PACS 401 - Senior Research Seminar Abstracts

Stack of books relating to Peace and Conflict Studies

Senior Research Seminar Abstracts

In your fourth year of the Peace and Conflict Studies program, you will be required to take PACS 401 - Senior Research Seminar. Working with the guidance of an instructor, you will explore the relationship between theory and practice in regards to peace making. Each student conducts an individual research project that relates to their own personal and/or professional development and interests within the PACS field.

We are pleased to announce that in 2020, 12 students were selected to participate in the Consortium of North American Peace Programs (CONPAPP) 2020 Conference at Gettysburg College (Pennsylvania, USA)!

View abstracts from previous years below. 

Fall 2022


Erika Rose Shea

Many Ontario universities claim to have sexual violence policies, responses, and resources that are survivor-centered. On university campuses, the application of the survivor-centered model of responding to sexual violence should prioritize survivors’ needs and rights, rather than those of perpetrators and institutions according to sexual violence response scholars. Although Ontario universities claim to prioritize survivors of sexual violence, the literature reveals a lack of student trust in institutions, institutional inaction, pervasive campus rape culture, and poor perpetrator accountability. These trends point to poor application of the survivor-centered model. This paper will examine whether Ontario universities are truly survivor-centered in their approach to managing sexual violence.


Elizabeth Robertson

Despite the failure of the prison system to engage in justice in a morally or pragmatically successful manner, the concept of carceral justice is everywhere in entertainment media. Placing people in a cage is not only ineffective at societal protection, but also an inhumane way to deal with harm. The more that the public is bombarded with images of prisons and crime, the more they will accept these practices as normal rather than contestable. This poses a challenge for prison abolitionists as they recognize how deeply these ideas are ingrained in the stories we witness. This paper examines how the prison industrial system has become a societal norm to be found in any genre of entertainment.


Olivia Miller

Modern rural Ontario communities are lacking cultural acceptance and tolerance of diverse persons in their environments. The result of this deficiency is greater incidents of racial discrimination and community conflicts.This research explores identityin relation to the social environment, and how a threat to one’s identity causes entrenched and polarized community conflicts. This research proposes two critical aspects to the identity of rural community members. Their desire for community cohesion that formerly existed in traditional rural space according to some researchers and their constructed idea (manufactured by the nation of Canada) that their citizenship makes them pro-multicultural and diversity, as a matter of course. When these two identity values are threatened, rural community members behave in ways that escalate and complicate thecommunity conflict experienced according to some scholars on this issue. This research is illustrated using delegate statements from an intractable community conflict in Baden, Ontario, exhibiting how identity values generate various community members’ positions in the dispute.


Murtoza Manzur

With an estimated 919,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar residing inBangladesh's Cox's Bazaar refugee camps, the Rohingya refugee crisis is one of the world's fastest-growing refugee crises. Bangladesh acceptedRohingya refugees in 2017 with open arms despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees due to humanitarian concerns and a shared religious identity. However, the Government of Bangladesh has changed its stance after failed repatriation efforts. It has imposed discriminatory policies toward the Rohingya, portraying them as a security risk and a burden to the economy. It has increasingly enacted measures violating national and international laws to safeguard refugees to force them to seek shelter elsewhere, mimicking past repatriation efforts of 1978 and 1992. This paper explores how Bangladesh's shifted its policy towards the Rohingya and the reasons behind such shift.


Zoe Beilby

Within modern political feminism, women's bodies areobserved as areas of social control and moral engineering according to some critical feminism scholars. They assert that women’s bodies are turned into political commodities and corporeal forms.”Protesting by taking up physical space turns this objectification intoa corporeal agency that allows women to take up space and be seen on their own terms rather than that of a higher political or social power according to some scholars. This helps women to find meaning and identity in these political actions.This paper explores the women’s processes of transforming gendered objectification into corporeal agency through critical engagement with Iran as a case study. The concept of corporeal agency will be explored by engaging closely the current and ongoing protests in Iran due to mandatory veiling,the unjust killing of MahsaAmini, and the political context behind it.


Abbey Tiernan

This paper aims to define a framework for peacebuilding design by comparing applications of social design to peace theory, as well as analyzing the efficacy of design elements used in various conflict interventions. The paper will begin by defining design as a concept, then will explore design’s capacity to achieve social change by analyzing examples of social innovation design. The paper will draw connections between applications of social innovation design and peace theory to conceptualize a prototypical framework for peacebuilding design based on the limited existing literature on the design of peace. This framework for peacebuilding design will then engage with the limited existing peacebuilding design literature and will apply the prototypical framework principles to peacebuilding design examples. The paper will conclude by summarizing the beginnings of a defined concept of peacebuilding design that, if backed by further research, could pave the way toward more sustainable conflict interventions.


Rebecca Lane Mitton

This paper will explore the need to implement restorative education practices across Canadianpost-secondary educational institutions. By recognizing the harms of the punitive framework thatis found deeply ingrained in Canadian school systems, the need for restorative change and itsmany benefits toward student development becomes clear. Utilizing restorative practices among avariety of student demographics proves to promote peacebuilding, relationship building,self-development, and higher likelihoods of success for student participants. As highlighted by avariety of case studies across Canada, in collaboration with scholarly research on the topic, there is potential for a modernized system of conflict management that is based on creating safeand effective communities for learning and growth. This paper aims to answer the question, ‘whyare restorative educational approaches more beneficial to students when managing conflict thanpunitive policy-based approaches in Canadian post-secondary institutions?


Victoria Lumax

This paper investigates if and how Adult Education (AE) in Ontario, Canada, aligns with the practices and values of Peace Studies in their educational strategies and priorities. Literature shows a potentially strong connection between AE and peace, suggesting that it can contribute tothriving democracy and engaged citizenship. Two Government of Ontario documents are analyzed with an AE peace framework. The analysis concludes that Ontario’s focus on bureaucracy and administration, rooted in neoliberalism, distracts from its ability to deliver AE that contributes to a peaceful and flourishing province. While succeeding in promoting values such as critical thinking, personal autonomy, and communal equity, and addressing and dismantling learner barriers, AE in Ontario could improve by focusing more on indicators that promote empowerment, unity, and well-being. These include empathy, respect for neighbours and the environment, global awareness, perspectives, appreciation, and dialogical language learning.


