Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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January 21, 2016 Mackintosh Corry D214, 1:00-2:30 pm

This talk is co-presented by SNID and the School of Environmental Studies

Jeff Masuda, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Equity, Queen's UniversityPhoto head shot Masuda

In this paper I will provide insights from a multi-year partnership project involving Queen's researchers, graduate students, and key organizations working in the areas of human rights, culture, mental health, and housing activism in Vancouver’s (nationally) infamous Downtown Eastside. Historically occupied by communities of Indigenous, Japanese, Chinese, and African ancestry who have each, in turn, been dispossessed of property, livelihoods, and culture, the neighbourhood is presently subject to rapid gentrification, a consequent and expected new dispossession of low-income inhabitants from their homes, ironically catalyzed by varied efforts by governmental and private sector efforts to re-brand the neighbourhood using narratives that are premised on a superficial acknowledgement but deeply economized notions of the area’s legacy as a racialized enclave in colonial Vancouver. Drawing on three years of research involving in-archival, interview, and arts based methodologies, I will peer into an ongoing community-driven process of integrating the rich discursive potential, as well as possible shortcomings, of mobilizing the “Right to Remain” as a counter-branding framework for local activists to confront the dispossessive forces of neoliberal urban change.

 Dr. Jeff Masuda holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Equity and is a health geographer and specialist in participatory research. One of Jeff's primary career motivations is to make environmental health research more responsive to the needs and priorities of society's most socially marginalized populations. To achieve this, he leads the Centre for Environmental Health Equity, a knowledge translation platform for enhancing linkages between community, research, and policy in order to address socio-environmental inequalities in health. He is an award-winning researcher and teacher and is well known for his expertise in integrating social theory, participatory action research, and arts aligned research methodologies to gain a better understanding of the social, cultural, historical, and spatial contexts of environmental health problems. His current major research efforts focus on mobilizing the human rights legacies of community uprooting and displacement in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside