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Political Science PhD student receives SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

PhD student Liam Midzain-Gobin was awarded $105,000 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to research the effects of data collection on indigenous communities

Dec 13, 2016

Second year PhD student Liam Midzain-Gobin was recently awarded $105,000 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for his research on Indigenous peoples and data collection.

Midzain-Gobin's work aims to fill a gap in the literature around data collection and indigenous communities. While much work to date has focused on the question of how to get more representative and reliable data, this project seeks to advance an understanding of the effects that data collection has on indigenous communities themselves. Drawing on a collaborative, community-based indigenous research methodology, the project looks specifically at issues of representation and subjectivity within the data collection tools, such as the Aboriginal Peoples’ Survey and other Government and corporate surveys.

The project addresses two parallel, and perhaps contradictory, phenomena. That is, data collection can further reinforce settler colonial norms within indigenous communities through practices of epistemic violence, while at the same time also serving as a tool of empowerment for communities, especially when indigenous cosmologies are made central in the writing of these tools.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences.

SSHRC awards aim to develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement in undergraduate and graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities.