Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference (Full program and abstracts available)

Established in 2008 our Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies 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 summaries of past conferences:

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), 2016 – Ayesha Chaudhry (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study, Harvard University), 2017 Ratna Omidvar (senate of Canada, Ryerson University), 2018 Nancy Foner (CUNY), and 2019 Rima Wilkes (UBC).

This year we are pleased to welcome David Fitzgerald (University of California San Diego) as our keynote speaker speaker (details forthcoming)


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

Official Senator Ratna Omidvar Photo 



13th Annual EPS Conference:January 30-31, 2020 (Please Register for each EVENT separately)

13th EPS Conference Full Program

13th EPS Conference List of Abstracts


DAY ONE January 30, 2020

Register for DAY ONE here

9:45-10:00 Registration for Day One
10:00-10:05: Opening remarks
10:05-11:25 SESSION 1: “Canadian Urban Integration”
12:20-13:40 SESSION 2: “Borders”

14:00-16:00 KEYNOTE LECTURE (Campbell Conference Facility)

David FitzGerald “Refuge beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers”

Register for KEYNOTE LECTURE here

Event Flyer

Media pundits, politicians, and the public are often skeptical or ambivalent about granting asylum. They fear that asylum-seekers will impose economic and cultural costs and pose security threats to nationals. Consequently, governments of rich, democratic countries attempt to limit who can approach their borders, which often leads to refugees breaking immigration laws.

In Refuge beyond Reach, David Scott FitzGerald traces how rich democracies have deliberately and systematically shut down most legal paths to safety. Drawing on official government documents, information obtained via WikiLeaks, and interviews with asylum seekers, he finds that for ninety-nine percent of refugees, the only way to find safety in one of the prosperous democracies of the Global North is to reach its territory and then ask for asylum. FitzGerald shows how the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia comply with the letter of law while violating the spirit of those laws through a range of deterrence methods — first designed to keep out Jews fleeing the Nazis — that have now evolved into a pervasive global system of “remote control.” While some of the most draconian remote control practices continue in secret, FitzGerald identifies some pressure points and finds that a diffuse humanitarian obligation to help those in need is more difficult for governments to evade than the law alone.

Refuge beyond Reach addresses one of the world’s most pressing challenges — how to manage flows of refugees and other types of migrants — and helps to identify the conditions under which individuals can access the protection of their universal rights.

David FitzGerald is Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, Professor of Sociology, and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. His research analyzes policies regulating migration and asylum in countries of origin, transit, and destination. FitzGerald’s books include Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas, which won the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, and A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration.

DAY TWO January 31, 2020

Register for DAY TWO here

10:00-10:15 Registration for Day Two
10:15-11:45 SESSION 3 “Health”
12:45-14:15 SESSION 4 “Segregation/Incarceration”
14:30-16:00 SESSION 5 “Representation”



Call for Papers (Thank you for submissions, online form now closed)

Thank you for your proposals for the 13th Annual Conference, which will be held at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy Trinity Site (1 Devonshire Place), on January 30-31, 2020.

Results of the evaluation of proposals will be sent out to all who have made submissions on  Thursday, December 5, 2019.

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 (within 1 year of graduation). Please refer to past conference programs posted below.

Papers can be co-authored and co-presented (graduate students only, no faculty members).


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.

R.F. harney outstanding Conference Paper awards

This year again, we will be awarding prizes for outstanding conference papers ($200 cash prize each, as well as a website feature).

To submit your proposal (Online Submission Now CLOSED)

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(s): provide information on your university, degree pursued, or other current affiliation as you would like it to appear on the program, year of graduation if you have already completed your degree)
  • 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 30th OR January 31, 2020. 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:

  • NEW! The deadline for proposal submission is THURSDAY NOVEMBER 28, 2019
  • We will notify all those who submitted a proposal as to the results of the evaluation process  ON THURSDAY DECEMBER 5, 2019. 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 13, 2020

For your reference (past conference programs):

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