Meagan Vander Hoek

Food insecurityimpacts various individuals and households acrossCanada resulting in food bank and community food center access. This paper willdiscuss how food banks and community food centers prevent a long-term solution to end foodinsecurity. Throughout this paper, research from various sources will be utilizedto assess therelationship between food banks, food centers, and food insecurity. The findings compiledthroughout demonstrate food banks support those who need immediate food aid but fail toaddress the other implications of food insecurity and its contributing factors. The research studywill also assess the effectiveness of community food centers in response to food insecurity,highlighting their value as they address the physical and mental health impacts of food, but stillfail to address several contributing factors of food insecurity. A critical look at this evidence mayhelp to understand the need for long-term solutions in Canada which address all components offood insecurity, and furthermore, examine the cycle that has created barriers to sustainablesolutions. Additionally, some effective alternative solutions will be looked at, specifically, two income-related policy changes will be analyzed and evaluated for their effectiveness intackling the long-term, contributing factors of food insecurity.

Fall 2021

Pre-Conflict Gender Dynamics and Conflict Related Sexual Violence: A Comparative Case Study of the Yugoslav and Congo Wars

Nicole Herdman

Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is significant in its scope and brutality and, as men are common perpetrators and women are common targets, is innately gendered in its existence. Sexual violence is utilized as a weapon of war to intimidate, humiliate, and dispossess common citizens and is frequently targeted at women, with 89% of victims of Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) identifying as women in 2019 (United Nations Security Council 2020, 13; Benshoof 2014, 14). Given this reality, this paper explores the relationship between CRSV and pre-conflict gender dynamics to determine how, if at all, pre-conflict gender dynamics relate to the existence of sexual violence in war. This is done through the comparison of the Yugoslav Wars from 1992 to 1995 and the First and Second Congo Wars ranging from 1996 to 1998 and 1998 to 2003 respectively. It is recognized that CRSV in the Yugoslav Wars was undertaken at a massive rate and scale and was committed by non-Muslim Serbian men onto Muslim women through the establishment of ‘rape camps.’ Pre-conflict societies are found to highly value social constructs of masculinity and femininity and are patriarchal in nature. Additionally, sexual violence was common in pre-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia and took many cultural forms such as rape play. Moreover, CRSV in the Congo Wars was also committed in a systemic fashion and was particularly brutal in its wide involvement of sexual mutilation tactics. Pre-conflict Congolese communities have definitive constructs of masculinity and femininity and have patriarchal foundations, though women have a unique intrinsic value to their village. Sexual violence was common in pre-conflict societies and was committed for an abundance of reasons, including social power. However, it is determined that a relationship may exist, and additional research is encouraged to determine if there is a correlation or causation between the pre-conflict gender dynamics of a region and the region’s experience of CRSV.

What Counts as Civil Disobedience? COVID 19, Illegal Gatherings, and Trinity Bible Chapel

Philip Zuidema

The lockdown orders put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 were not universally obeyed by Ontarians. A small but vocal group of churches, including Trinity Bible Chapel (TBC) justified gathering illegally during lockdowns by calling their actions “civil disobedience.” This paper is centered on whether TBC’s illegal gatherings qualified as civil disobedience. First, the paper examines three schools of thought on civil disobedience: constitutional, moral, and Pragmatic. The paper observes that, while their motivations for pursuing civil disobedience are diverse, the criteria they set for what ‘counts’ as civil resistance is similar. Additionally, the paper records the motivations and actions of TBC under categories drawn from the literature. Finally, the paper discusses whether TBC’s motivations and actions align with theories of civil disobedience. It finds that while TBC’s motivations are like those of theorists, the ways in which they broke the law disqualified their illegal gatherings as ‘civil disobedience.’

Gender-bias in the diagnosis of autism: Missed-diagnosis and the development of females on the spectrum

Riley Wallace

This paper will discuss the observed differences between autistic females and autistic males as found through the research studies centering on this topic. In responding to the research question posed of how and in what ways gender bias has led to women and girls being misdiagnosed for autism in North America, and what effect has this had on affected women, it can be observed that a combination of limited criteria and overall understanding of autism is a key factor. Additionally, the responsibility of trusted adults; parents, teachers, and doctors, is highlighted for the pertinent role they play in the timely diagnosis and treatment for autistic females.

Does Phasmophobia Help Develop Social Skills such as Teamwork, Problem-solving, and Communication?

Sara Carlisle

This paper will be answering the question “Does Phasmophobia help develop social skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and communication?” In order to answer this question, studies in relation to video game use will be applied to primary sources related to Phasmophobia to show if these skills are accurately represented in this game. General discourse on video games will be provided to show the areas of research previously investigated as well as some history on the development of video games.

United States Media Coverage of Lebanon

Nour Saad

This paper discusses the difference in media coverage between the Western world, specifically the United States, and the Middle Eastern World, specifically Lebanon. The coverage of the tragedy of Lebanon’s 2006 war and Lebanon’s economic and political situation today, after the Beirut Port explosion, are the two events analyzed specifically. Through the use qualitative research of past and current criticisms of the United States media and the analysis of specific news articles, different observations are identified to highlight the gap in information that the United States fails to share with the rest of the world in relation to Lebanon’s need for help. With Lebanon being on the verge of becoming a third world country, the media’s attention is critical to raise awareness to the public and force people in power to act upon bringing Lebanon back to life.

Nationalist Rhetoric and the Legitimization of Military Force from the Bush to Obama Administrations

Serena Laverty

With the recent reinstallation of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the failures of the United States' "war on terror" campaigns are salient. How did American officials justify a counterterrorism response that was legally and morally dubious, and ultimately, ineffective? This paper examines how nationalist rhetoric was employed by the Bush and Obama administrations to legitimize a military response to terrorism following 9/11. By conducting discourse analysis on key presidential speeches, this paper identifies three patterns of nationalist rhetoric in the broader counterterrorism narrative: a construction of us versus them, the myth of American exceptionalism, and a national narrative of victimhood through the memorialization of 9/11. A comparison between Bush and Obama illuminates how presidential rhetoric effectively discouraged dissent due to pre-existing nationalist narratives and cultural beliefs in American society. The persuasive power of nationalism in times of war and a need to critically examine the policies hidden behind political rhetoric are discussed.

