Current PhD Candidate Profiles

Julie Andreyev

2013 PhD Candidate

Emily Carr Diploma Fine Arts 1988; GLS MA SFU 1995-1999, SAR/GLS PhD 2017

Andreyev’s dissertation titled Biophilic Ethics and Creativity with More-Than-Human Beings is an interdisciplinary investigation into an expansion of ethics for more-than-human beings, examined through interspecies relational creativity in art processes.  

Abstract: Anthropocentric views historically have limited the potential of respect for other-than-human beings by promoting ideologies of human exceptionalism with regard to consciousness, reason and language. The doctrine of human supremacy has become normalized in capitalistic cultures, driving the domination and exploitation of other beings and natural systems for their ‘use-value’ as ‘resource,’ leading to today’s catastrophic harms of climate change, species extinction, ocean acidification, industrial farming, and animal slavery. As a means to counteract anthropocentrisms, this thesis proposes biophilic ethics and its constituent details—communicative ethics, biophilic attention, intentional relationality, interspecies generative indeterminacy—explored through art-action. The interdisciplinary investigation looks at methodologies in philosophy, ethics of care, ecofeminism, cognitive ethology, biology, naturalist methods, and aesthetics that interrogate beliefs in human superiority, and propose relational approaches to situate the human alongside Earth’s other beings within our shared ecosystems. The epistemological investigation is woven into ontological explorations rooted relational events that happened while conducting interspecies processes in Andreyev's art practice over the past decade. Each creative instance—with dogs, crows and stones, fishes, and forests—is examined for potentials towards ecological understanding and compassionate action.

Homepage  | julie_andreyev@sfu.ca

Eugenia Bertulis

2014 Phd Candidate

BA UW CHID 1998; BFA UW ID 1998; GLS MA SFU 2011-2014

Areas of Research:

1. Philosophical, anthropological and neo-animist definitions of the concept of “product”, particularly as embedded in systems of exchange, thus critiquing and providing opportunities for more ethical cycles of product creation.

2. Embodied modes of industrial design practice; emotional, visual, generative and analytical design production, in isolation and collaboration.

Jennifer Chutter

2015 PhD Candidate

BA UBC 1997; BEd UBC 1998; MA GLS SFU 2008-2011; MA History SFU 2014

Palimpsests & Place-making: an exploration of home in Vancouver

My research explores the points of intersection, overlap and possible divergence of views of home and place-making as expressed by citizens living in Vancouver as civic changes were made with regards to housing. In order to critically examine the ways in which citizens are actively expressing their feelings of attachment and belonging to the city, I will draw from theoretical frameworks in performance studies. I will pay particular attention to the language and actions used by citizens to demonstrate their rituals, patterns and protests in relation to domestic spaces.

Changes in domestic spaces also have a civic agenda of what is acceptable home-making is as the demolition and alteration of houses reveals changing ideas of gender, class and race. By tracing changes in domestic architecture, both historically and geographically, I will gain an understanding of how ideas of home and place-making have changed over time, which is important because the organization, structure and aesthetics of a neighbourhood today are a reflection of past municipal decisions. Rather than viewing houses as objects in municipal planning, my research will explore them as subjects in order to highlight their importance in the memories of people living both in the neighbourhood and in the houses themselves.  

Homepage  | jennifer_chutter@sfu.ca

Andrew Czink

2013 PhD Candidate

BFA SFU 2007; GLS MA SFU 2007-2013

My research plans for the GLS PhD have emerged directly from my current MALS Thesis Project entitled Sound Means: Auditory Experience and the Entanglement of Sound, Space, and Self. For the PhD I plan to narrow in on philosophical aspects of musical experience. I will explore music as a situated, embodied, cognitive and sonorous practice from the perspective of the composer/improviser/performer. Historically the roles of composer, improviser, and performer have become separate in European and New World practices which has resulted in a narrowed perspective and experience. The integrated practices of musicking (Small) enable a focus on the active making of music as a sensory, prosthetic practice where the intricate entanglement of action and perception may be fruitfully investigated. The term prosthesis is considered here from its etymological origin meaning to reach out further into the world. I intend to explore and develop the idea of music as prosthesis further to determine how it can newly characterize aspects of musical experience.

