People

 Viktorij Arsic

Program: MA.POLS
Hometown: Guelph, ON
Supervisor: Dr. Ian Spears
Research Interests: Conflict resolution, power sharing, sustainable development, social movements, and citizen empowerment. I will examine the presidency of Donald Trump (2016-present) through a Realist theoretical lens. To explore this, I plan to analyze the NAFTA negotiations between the USA and Canada as a case study, with emphasis on Canada’s Progressive Trade Agenda (PTA), the rise of New Nationalism, and anti-globalization populism. In doing so, I hope that my research will offer valuable insights regarding the theoretical framework that is driving Trump’s presidency, as well as offering meaningful and practical critiques of the Realist theoretical lens.

Program: PHD.POLS
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Supervisor: Dr. David MacDonald
Research Interests: My dissertation research is comprised of a comparative analysis of news media representations of Indigenous political issues and stories in Canada. The aim of my research is to understand the degree to which the news media have evolved or changed in response to the recommendations released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. A second area of research interest for me is the role of populism in Canadian federal and provincial politics, with a specific focus on political leadership and discourses among right-wing politicians and parties.

Yuriko Cowper-Smith

Program: PHD.POLS+IDEV
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Co-Supervisors: Dr. Candace Johnson and Dr. Leah Levac
Research Interests: Migration, civic and political engagement, and intersectional theory. My dissertation research investigates the relationship between diversity and political activism, with an empirical focus on the Rohingya community in Kitchener-Waterloo. My research has been supported by an Ontario Graduate Fellowship, and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. I am currently working at the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, Consulting business unit where I analyze organizationally-based qualitative and quantitative data related to diversity and inclusion. For three years, I have worked at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute at the University of Guelph in various capacities. I have completed projects for five community
partners. In 2016-2017, I was a part of a private sponsorship group for a family of Syrian refugees in Toronto.

Melane Davis

Program: MA.POLS
Hometown: St. Catharines, ON
Supervisor: Dr. Byron Sheldrick
Research Interests: Broadly I am interested in the affects social policy has on the most vulnerable people within our society. My research focuses on the impacts public policy has on marginalized groups, and how social movements mobilize to advocate for these groups, shape public opinion and discussion. Specifically, I intend to focus on the cancellation of the Universal Basic Income Pilot Project in Ontario.

 Charles Fairbank

Program: MA.POLS+IDEV.
Hometown: Oil Springs, ON
Supervisor: Dr. David MacDonald
Research Interest: My research is planning to examine the Liberal Party of Canada and its approach to Indigenous policy from the Chrétien era to Justin Trudeau (1990 to the present). To explore this, I plan to analyze political speeches, party platforms, news articles, government policies, and Liberal Party leaders’ reactions and responses to significant Indigenous policies through the lens of Settler Colonial Theory. In doing so, I hope to examine the tensions and challenges of achieving reconciliation and decolonization presently in modern Canada at the federal level. An analysis of the Liberal Party in a historical context will also reveal the changes or lack of changes the party has made responding to and addressing Indigenous issues.

Jackie Gillis

Program: PHD.POLS
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Co-Supervisors:  Dr. Leah Levac and Dr. David MacDonald
Research Interest: Jackie Gillis is a PhD student within the Public Policy and Governance stream. Her interests lie in Indigenous politics, intersectionality and Canadian public policy. More specifically, her research is centered on investigating the potential contributions of Indigenous cosmological values and traditional knowledge to climate change adaptation policies in the Canadian context.

Ezra Karmel

Program: PHD.POLS
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Supervisor: Janine Clark 
Research Interest: My research focuses on the impacts of decentralization on civil society in the Middle East. My interest in the topic emerged from my experience working for both local CSOs and an INGO implementing decentralization programmes in the region. My research will take me back there soon in order to conduct a cross-country comparative study

Gloria Novovic

Program: PHD.POLS+IDEV
Hometown: Ljubljana, Slovenia 
Supervisor: Dr. Candace Johnson
Research Interest: Gloria Novovic is an Ontario Trillium fellow enrolled in the collaborative PhD program in Political Science and International Development. Gloria’s professional experience encompasses positions in Serbian NGOs as well as programming and emergency roles at the United Nations’ World Food Programme. Her research lies at the intersection of public policy and feminist political theory. Gloria's doctoral research examines translation of gender equality norms from Agenda 2030 to national contexts of Rwanda and Burundi, particularly in relation to civil society engagement by UN agencies.

Sivhuoch Ou

Program: PHD.POLS+IDEV
Hometown: Kandal Province, Cambodia
Supervisor: Dr. Ian Spears
Research Interest: I was born in Cambodia following the fall of the Khmer Rouge, so my up-bringing in the post genocidal society informs my understanding and studies of politics. During my PhD fieldwork in 2016 and 2017, I used my local perspective to critically grasp politics in Cambodia. My PhD dissertation examines the consequences of repeated multiparty elections on authoritarian regime trajectories, using the case of Cambodia. Theoretically multiparty elections create diverging outcomes, stabilizing, destabilizing, or democratizing authoritarian rules depending on varied intervening factors such as the capacity of the ruling party, strength of the opposition, leverage of the Western states, and counter leverage of emerging donors primarily China. Prior to pursuing my doctoral degree at the University of Guelph, I was a research fellow at Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Cambodia’s largest research institution.

Nicole Scott

Program: MA.POLS
Hometown: Singhampton, ON
Supervisor: Dr. Dennis Baker
Research Interests: Public Policy, Law and Politics, Criminal Justice Administration, Judicial Decision-Making. I am currently studying judicial indiscretion in sexual assault cases and the potential advantages of judicial educative programs. In particular, the reliance on rape myths by legal actors in the Canadian court system and the need to reform sexual assault trial procedures. The project promotes strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system which can increase reporting of sexual assault. Additionally, I wish to examine pragmatic adjudication and the impact on the legal doctrine: stare decisis. This analysis incorporates the interaction between the judiciary and political actors as well as the potential effects on policy outcomes.

Yvonne Su

Program: PHD.POLS+IDEV
Hometown: Holland Landing, Ontario
Supervisor: Dr. Craig Johnson
Research Interest: Yvonne Su is a PhD candidate in Political Science and International Development at the University of Guelph. Her research focus is on climate change, resilience, migration and poverty and inequality. Yvonne has published on climate change-induced displacement, mainstreaming climate change resilience into urban policy, and applying the capabilities approach to the global governance of migration. Her current research is on post-disaster recovery, remittances, social capital, and development in Southeast Asia. Yvonne holds a Masters in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA(Honours) from the University of Guelph.

Andrew Train

Student: Andrew Train
Program: MA.POLS
Hometown: Stoney Creek, ON
Supervisor: Dr. Dave Snow
Research Interests: My research and thesis focus on cannabis legalization with specific attentiveness to intergovernmental and interprovincial policy diffusion. I have a keen interest in the various mechanisms that stimulate policy diffusion and wish to further explore the discourse and framing behind such diffusion.