Full abstract title: America’s Justification for the War on Terror: Nationalist Rhetoric and the Legitimization of Military Force from the Bush to Obama Administrations

Indigenous-Settler Relations: Archaeology’s Transition to Supporting Indigenous Communities in Canada

Morgan M Berg

This paper uses a horizontal framework to discuss the changing dynamics between Indigenous communities and Eurocentric archaeologists at the turn of the twenty-first century. It looks to address pre-collaborative Canadian archaeology, and how this period held tense relationships between these two groups and why. It goes on to note a shift in these dynamics, discussing the transition in archaeology to a more collaborative, Indigenous-centered process, and how new developments in the field such as Indigenous archaeology aim to decolonize the field of archaeology as a whole. It converses on how these changing relations hold significance for the field of peace and conflict studies, and how they can contribute to peacebuilding and reconciliatory practices going forward. Finally, it notes some suggestions for future directions the field of archaeology can take in the future on this topic.

How News Coverage of Racism in Policing Has Change Between 2019 and 2021

Cass Schmidt

This paper recognizes the shift in reporting on racism in policing between 2019 and 2021. Analyzing how Canadian news platforms play a huge role in aiding victims in receiving justice, while also keeping some instances concealed by simply neglecting to report on them. The news media, in which it portrays certain individuals and/or certain situations, can be manipulated to appeal to a specific audience, as it has a way of impacting the viewer's beliefs, emotions, and behaviors towards certain individuals. This study analyzes past cases, and how they have made an impact on the way people view police and their acts of racism. The paper analyzes CBC News and its reports on this topic between 2019 and 2021. It shows that in 2021, news media platforms have taken a novel approach in reporting on racism in policing, as they focus on the victim and place, the police under a microscope, analyzing their actions and whether they were appropriate for the situation at hand. The paper offers a conclusion, that since 2019, news media platforms have changed exceptionally regarding reporting on racism in policing, and providing victims and their families with the recognition and justice they have longed for.

Balancing Indigenous Needs in Canadian Justice & Exploring the Strengths & Limits of Gladue for Indigenous Offenders

Alice Sandiford

It is of no debate at this point that systems, particularly the legal one, act as a trammel to the rights and flourishing of many Indigenous people in Canada. This paper explores how the Canadian justice system is using Gladue to account for the issue; at that, to what degree it is effective and limited. To explore this problem holistically, this paper begins with unpacking the robust causal nexus that it has become. Research regarding the background of the issue, the role of historical and current trauma and systemic injustice, intergenerational trauma, and policy will be analyzed to contextualize the issue. Next, a series of sentencing judgements from the Ontario Court of Justice from 2018-2021 will be illustrated as they relate to Gladue. Within this research area, it has been established by scholars, the government, and proponents of the justice system alike, that these interrelations between trauma and historical treatment and the justice system exists. This paper seeks to analyze the strength and limitations of one policy response to that system.

Full abstract title: The Scales of Justice: An analysis of the Attempt at Balancing Indigenous Needs Under the Canadian Justice and Exploring the Strengths and Limits of Gladue for Indigenous Offenders in the Ontario Court of Justice from 2018-2021.

How Society’s Current Understanding Impacts Sexual Assault in University Through North America, focusing on Ontario

Amani Amstutz

In Ontario, there is a sexual education curriculum for middle- to high-schoolers, the parameters of which are posted online and accessible to the public. The topic of consent appears in several grades and is presented in several different ways. Yet, sexual assault cases are recognized as a widespread problem at universities and colleges across North America, and Ontario is no exception. This paper seeks to compare the curriculum online versus the reality of what is taught in classrooms, and then to move beyond that and see how young adults experience consent in their intimate relationships following high school, into post-secondary education. The results demonstrated that there is not a deep understanding of consent for young adults, regardless of gender. Further, there are multiple definitions of consent, leaving too much room for interpretation. The result is that many women might not immediately recognize when they are being assaulted, and men may not recognize the moment they are crossing the line. Overall, the topic is not taught to the depth it needs to be to reduce sexual assault, and thoughts about next steps are also included.

Full abstract title: Consent and Sex Education: How Society’s Current Understanding Impacts Sexual Assault in University Throughout North America, with a Focus on Ontario

Short-Term Rental Units and Its Impacts on Community Well-Being

Sid Roth

Housing supply consistently changes, but with the introduction of short-term rental units due to tech companies like Airbnb and VRBO, there has been a noticeable shift to short-term supply, reducing long-term housing supply. These tech companies have impacted neighborhoods by raising their rent and housing costs. The impacts of Airbnb dense regions on the community's well-being remains unknown. This research paper aims to find a link between short-term rental saturated regions and their impact on community well-being using the Community Well-being Index by the Government of Canada. Results are inconclusive and require further quantitative and qualitative research to gather holistic results on the well-being of the community.

Fall 2020

An Analysis of Basic Income Pilot Projects

Gemma Ricker

Research has found that Ontario families are struggling to make ends meet under the current welfare system, and government funds are being used inefficiently. Basic income is a concept wherein every member of a society is given stipends to guarantee a minimum yearly income. This paper evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of three different basic income pilot projects. These projects were set in Ontario, Manitoba, and Finland. By analysing the results of each pilot through Karl Widerquist’s cost-benefit framework, I recommend how Ontario should structure a basic income program. The basic income projects improved recipients’ mental and physical health, increased their social capital, and incentivised employment. In order to optimize government spending, basic income in Ontario should be implemented permanently, with more funds available than are currently provided, with 50 cents deduced on each dollar of income from employment. The biggest limitation was that many of the findings were based on self-reports from the recipients.

The Functions of Ontario’s Elementary Schools: From Invisible to Critical

Rachel Stymiest

This paper explores the functions of elementary schools in Ontario and the impact they have on children and their communities when they close. The research for this paper is analyzed from the perspective of the intersection of holistic education and the learning crisis. Four functions were identified using a thematic analysis: delivery of curriculum, equity advocacy, promotion of social and emotional competencies, and the provision of critical health and safety resources. These are all components of holistic education and seek to promote equity for all children. The study finds that elementary schools in Ontario serve as a lifeline for many children.