Margaret Easton

2013 PhD Candidate

BA Athabasca 1986; MA GLS SFU 2002; MA GERO 2013

If new insights about aging are possible (and I believe they are), they will emerge from a closer examination of the interaction of two distinct, although related (or allied) approaches to the study and meaning of old age: the search to find personal meaning in old age and the search for a meaning for old age. The first, the search for personal meaning in old age - can perhaps be best described as the romantic, passionate approach to the study of aging that has been largely the purview of fiction, poetry, biography, autobiography, psychology, and theology. The search for a meaning for old age exemplifies the secular, rational approach to the meaning of aging, typically the focus of philosophy, history, and more recently, social sciences such as gerontology. There is much to be gained, I believe, from pursuing an interdisciplinary approach able to reconcile these two approaches to thinking about aging. I believe an interdisciplinary exploration of the alliance between literary and philosophical treatments of aging may well be the most promising avenue we have for exploring the meaning and implications of both our historical and current understandings of what aging means, and for recognizing the waning of personal meaning and personhood that we currently attribute to the aging process.

Homepage  | margaret_easton@sfu.ca

Duane Fontaine

2014 PhD Candidate

CGA designation: 1998; MA GLS SFU 2000 - 2005

Despite the near universal valorization of work, we may have now bypassed the window where political change can be expected from the working class. The worker todayis left in a state of decreased power and agency. Union membership continues to fall. Precarious work in the form of temporary contracts, unpaid internship, and chronic unemployment is on the rise. Stagnating wages exacerbate already rampant inequality. The jobs of the future, the few that might exist, will require levels of education and inherited wealth that are open only to a small elite.

My thesis is that a reliance on the old capitalist model of work will be insufficient to ward off the dystopian futures we have set in motion. I will focus instead on the meaning-making, freedom-enhancing potential of a transition away from work. I will accomplish this, first, by drawing upon the work of Smith, Hegel, Marx and Weber to outline how we arrived at our current views of work. Next, I will examine the dialectical struggle between meaning and freedom and its possible resolution in a future of no work. In doing so, I will look first to the pre-modern sources of meaning such as the individual citizen’s relationship to the polis or civitas, and the identity that emerged from that relationship. I will also examine the individual and political sources of eudaimonia and how those too might contribute to meaning. I will also examine modern definitions of freedom to determine what freedoms and whose freedoms are worth pursuing.

A future of no work is admittedly utopian. However, it has a long history rooted in rational thought and progressive ideals. It is not an impossible future; either from a technical or sociological perspective. It is, however, a problem of political economy and political will. This too will be a point of conceptual investigation for my thesis: the political possibilities for a future of no work and the transitional strategies, such as basic income, that might be successfully deployed in bringing about this vision.

Homepage  | dfontain@sfu.ca

JJ Hill

2014 PhD Candidate

BA Criminology/Sociology SFU 1993; MA GLS SFU 2008-2012

My project will be an exploration of the methodological tensions and modalities of experience expressed by the language, images and poetics contained within the schizophrenic dialogues. By investigating and elaborating on the disagreements found within the time frame of 1955 to 1965 and the work of professionals such as Erving Goffman, Thomas Szasz, RD Laing, Erich Fromm and the founders of the Chestnut Lodge who continue to have an influence on the field of mental illness. I would like to further investigate these stories, the narratives and the journeys of the schizophrenic. I am interested to explore whether there may be recurring themes, symbols or images operating within the language of the schizophrenic as an individual, the language of psychiatry as embodied in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the emerging cultural phenomenon associated with mental illness as may pertain to the  autobiographical concept of self and creativity.

These potential areas of research will focus on a particular period of time (1955 to 1965) and how the use of language and perception surrounding the mentally ill that appeared in psychiatry, the institutionalization of the mental ill, the phenomenology of self, and the developing field of creativity and consciousness. This is very much a continuation of my previous work undertaken while researching and writing my M.A. a project that focused on Erving Goffman and the year he spent in St. Elizabeth's during the mid-1950’s, a time that foresaw many of the changes we see today that have occurred in psychiatric practice and psychiatric care.

