Carleton University researchers were awarded almost $2 million in funding for 11 research projects through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grants. The projects touch on a wide range of subjects, from tracking the trade of human remains, and relationships between Mexico, Canada and the United States, to dialogues around victimization of Indigenous peoples.
“Carleton has always prioritized innovation and excellence in academic research,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “SSHRC’s support through these grants reflects Carleton’s commitment to advancing Canada’s global leadership in numerous fields.”
History Prof. Shawn Graham and his partners are looking for ways to combat the trade in human bones using machine learning and neural networks. There is a thriving online trade in anatomical, ethnographic and archaeological human remains that makes ready use of social media. The sheer volume of materials being produced, shared and sold can be overwhelming.
“I am grateful to SSHRC for supporting our research,” said Graham. “The trade in human remains is just part of a broader use of social media to trade in illegal goods. Trading in human remains or cultural objects does real harm. This funding will enable us to develop the tools, techniques and ethical approaches to help us understand and mitigate this trade.”
Laura MacDonald, professor in the Department of Political Science, is examining decades of economic and social integration that have reshaped North American countries. Debates over the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the nature of economic, social and political links between Canada, the United States and Mexico have ebbed and flowed over the years.
“During the current NAFTA re-negotiations, it is important to analyze how relations have changed between the three countries of the region – not just between governments and firms, but also between civil society organizations,” said MacDonald. “This funding will allow me, along with a group of researchers, to examine how activists work together on labour rights, migrant rights and human rights in Mexico.”
Kim Matheson, culture and gender mental health research chair will leverage this funding to investigate how particular portrayals of Indigenous peoples either solicit allied reactions of support from non-Indigenous Canadians or affirm negative stereotypes and continued racism.
“As a non-Indigenous researcher, it is incredibly important to me to shed light on the biases that people might have when they process media communications that highlight Indigenous peoples,” said Matheson. “This funding is timely in this era of reconciliation and Indigenous power, as it allows us to train students and conduct research that provides insights into social attitudes and how to bring about change.”
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