The Genesis of Agonist Peace

Kayne Rivers

Peace theory and Peacebuilding has come to the forefront in recent years. However, theoretically speaking there has been one main mode of thought in the peace study community. This paper was born out of the desire to learn and expose to light different peace theories specifically Agonism. By the end of this paper the goal is that firstly, the reader will be able to poke holes in the current peace theoretical regime thus creating new and vibrant theories. Secondly, coming to an understanding of what Agonist thought means and how it is making a difference in the world of Peace theory.

Factors that Contribute to Higher Mortality Rates and Lower Life Expectancies of Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia

Julia McCabe

Research shows that the life expectancy of Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia has historically been and continues to be considerably shorter than the general population in British Columbia (Office of the Provincial Health Officer 2018). In addition to this, mortality rates for Indigenous Peoples are significantly higher than the general population in British Columbia (Office of the Provincial Health Officer 2018). While these rates are known, the factors that contribute to these rates have not been explored to provide understanding of what contributes to these disproportionate rates of mortality and life expectancy. In this article, it will be argued that suicide rates, drug abuse, homicide and quality of life issues all contribute to these disproportionate statistics. All of which are interconnected to intergenerational trauma.

An analysis of the role of communal living space in reconciliation processes in post-conflict Northern Ireland

Elaina Mohr

This paper explores the role of intentional communal living space in reconciliation processes in post-conflict societies. Northern Ireland is used as the context for a post-conflict society, and Corrymeela, a faith and reconciliation centre in Northern Ireland, is used as a case study. A theoretical framework including three theories from separate fields of research that connect intentional communal living space was created to analyze Corrymeela’s reconciliation processes. The findings show that intentional communal living space creates a strong foundation for reconciliation processes and allows for sustainability of reconciled relationships. The paper concludes that peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict societies should consider physical space to have an important role in reconciliation process and suggests that organizations should include communal living in their reconciliation processes between polarized groups.

Full abstract title: Living in spaces of reconciliation: An analysis of the role of communal living space in reconciliation processes in post-conflict Northern Ireland

A Living Wage for All? Barriers to Widespread Implementation of the Living Wage Movement in Ontario

Emma Burkholder Pauls

The Ontario Living Wage Network is comprised of employers, faith-based groups, anti-poverty groups, community members, and employee groups (Evans and Fanelli 2016, 82). There are currently 341 'living wage certified' employers in the province of Ontario, 138 non-profit and 203 for profit (Craig Pickthorne email message to author, November 18, 2020). These employers have voluntarily chosen to adopt a 'living wage,' a wage that strives to set a higher standard and pay workers at a rate that allows them to meet basic living expenses and participate in their greater community ("What is the Living Wage?" n.d.). The living wage movement has had significant positive impacts on the lives of many low-income workers in the province of Ontario. Despite this, there are still a variety of barriers that this movement faces in terms of having more widespread impact. These barriers include how work is structured, opposing ideologies, and chosen methodology constraints.

Police Interventions for People with Mental Illnesses: An Analysis of Crisis Intervention Teams

Eve Astolfi

Current police practices suggest a large gap in police education on proper responses to people with mental illnesses (PMI). It is well established that Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs), multidisciplinary units compromised of police officers, health care providers and other community members, are more highly qualified than police alone, to address situations involving PMI. This research aims to provide an analysis of CIT programs, initially through examination of the history and laws surrounding the program; followed by the exploration of the perceptions of non-CIT police in their ability to engage those who have mental illnesses. Critiques of CITs will be presented in comparison to other efforts, such as police-only responses. Ultimately, this work arrives at a suggestion for further implementation of CIT programs, in conjunction with updated training processes for non-CIT police, as the best option for cases involving people with mental illnesses.

Prison-Based Restorative Justice and Incarcerated Women: Gender-Based Considerations for Criminal Justice Implementations

Megan Gallagher

Ongoing discussion of prison, and the issues within such institutions, demonstrate significant areas of need surrounding criminal justice and its role in society. Issues regarding how incarcerated individuals are treated and reformed are of particular interest in this Peace and Conflict Studies capstone project. This paper will argue that prison-based restorative justice programs offer solutions to some of the current shortcomings of incarceration, however, also serve to highlight additional areas of need in criminal justice responses. Within this work, a particular focus is taken upon incarcerated women, as this work seeks to develop and promote greater awareness of gender-based discrepancies in how people experience prison, and most notably, the restorative justice programming made available to them. Through an examination of general prison-based restorative justice literature, as well as the Stride, Alternatives to Violence, and Partners in Healing programs, the gendered needs of offenders will be assessed and employed in offering suggestions for future criminal justice action.

Fall 2019

Conduct Unbecoming: Responses to Sexual Violence in the Canadian Armed Forces

Gabrielle McInnis

Conducted in 2015 by former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps, an external review concluded that there was a sexualized culture in the Canadian Armed Forces and that sexual violence was a prominent and ongoing issue within the organization. In response, Operation Honour was created the following year by Chief of Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance. This program sought to educate CAF members on sexual violence and reinforce a zero tolerance policy within the military. This research will engage with recent data from the field to highlight key arguments and engage with new sensitivity training materials as a means of exploring the perpetuation of sexual harassment, assault, and sexualization of CAF members. Furthermore, this thesis will critique the limitations of such material, discuss its effectiveness and conclude on a hopeful note by acknowledging the ever-changing dynamics of military life.

Environmental Activism in Vulnerable Communities: The Impacts of Grassroots Movements on Influencing Change

Margaret McCloskey

In conjunction with pre-existing patterns of inequality, it is those that are most vulnerable in the global community that are experiencing the most substantial consequences of climate change and environmental deterioration. Whether it be marginalization from geographic vulnerability, economic inequity, social detachment, or a combination of factors, environmental concerns in these communities have not been adequately addressed by the global system. As a result, many communities susceptible to environmental threat have pursued change through the pathway of grassroots activism. In order to explore the intersection between grassroots activism in vulnerable communities and positive environmental change, this paper assesses current environmental discourse, establishes an understanding of grassroots advocacy, identifies indicators of change in civil society, and analyzes a case study of Indigenous resistance to pipelines in Canada. It is concluded that while measuring the extent to which grassroots movements impact environmental change is difficult, this practice of advocacy still holds significant value in its contribution to the larger community of activism.