Nash Kassam

2014 PhD Candidate

BASc 1990; MBA 2003; MA GLS SFU 2009-2014

My research intends to explore the role and limits of markets in contemporary society. The research intends to examine the notion of morality itself: morality within a market structure does not refer to some universal ethical standard, but rather what a society, or group, defines as good or bad, legitimate or inappropriate. I will explore several case studies within the market and moral intersection, the purpose which will be to examine what leads to the creation of new boundaries at the intersection and whether these boundaries lead to a redefinition or creation of new moral categories.

The research is interdisciplinary and will draw on several disciplines that will seek to: establish a framework delineating basic moral  imperatives; explore the role of marketing thinking as means of human motivation and redefinition of moral norms and attitudes; explore markets as cultural phenomenon and whether this phenomenon defines moral worth; and finally to explore questions about what governs humans actions, intentions and values, and what gives us our specifically human and personal moral identities.

Sandra Lockwood

2014 PhD Candidate

BA UofT 1983; MFA Emily Carr 2007; MA GLS SFU 2007-2013

Starting with the three great quests of the twentieth century – the South Pole, Mount Everest, and the Moon – my PhD inquiry "Thin Places" aims to examine human motivations to venture into sublime yet perilous environments and our impact upon them. I am especially interested in the environmental ethics of journeying to places not meant to accommodate human life, requiring a great outlay of material  resources and technological invention, and where human presence has adverse consequences for the place itself.

My research question is twofold: Firstly, how can we turn Thin Place ambitions from ones that value human supremacy and attainment to ones that advocate for the Thin Place itself? Can we evolve from conquering the mountain to championing its right to exist? Secondly, Thin Places resonate with humanity on a deep primeval level. Can we harness this emotional fascination to engage collectively and compassionately to change destructive human behaviour? We can’t survive in Thin Places but perhaps they can teach us something about the nature of survival.

Homepage  |  sel6@sfu.ca 

Dariya Prykhodko

2015 PhD Candidate

MA GLS SFU 2010 Cohort

The Construction of Cultural Narratives: Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great in Russian Folklore, Literature and History.

How does it happen that a leader notorious for cruelty acquires the status of a genuine folk hero? The proposed investigation seeks answers as to why some leaders are idolized and how this may change over time. In other words, I aim to investigate the transformation of a historical leader figure into a myth. What qualities in a leader are necessary to acquire a myth in cultural memory? What conditions–personal, historical, economic and psychological–are necessary to give potency to such myths? These are the central questions of my proposed PhD
research.

Kerstin Stuerzbecher

2015 PhD Candidate

Langara College Diploma Nursing 1986; BA, SFU 1990;  MA GLS SFU, 1996 Cohort

Empathy, Care and ‘Redundant Humans’ – Limits and Possibilities

Stuerzbecher’s interdisciplinary research project aims to participate in and contribute to current discourse on society’s care for those of its members who are suffering from social exclusion due to poverty, mental illness, addiction and homelessness. It will explore notions of care within moral philosophy and virtue ethics, sociology, as well as religious studies, and investigate their contributions to a more nuanced societal approach to and understanding of the care of the marginal.

The social institutions that have been established to address the needs of the marginal often appear to work in ways that leave the circumstances of many marginal persons unchanged, and at times made worse, raising questions as to how society is to move forward and address the issues that contribute to marginalization in progressive ways.

Central to this investigation is how “care” is defined.  Traditionally care of the marginal has been focused on meeting the basic needs of a person such as food and shelter, and been increasingly expanded to include access to a variety of services.  However, is care about offering services or is care to be understood as a more complex concept, establishing social relations that assist people to feel connected to society as active contributors and make engaging in daily life a more rewarding experience? In short, how broadly is the concept of care to be conceptualized?

Homepage  | kstuerzb@sfu.ca