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News Release

April 29, 2003

Professors receive funding for research in social sciences, arts, humanities

Six University of Guelph professors have received nearly $500,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), it was announced today. The funding will support inquiry into diverse areas ranging from West African integration, to women and writing in Victorian Britain.

“It is an exciting and exhilarating feeling to have my research project funded by SSHRC,” said history professor Femi Kolapo, who received $62,205 to study patterns of West Africa’s integration into a new international economic order. “If not for the SSHRC support, this would otherwise have remained a proposed research project forever in contemplation. I feel greatly motivated.”

The U of G professors are among researchers from 60 Canadian universities who will benefit from more than $73 million in funding that was announced in Ottawa by Rey Pagtakhan, minister of veterans affairs and secretary of state (science, research and development), and Marc Renaud, SSHRC president. Nationwide, 835 research projects were supported from two SSHRC programs: Standard Research Grants, which provide up to $250,000 over three years to researchers and small teams, and Initiative on the New Economy (INE) Research Grants, which are worth up to $300,000 over three years and promote projects that focus on aspects of the new economy.

“The SSHRC funding is welcome recognition of the high level of achievement of these U of G professors and their innovative research,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “Their work has the potential to change the nature of thinking and research across a broad spectrum of disciplines both nationally and internationally. It also will help stimulate a greater appreciation for the range and value of research in the arts and humanities.”

Other U of G funding recipients are:

-- Gerald Adams, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, $112,926 to study identity development among university students.

-- Susan Brown, School of English and Theatre Studies, $65,981 to study women and writing in Victorian Britain.

-- Ross McKitrick, Department of Economics, $134,000 to study air quality, health and emissions growth in the new economy.

-- Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, School of Landscape Architecture, $37,802 for research on the influence the Olmsted firm in Canada has had on Canadian landscape development.

-- Terisa Turner, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, $85,805 to study globalization and gender in Kenyan land occupations.

Created by an act of Parliament in 1977, SSHRC promotes and supports university-based research and training. There are more than 330,000 students and faculty working in the social sciences and humanities in Canada. The federal agency has a 2002-2003 based budget of $156 million and is governed by a 22-member council that reports to Parliament through the minister of industry. “Funding from SSHRC gives researchers the means to improve the way Canadians learn and interact with each other,” Pagtakhan said. “The Government of Canada’s commitment to exploring new ideas and strengthening our knowledge base will help improve the lives of Canadians across the country.”

Summaries of U of G Research Projects:

Gerald Adams: Adams will study identity development among university students. The longtime U of G professor is renowned for his work on adolescent identity development and has written a series of books that examine the effect parenting styles have on childhood and adolescent behaviour.

Susan Brown: Brown will use her SSHRC funding to assist her in writing a monograph history of women’s writing in Britain in the Victorian period from 1830 to 1895 titled “Contradictions and Continuities.” It will be the most comprehensive history of its kind to date. “It will also offer a means of addressing problems with earlier modes of writing literary histories that have brought the production of broad-based literary history to a virtual standstill.” The research emerges from and will be interwoven with the textbase of Brown’s Orlando Project, a collaborative electronic textbase in British women's literary history that is nearing publication.

Femi Kolapo: In his West African integration research, Kolapo will focus on the lower Niger River basin experience between 1807 and 1884. His research will take him to West Africa and to archival collections in the United Kingdom, France and across Canada. “I hope to contribute a more acute understanding of the contemporary problem of Africa’s economic decline and crisis of democracy and how these relate to the specific character of economic interaction between particular actors in local West African societies and the international market.”

Ross McKitrick: McKitrick is conducting three empirical studies of the relationship between economic growth and air quality over time. One project will look for ways to distinguish the roles of regulation and general technological change in urban air quality improvements to determine where the emphasis should be placed when seeking further progress. Another project will involve studying long-term Toronto data to measure the relationship between air emissions and hospitalization for lung-related ailments and to gain a better understanding of the social impacts of specific air pollution types. The third involves studying a new approach to projecting carbon dioxide emissions over the coming century.

Nancy Pollock-Ellwand
: She is examining the influence of projects by the famous American landscape design and planning firm founded by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. “It is clear that the Olmsted firm had incredible influence in the formation of the American landscape. The question is whether they had the same influence in Canada.” The firm had more than 100 jobs across Canada over an 80 year period – referred to as the Forgotten Landscapes of the Olmsted Firm. Pollock-Ellwand hopes to determine whether there is a discernable Olmsted philosophy and approach to landscape development and conservation, and if so, whether that was translated to the Canadian landscape through these projects, their disciples, their writings and their association with some of Canada’s “builders.”

Terisa Turner
: Turner will study globalization and gender in Kenyan land occupations. “In Kenya, there is a massive land occupation movement, led by old women who were central in the 1950s War for Independence, Land and Freedom, which resulted in the expulsion of the British settlers.” These women – most of them grandmothers now – are training their grandchildren to produce food for local markets and to heal land that has been badly damaged by chemical-intensive mono-crops such as coffee, tea and horticulture, Turner said. “This SSHRC research provides an opportunity for small farmers in Canada and internationally to learn from the Kenyan experience.”

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