A Plate Only Half Full: Challenges of Integrating Animal Products and Staple Crops

Theo Wiederkehr

This paper explores why community supported agriculture (CSA) currently offers only a partial alternative to industrial agriculture.  With a focus on Ontario, it questions why CSA has not diversified the foods it offers to include staple crops and animal products, and identifies problems which must be addressed for this to happen.  The current level of inclusion of these foods in Ontario CSAs is also evaluated.  I conclude that for CSA to offer complete diets for members, there is a need for greater member commitment and support for farmers, particularly when introducing foods which are more complex in terms of agricultural practices, processing, and ethics.

Reintegration of Prisioners in Canada: An In-Depth Look at the Prominent Issues and Possible Solutions

Sage Streight

The purpose of this paper is to present the current state of reintegration issues and efforts in Canada. The paper does this by presenting some of the prominent issues releasees are facing when trying to reintegrate into their communities. The reintegration issues are divided into three categories: personal and interpersonal factors, systemic factors, and perspective factors. These issues are presented to show that reintegration efforts need to span across many different factors in releasees lives, thus illustrating that reintegration is unique to each releasee. Due to this, the paper presents a variety of creative and practical solutions for resolving reintegration issues. Solutions such as temporary absences, discharge planning, and attitude changes. Additionally, other concrete strategies are presented such as co-operatives and criminal record pardons, as well as a case analysis of an already established program in Toronto, The Crossroads Day Reporting Centre. These solutions and program are presented to show that reintegration has many cost and safety benefits to Canadian society. In fact, reintegration is already being worked towards by many organizations and programs, and is a sustainable and holistic solution.

       This essay presents that reintegration efforts get at root needs of releasees and provides diverse services to meet all of these needs. An ability to address needs means that issues for releasees are being targeted and holistically resolved. This means that reintegration has the potential to successfully change releasees lives by aiding, teaching, and providing tools to live their best lives in Canadian society. The result of this is that reintegration is cost effective for the Canadian government, reduces recidivism, and makes society safer and function more effectively as less people are draining social services because releasees are equipped through reintegration efforts to contribute to Canada’s work force and economy.

Demand for Human Trafficking Victims For Sexual Exploitation Within a Legalized Prostitution Market

Sarah Cowan

There is no one answer to the question of why sex trafficking occurs in a legalized European prostitution market. After conducting research, five potential intersecting reasons, have been identified which provide an answer as to why demand for illegal services are present in the market when legal services are available. These 5 reasons are as follows: bigger market which increases the overall demand for sex services; the normalization of sex work as a result of legalization; “niche” demands that cannot be legally obtained; competitive prices and willing victims; and low risk – high reward business venture for traffickers. Underlying all five explanations is the role of the buyer to determine the products put forth on the market. So long as there remains gaps in the market, traffickers will continue to supply the services of trafficked victims to meet the needs of the consumer. 

The Intersection of Adult Third Culture Kid Identity and Canadian Identity: What Does it Mean for Canada? 

Devina Lookman 

This paper explores the ways in which the notion of identity maintenance for the Adult Third Culture Kid is supported by the programs offered within the Canadian context. This study will focus on how these support programs validate, support, and integrate the Adult Third Culture Kid into Canadian society in a meaningful way through a screening framework. The findings of this research categorizes the data into three roles of support: civil society, state, and private sectors. The researchable data presents different offerings of support that vary in the form of its programming, stretching across 5 provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Not only do the research findings address existing needs for the Adult Third Culture Kid currently facing repatriation challenges in Canada, but it also suggests the direction of future research to better inform the accessibility and content of programming, and overall shaping of the Canadian national identity.

Gun Violence in America: Exposing Systemic Gaps in Enforcement of Firearm Laws in America

Stefan Hogg

This paper will examine how shortcomings in enforcement of both state and federal legislation governing the sale of firearms plays a significant contributing role in the high rate of gun violence in the United States of America. I will do this by examining the existing literature documenting the rates at which illicit transactions are taking place at federally licensed firearms retailers. Contemporary studies have found that 57% of all crime guns in the U.S. can be traced to only 1% of the 55,000+ federally licensed firearms dealers, highlighting an enormous channel through which firearms are being trafficked to criminals. Furthermore, insufficient law enforcement response to illegal firearms transactions (within licensed stores and within the private domain) is a major enabling factor in the continual trafficking of these dangerous weapons. Through this process, this paper will document how firearms make their way from legitimate sources into the “wrong hands”, i.e. people legally prohibited from buying or owning firearms. I will end by suggesting prospective solutions that are rooted in robust statistical evidence supporting their potential for reducing firearm-related violent crime and homicide. 

 The Challenging Path for Agroecology in Guatemala

Charity Nonkes

Guatemala faces some of the highest rates of malnutrition, inequality, and poverty in the world – especially in rural populations. These populations are exploited by industrial agriculture using structural and direct violence. This has created a great need amongst small-scale farmers and their communities for food sovereignty and sustainable farming systems. Agroecology was implemented in Guatemala as a response to these issues. This critical analysis of how agroecology was implemented and its main challenges determined that agroecology was an alternative to industrial agriculture and was a tool for food sovereignty, but certain challenges made it difficult to implement: conditions that industrial agriculture and the armed conflict created; issues in the market and with state-support; access to land; aid organizations; and generational changes. There are numerous changes that need to occur on political, cultural, social, legal, environmental, and global levels in order for there to be widespread food sovereignty and agroecology in Guatemala. Viewing agroecology as a tool for food sovereignty is important because it can set realistic expectations for organizations and farmers, so they able to work towards food sovereignty. Agroecology is not just a tool for food sovereignty in Guatemala, but it is also an example of how communities throughout the world can transition to more environmentally and socially just agriculture methods.

