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Queen's University

Mark Vardy

B.A., M.A. (Victoria) 
Ph.D. Candidate

Mark Vardy

Office: D416 Mackintosh-Corry Hall
Phone:  613-533-6000 ext. 74718



Current Research

My dissertation, Knowledge, Action and the Changing Arctic Environment, explores the ways in which environmental changes in the Arctic are becoming known and acted upon. I am interviewing Inuit leaders, scientists and policymakers about their understandings of the social and political implications of three discreet cryospheric entities – ice sheets, permafrost and sea ice – which will form the bases of separate but related case studies. The purpose of considering each cryospheric entity individually is to explore the specific social and political implications associated with it. The possibility of nonlinear ice sheet disintegration raises questions about how and what we know of the future of environmental change, while permafrost thaw presents immediate and long-term challenges to the stability of Arctic infrastructure, coastlines and communities. The decline of the extent and duration of sea ice, which is a constitutive element of Inuit territory, disrupts traditional ways of life and potentially makes the Arctic more accessible to destination shipping and resource extraction. Taken together, the three case studies provide rich empirical material to consider a range of issues related to science, everyday experience, sovereignty, social justice, democracy, and environmental change.


Martin Hand (supervisor); Sergio Sismondo; Mick Smith; Peter Harrison

Areas of Interest

environmental sociology; sociology of scientific knowledge; science and technology studies; critical theory; social and political thought; public policy; program and policy evaluation.

Research Background

My interest in environmental sociology stems from my experiences, as a teenager and in my early 20's, planting trees and living on a sailboat on the coast of British Columbia. I also owe a great deal of my sociological understandings to my experience of being a full-time single parent.

I began my undergraduate degree part-time at Camosun College when my daughter was three years old and started at the University of Victoria full-time when she began Grade One. While earning a major in sociology (honors) and a minor in journalism, I worked several co-op work terms as a reporter for community newspapers in Victoria and Sidney, both on Vancouver Island, and in the central B.C. town of Smithers. I also worked as an intern and subsequently as a regular freelancer for the alternative newsweekly in Victoria, Monday Magazine, as well as for the University of Victoria Alumni magazine (see below for writing samples). With the offer of a UVic Fellowship in 2005, I decided to take a Masters degree. At the time, climate change was on the periphery of public consciousness. The assumptions about science, society, nature and politics which underpinned public discussions of climate change seemed to me to require critical examination. After my MA, and before beginning my PhD, I worked for the Government of British Columbia where I researched and wrote evidence-informed scoping reviews on a number of different issues, including the legacy of colonialism on aboriginal populations, effective public service leadership, and ways to factor social considerations into "triple bottom line" accounting. I also worked with several others to research and write the curriculum for a four-day course, for government policy analysts, on evidence-informed policy making and program and policy evaluation.


  • University of Victoria. 2005–2007. Masters of Arts Sociology. Specialization in Cultural Social and Political Thought.
    Thesis: Climate Change at the Intersection of Science, Society and the Individual.
  • University of Victoria. 2001–2005. Bachelor of Arts, with distinction. Honours in Sociology, Professional Writing Minor in Journalism and Publishing. Arts Co-op.
  • Camosun College and Open University. 1999–2001. University transfer courses.


  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. CGS Doctoral Scholarship 2009
  • Queen’s University Tri-Council Recipient Recognition Award (TCRRA) 2009
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. 2006. Masters Scholarship
  • University of Victoria Presidents Scholarship 2006. Masters Scholarship
  • University of Victoria Fellowship 2005. Masters Scholarship
  • John Locke Malkin Entrance Scholarship 2001-2005. Undergraduate Scholarship
  • British Columbia & Yukon Community Newspaper Association 2003. Annual Award

Peer Reviewed Publications

Selected Creative Non-fiction Writing Samples

Selected Work Experience

  • Public policy researcher. June 2008 – August 2009.
    Knowledge and Information Services, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Government of British Columbia.
  • Research assistant. February 2008 – April 2008
    University of Victoria, School of Social Work
  • Teaching assistant. September 2005 – April 2006
    Department of Sociology, University of Victoria

Selected Conference Presentations

  • "Science, Sovereignty and Climate Futures: The Challenge of Communicating aboutDynamic non-linear (natural) systems withinDynamic non-linear (social) systems. International Polar Year. Montreal. 2012
  • "Sovereignty as a Social Issue: The Case of Inuit Nunangat." Northern Research Forum Open Assembly. Hveragerði, Iceland. 2011. (Click here for a video of my presentation.)
  • "The Ontological Geopolitics of Canadian Sea Ice." Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting: Montreal 2010.
  • "Climate Change Beyond the Horizon of Intelligibly: The Politics of Non-linearity." British Sociological Association Annual Conference: Glasgow, 2010.
  • “Metaphysical Closure and the Political Articulation of Climate Change.” Nature Matters: Materiality and the More-than-Human in Cultural Studies of the Environment: Toronto, 2007.
  • “Shifting Strategies and Climate Change.” Environmental Studies Association of Canada Annual Meeting: Saskatoon, 2007.
  • “Radical Phenomenology: The Attunement to Possibilities.” Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting: Saskatoon, 2007.
  • “Religion, Science, and Origins: On the Metaphysics of Intelligent Design and Darwinian Evolutionism.” co-presented with Daniel Lett. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting: Saskatoon, 2007.
  • “The Historical Roots and Possible Futures of Phenomenology in Dorothy Smith’s Institutional Ethnography.” University of Victoria Sociology Symposium, 2007.
  • “Subversion in the Footsteps of Corporate Hegemony? The Case of the Blackspot Sneaker Anticorporation.” Society for Socialist Studies Annual Meeting: Toronto, 2006.
  • “Climate Change: The Sense of Epochal Shift?” University of Victoria Cultural, Social and Political Thought Colloquium, 2006.

Institutional Service

  • PhD student representative. Dept of Sociology. Queen's University. 2011-present.
  • Department of Sociology Graduate Student Representative. University of Victoria. 2005 – 2006.

Community Involvement

  • Young Parents Support Network. 1998 – 2001, Program facilitator, advocate. 2004 – 2009, Board of Directors, President.
  • Michigan Street Community Garden. 1999 – 2002. Board of Directors.
  • Single Parent Resource Centre. 1998 – 2000. Intake and peer-support worker.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000