees by Sponsorship Agreement Holders. I am affiliated with the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement at Ryerson University.”

On the Harney Conference:

“I have presented at the Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Conference a number of times, and each experience was memorable. Attending this conference became an integral part of this project; I looked forward to attending every time.”


We offer our congratulations to Paul and Beesan, and wish them the best for their future endeavors!