Fall 2017

Strengths and Gaps in Supports for Syrian Refugee Families Living in Lebanon

Dena Badawi

Lebanon is host to over 1 million Syrian refugees (UNHCR 2017a).  Geographically and resource limited, Lebanon has experienced challenges with addressing the needs of Syrian refugees (Government of Lebanon & United Nations 2017).  Due to the recency of this issue and the rapid nature in which refugee support responses change, there has been little scholarly work published on the refugee support system in Lebanon.  This research works to fill this gap.  Collaborative interviews were conducted with six Syrian refugee families. Additionally, three semi-structured interviews with community support workers and two focus groups were conducted as part of a larger research project, a subset of which was analyzed for this capstone paper.  Interviews were read and coded line-by-line to develop themes.  Research findings identified strengths and gaps in the refugee support system in Lebanon.  Understanding the experiences of Syrian families is important in informing the development and improvement of support services.

Breaking down barriers between millennial shoppers in Ontario and ethical fashion purchases through online thrift shops

Mickaela Collins

The purpose of this paper is to examine the barriers millennial shoppers in Ontario face when trying to make ethical fashion purchases, and identify whether or not online thrift shops can help eliminate some of these barriers to make ethical fashion more accessible.  The fast fashion industry is problematic, and has been proven to have a devastating impact on the environment, a general disregard for workers’ rights, and a detrimental influence on the economy.  In order to analyze whether or not online thrift shops could be used to help change the way millennial shoppers buy fashion, six of the top online thrift shops available to Canadians were studied.  It was discovered that a number of these stores have factors that could persuade millennial shoppers in Ontario to change the way they shop, but there needs to be some improvements made before they can be competitive against their fast fashion counterparts.

Full abstract title: Thrift Shop and Save (the World): Breaking down the barriers between millennial shoppers in Ontario and ethical fashion purchases through the use of online thrift shops

Moving Towards Peace Through the Lens of the Sun Dance

Samantha Damaren

This research paper explores collective understandings of the Sun Dance and their implications for the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous across Canada.  Through the study of the Sun Dance it is shown that understanding Indigenous Ritual is key when addressing conflict transformation between these two communities. Memoirs, previous case studies in which communities were able to use dance to reconcile, and Indigenous knowledge are examined in the paper to identify a way to bridge the gap from previous policy to future intentions.  The first step that is proposed is to understand cultural ceremonies within Indigenous communities, focusing specifically on the Sun Dance.

Fostering Resiliency: an analysis of at-risk youth organizations in Toronto

Anna Giesbrecht

This paper looks into why resiliency is important and how it can be fostered. Using a social ecology framework, it examines concepts of risk and protective factors in relation to youth. The framework of analysis was applied to youth-focused programs in Toronto, Canada. The research explored what type of risk youth encounter, and examined a set of organizations and programs that are available to help youth develop positive character despite these risks in the greater Toronto area. The research found a variety of approaches to working with youth, and while some only primarily addressed individual development, the majority also addressed areas of family, community, and culture, which was found to be in-line with the social ecology approach. Increasingly literature shows that a holistic approach is more effective, and many organizations are applying this perspective.

The Automobile Industry, Corporate Social Responsibility and Emission Scandals from 2014-2017

Julia May Hopper

The automotive industry has been under investigation as companies are vastly exceeding the diesel emissions level of toxins permitted. Purposefully or accidentally defying them, this activity is illegal, and punishment is being served in the form of a damaged public image and billions of dollars paid in criminal charges. The Volkswagen scandal sheds light on an array of diesel emissions problems that are investigated in this paper. This research includes findings in the form of a case study that examines Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Honda, Mazda and Fiat Chrysler responses in the United States of America and Europe. Findings show that legal bodies are increasingly regulating the automotive industry, industry leaders are complaining, stakeholder and public action has included boycotting companies and negative coverage in social media, and at least some in the industry are shifting towards electric vehicles.

Punchlines, Pity Parties, or Just People? How Fat Characters are Represented in Animated Disney Films

Erin Huston

The purpose of this research paper is to examine how characters that are deemed to be ‘fat’ are represented in animated Disney films released between 2012 and 2017 based on three case studies.  The films used as case studies consist of Frozen (2013), Inside Out (2015) and Zootopia (2016).  Using qualitative analyses of one character in each film, the research explores whether the current representations of fat characters are potentially harmful to viewers, with the danger being the possibility of internalizing negative stereotypes of overweight populations that could result in stigmatization and discrimination of those populations.  The research concludes that based on the three case studies, improvements are being made towards dismantling tropes that stigmatize all fat characters, when compared with earlier research findings. However, it is concluded that more can be done to effectively limit the stigmatizing nature of media depictions of overweight characters.

Cross Industrial Analysis of Responsible Supply Change Management Growth between Nike and Apple

Bailey Kalef

This research examines the relationship between Nike and Apple’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies as they pertain to supply chain management, and compare how each of the organization’s policies have changed following allegations of nefarious activity.  This research gives insight into how the public and media shape organizational behaviour, while organizations simultaneously use CSR as a strategic tool to enhance their position in the market.  The research compared several years of CSR and supply chain responsibility policies following negative, publicized events.  The findings indicate that although the public holds power to sway organizational behaviour, the brands replace-ability acts as an insulator that protects certain organizations from extreme public attention.  Apple’s brand power and consumer loyalty appeared to prevent them from being penalised by consumers when compared with Nike. The paper also explored the degree to which CSR policies reflect changes in organizational practices over time.

Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Face of Violence

Emilie Mechler

This research paper looks at alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques and how these techniques may address violence in areas of Chicago.  Mediation, conflict coaching and the CeaseFire program were assessed to identify processes and skills that have been, or might be, used to address community issues and violence.  Community issues included media representation, financial security, interpersonal conflict, and police-community relations.  The paper reviewed skills in mediation and conflict coaching.  It then examined the skills that the CeaseFire program utilized, which included communication, leadership, active listening, feedback, managing credible witnesses, teamwork, and an ability to learn from lessons.  The study found overlap between the skills in CeaseFire’s approach with mediation and conflict coaching approaches. The paper also noted ways in which the skills might be further combined to better address issues surrounding violence in areas of Chicago.

Women in Peacebuilding: An analysis of West African Women’s Peace Movements in the context of Liberia and Sierra Leone

Amanda Obeng-Nsiah

Grassroots organizations that advocate for change during civil wars have seen a shift, with women assuming leadership positions at the forefront of the movement. Women are now seen as key for peace efforts. However, there are also challenges to women’s-led social movements becoming sustained parts of peace efforts.  This project analyzed the Women in Peacebuilding Network branch of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding of Liberia, and the Women’s Forum in Sierra Leone, which birthed Sierra Leone Women’s Movement for Peace. It identifies what women’s peace movements in West Africa did in order to be successful and their efforts validated for the advancement of peace. It also explores what contributed to the non-success of other movements. It concludes by noting the importance of recommendations for long-term success to strengthen short-term efforts.

Peace and Photography: Rhetoric of Colonialism through Photojournalism in Canada

Michelle Poon

In Canadian history, photojournalism has been used as visual documentary, representing the relationships between Indigenous Peoples and settlers.  This conversation is of significance to Peace and Conflict Studies because it contributes to larger social justice issues relating to the hegemonic discourse of colonization within Canadian archives.  This paper questions the accuracy of photography as a form of documentation and critiques the impact that images have on the public sphere.  The paper uses a three-step image analysis framework from the book Visual Methodologies by Gillian Rose, to evaluate the history of photojournalism.  It examines two specific photographs of the current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, using the three-step image analysis framework to illustrate contemporary interactions related to the impact, content and production process of photographs. The paper identifies positive and negative implications of using photojournalism as a form of peacebuilding.

An Analysis of Family Mediation in the Waterloo Region

Hannah Sutherns

This paper analyzes three types of family mediation in Waterloo Region for how supportive they are for families in the community.  The three types of mediation were Community Justice Initiatives’ (CJI) family mediation program, mediation with family lawyers, and court-recommended family mediation. Research was conducted on a variety of topics related to mediation, and focused specifically on four factors related to supportiveness: time, money, interest, and relationship. The paper explores whether or not the process positively assists families in a timely manner, uses limited financial resources, sustains’ parties interest over time, and supports family relationships during and after the mediation. It was discovered that CJI offers the overall best support for families with regards to these factors, and recommended that other agencies and models adopt the same principles.

#WelcometoCanada: The Canadian Response to Refugees from Syria and South Sudan

Kayleigh Swanson

The world is now witnessing the highest levels of global displacement on record (UNHCR 2017).  As the global refugee population has risen, the Canadian response to refugees has varied – some groups have been received generously while others have been treated harshly or refused.  In some cases, where the Canadian government has had to respond simultaneously to different refugee groups, its response to each group has varied.  Syria and South Sudan are currently experiencing ongoing, violent civil conflict that has resulted in significant displacement in both countries, but the Canadian government and civil society have responded differently to each crisis.  Canada’s response to refugees from Syria and South Sudan can be explained by several economic, political, and social factors, which reveal that despite a narrative of inclusivity and racial non-bias, there are in fact determining factors of refugee receptivity among Canadians that lead to inconsistencies in our response to various groups of refugees.

Gender Representation in Ontario Grade 5 and 6 Social Studies Textbooks

Cassandra Myers

The quest for adequate female representation in Canadian social systems has been at the forefront of gender movements for the past decade. These movements have turned focus to the education system, with activists lobbying for equal access and equal opportunity.  Recent research has found a direct link between educational material and gender perceptions (Mustapha and Mills 2015). Educational material are forms of social power, with the ability to maintain or challenge unequal gender representations.  To encourage gender equity, educational materials must exclude stereotypes and represent males and females equally. This paper analyzes the gender representations in three Ontario elementary school Social Studies textbooks. Across textbooks there were significant disparities in the contexts and images used to depict males versus females. This paper explores these discrepancies, how they influence children’s constructs of gender and what these developments mean in the societal gender landscape.

Fall 2016

Racial Discourses in the Media: Coverage of Toronto Police officers’ killings of Blacks versus Caucasians

Zahra Ahmed

It is apparent that racism within Canada exists, and that it affects many minority groups’ daily lives. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission when looking through the Ontario Rights Code under the grounds of discrimination “Race” is prohibited.  That being said, there is no clear definition of racial discrimination, which makes it much easier to occur and go unnoticed because it is not understood.  This paper explores the issue of negative stereotypes and racial discrimination related to the media coverage of deaths of individuals shot by police officers.  Research was completed on six Torontonian men killed by police officers within the last ten years and the media’s coverage of the incidents.  This research paper asks the questions: does the media portray Black and White victims killed by the police officers in the Greater Toronto Area in similar ways?

Fighting From Shackles: The Effectiveness of Nonviolent Resistance in Prisons

Reid Kennel

Prisoners exist in a unique environment of extremely limited rights and freedoms, and conditions within prisons are often oppressive in ways those outside its wall cannot understand.  This leaves the prisoner as the one with the best understanding of what should be changed. This research project looks at nonviolent resistance as a method for those within the prison system to fight for change. By examining a series of hunger strikes that took place in California in 2013 and a nation-wide prison labour strike in 2016 and applying an advocacy effectiveness measurement tool, the following study suggests that nonviolent resistance offers the possibility of enacting large-scale policy change within the prison system. In light of the two aforementioned case studies, this thesis concludes that these efforts require creative methods of communication to be successful, and significant media engagement to influence public discourse.

What Does It Take to Prevent an Oil Pipeline in North America?

Maya Kihiu

This paper examines advocacy against the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline, and the Northern Gateway (NG) Pipelines, to identify who and what it took to prevent their construction. Critical advocacy in the three years leading up to the decision preventing each project, was reviewed and analysed. Modes of advocacy differed between the two cases, with anti-NG advocates focusing heavily on litigation, and anti-KXL advocates employing direct action and legislation. Across both projects, however, the most powerful actors were coalitions/alliances, and government/government-affiliate solo actors.  The analysis of these modes and actors led to three conclusions.  First, that alliances and coalitions were the most utilised and effective tool of advocacy. Second, in the U.S, the significance of electoral politics' ability to shape advocacy outcomes rivaled that of alliances. Third, all the tactics that generated positive results, were highly expansionary in nature.

Restorative Justice and Sexual Assault

Ashley Lamoureux

This paper examines the webpages of two restorative justice programs that work with survivor victims and people who have offended sexually: Revive in Kitchener, Ontario and Project Restore in Aukland, New Zealand. Restorative justice programs typically do not address cases of sexual assault due to the sensitive and particular nature of sexual misdemeanor and felony crimes.  The programs that do exist, such as Revive and Project Restore must therefore address certain needs and concerns that survivor victims, people who have offended sexually, and the general public may have.  With the Internet being a frequently utilized source of information in the present day, this paper examines the webpages of Revive and Project Restore to see how those webpages address the particular needs and concerns that arise in cases of sexual assault.

The News Media’s Portrayal of School Shootings in America: How the Media Would Have You Remember a Killer

Katherine MacGregor

This research paper looks at the video news coverage of the Columbine High School Massacre (1999), the Virginia Tech. Massacre (2007), and the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting (2012). The archives used were of five well-known American news media sources (ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, and CNN). The goal of this report is to show that what news media corporations decide to show to their audience effects how people will remember and perceive the event and the assailants involved. Through dissecting various news broadcasts, this research highlights how easy it is for misinformation to be remembered.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Unconventional Therapies in the Treatment of Depression

Tianna Noble

The mental illness of depression is a leading cause of disease burden, leaving 1 in 5 individuals to suffer from the illness in their lifetimes (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2016). The sheer prevalence of the illness provides reason to discuss possible ways to combat the disease. There are primary ways to treat the illness: cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and anti depressant medications. However, there are alternative treatment options that should be considered that may better fit an individual’s economic and social circumstances. The primary question this research explores is: what are the benefits and drawbacks of unconventional therapeutic interventions such as Game-Based, Emotional therapy, and art therapy on the treatment of depression? This research is primarily focused on treatment options available in North America and assesses cost, accessibility, safety, time and effectiveness at reducing depression. 

Race and Inequality: Social Justice

Frederica Otchere

The objective of this paper is to analyze the depictions of African Canadians residing in Toronto in print media and, to a lesser extent, explore the effects of those depictions.  Themes that are examined include the link between poverty, crime and media representation. Articles from The Toronto Star and The Sun newspapers are analyzed focusing on the depiction of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in 2016.  The research assessed the tone of the writing, the issues addressed, and the columnists’ profiles.

The Fall of The Twin Towers and the Rise of Discrimination

Irosha Perera

Canada has had a reputation for being secure. Canadians were admirable for their great quality of life without having to feel any trepidation or fear due to political instability or terror. The terrorist attacks on the twin towers in New York City on September 11th, however, changed this feeling of security.  This paper explores Islamophobia and the effects of 9/11 primarily on Toronto, but also draws on additional research from Ontario.  It includes issues such as representation in municipal government, education, unemployment, acts of discrimination, airport security and perceptions.  The paper concludes with a discussion of the importance of eliminating stigma.

Comparing Sexism in SNCC and SCLC: A Search for Black Female Identity in the Civil Rights Movement

Anneke Pries-Klassen

This paper investigates women’s experiences of sexism in the civil rights movement through a comparison of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee. A mix of primary and secondary sources were used, and modern concepts were applied to these organizations and the broader civil rights movement to determine the extent to which the organizations’ founders and institutional structures affected women’s experiences and roles. Women’s involvement in the movement has often been overlooked but this paper highlights the critical influence these women played on the formation of second wave feminism and intersectionality post-civil rights movement.

Laotian and Hmong Refugees: To be American or Not to be American

Sariah Rattana-Middleton

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as a result of the Vietnam war, Hmong and Laotian refugees poured into the United States as refugees.  Descriptions of the experiences of these refugee groups offer an example of the struggles that first generation immigrants went through as they adapted to American culture. Because of this struggle, an exploration of the effects of being placed within the very country that took militarized action in their homeland is warranted. The journey experienced by Hmong and Laotian refugees are explored in this paper through an examination of a series of narratives. The paper takes a glimpse at the refugee camp and relocation experience, offers a brief discussion of the war in Laos and the refugee camps that occurred as a result as well as the cultural practices that might carry or harm Hmong and Laotian people on their journey of adaptation and the relocation experience itself.

The Power of Discourse: The Russian and Chinese Vetoes on the Syrian Conflict on the Security Council

Sukhraaj Shergill

The issues debated before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) are often contested and controversial. The permanent members of the UNSC are able to shut down any Draft Resolutions if any one of the five permanent members views it as contrary to their own interests by exercising their veto power.  The Syrian Conflict sparked in March 2011 has led to a staggering death toll of approximately 301,781 people (Silva, 2016), and has been hotly contested in the UNSC.  This paper seeks to answer the question: in what ways do the permanent members’ justifications of utilizing their United Nations Security Council veto differ on the Syrian issue? The paper employs a qualitative research method of analyzing the discourse found within the meeting records of Draft Resolutions on the Syrian conflict from 2011-2016 that have been vetoed by one or more of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.  It focuses particularly on the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China. The discourse related to the vetoes is categorized in terms of political, economic or legal concerns.

Analyzing Positive & Negative Interpersonal Conflict Management Behaviour and Communication Portrayed on the Show Friends

Kaitlyn Skelly

This article conducts an inquiry based on the leading methods regarded by communication and peace scholars alike as the best ways to work through interpersonal conflict. These methods include best practices as well as behaviours to avoid in managing conflict and promoting healthy interpersonal communication. This article analyses a popular television show, Friends, to asses if it is portraying effective or destructive methods of conflict management. Operating under the premise that popular culture can be influential to its audiences, this article attempts to identify what kinds of conflict management practices are promoted in Friends in one relationship over several seasons. This article asks the question: Are the practices we learn from Friends teaching positive or negative behaviours to manage interpersonal conflict?

Full abstract title: “The One With The Dysfunctional Conflict:” An Analysis of Positive and Negative Interpersonal Conflict Management Behaviour and Communication Skills Portrayed on the Television Show Friends

Mediation in the Canadian Military: An In Depth Analysis of the Use of Mediation as a Form of Dispute Resolution

Raegan Zinger

Mediation is a process of conflict resolution that has become an integral part of responding to conflict within the Canadian Armed Forces. Although it does not have the same practices and techniques as the grievance system, which has been present for in the Forces for generations, it typically has better outcomes for ongoing relationships between members of the military. This paper explores the ways in which mediation has and may be helpful, utilizing information from the Conflict Resolution Centres and more general literature on mediation.  The paper examines ways in which individuals are able to get what they personally need out of the process instead of leaving the outcome up to a superior.