FASS in the Class: The off-campus visit

Graduate student presentations

Bring SFU and FASS to your classroom virtually! We have a roster of highly successful FASS graduates who are keen to share their research and career journeys with your students. Each speaker will bring a unique perspective to their presentation and will add value to the learning experience by sharing their knowledge and expertise in a humanities and social sciences subject. 

Presentations are subject to change and limited to availability.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, all presentations are held on Zoom. 

Presentations list

Becoming #Ainu: Navigating Indigeneity in North America -Ideal for: Asian Studies 12, 20th Century World History 12, Comparative Cultures 12, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12

Presented by Cheyanne Connell

This presentation introduces students to the Ainu, an Indigenous group of Japan, and what it means to be Ainu in North America. Based on research conducted in late 2020, students will explore the history of Ainu, including policy-making and Ainu-Wajin (ethnic Japanese) relations; Ainu traditions and social life in Japan; and Ainu experience in present day, both in Japan and North America. From this, they will learn how social media plays a vital role in fostering Indigenous identities among urban Ainu in North America, and more broadly, urban Indigenous peoples around the world.

Believe it or Not - An Overview of Perceived Credibility - Ideal for: Law Studies 12 and Psychology 12

Presented by Madison Harvey

Understanding how witnesses are perceived by legal professionals is extremely important in understanding how legal decisions are made in the justice system. This presentation will explore the area of perceived credibility, and discuss factors that impact how a witness is viewed, such as witness characteristics like age, attractiveness, and race. Students will learn that evaluating a witness goes far beyond what they have to say.

Cemeteries: Life in the City - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12 

Presented by Kate Elliott

Can anybody visit a cemetery? Are you allowed to play sports in a cemetery? Do people live in cemeteries? -- Your presenter (who was once invited to live in a cemetery) will answer these questions, and will ask students to consider cemeteries as more than mere places of death. Students will be invited to consider the multiple roles cemeteries could play as community green space.

Citizen Participation in City-Making - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explores the ways in which ordinary citizens can help make practical improvements to spaces in our city. Students will explore interventions of various "artist-actionists" who help raise awareness about traffic flows, promote greater use of public spaces, raise awareness of the need for public amenities (drinkable water, washrooms) and increase food security. Students will be introduced to concepts such as guerrilla gardening, ephemeral art, and tactical urbanism, and will be invited to imagine interventions they could make in spaces they use.

Clinical Forensic Psychology: How Psychology Helps Predict Violence - Ideal for: Law Studies, Psychology

Presented by Madison Edge

This presentation will give a broad overview of the field of clinical forensic psychology and the education necessary to obtain a career in this area. The tools and techniques clinical psychologists use to predict and prevent acts of violence will be a strong focus, as well as current research conducted by the presenter on these topics. Factors that have been empirically shown to predict violence risk will be discussed with students via a hypothetical case and students will be exposed to major topics in clinical forensic psychology such as violence risk assessment and threat assessment.

Conspiracy Theories: A Philosophy Approach - Ideal for: Philosophy, Political Studies

Presented by Sherif Salem

Conspiracy theories have been increasingly popular over the past years. Why this is the case? What are conspiracy theories to begin with? Why are they appealing to many people? Can they be defended? What are their social and political implications? This talk aims to contemplate these questions from a philosophical perspective. Yet, I do not claim that we will reach any final answers!

Environmental Stewardship, Urban Infrastructure, and Magical Thinking - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explores what happens when the goals of multiple stakeholders (local, provincial, federal, transnational) conflict. Using the case study of the contested sewage treatment plant in Greater Victoria, students will examine why it took so long for the province's capital city to start treating its sewage. Looking at the political, environmental, and scientific messaging that contributed to confusion over the need for a treatment plant, students will be invited to offer examples of current issues clouded by mixed-messages.

Forensic Psychology—It’s Not What You See on TV - Ideal for: Law Studies 12 and Psychology 12

Presented by Madison Harvey

This presentation will give an overview of the topic of forensic psychology (the intersection of psychology and the law). A major focus of the presentation will be on current research happening at Simon Fraser University, particularly in the areas of witness credibility and memory. Examples involving real cases will help to illustrate the ideas to students. Possible education and career paths will also be discussed.

Presented by Vienna Chichi Lam

In this interactive presentation, Vienna will a) share stories about her criminological field research, b) discuss the utility of forensic entomology (insects) and anthropology (bones) in criminal investigations, and c) provide students with a hands-on activity to examine skeletal remains and the type of blowfly maggots that are commonly discovered at local crime scenes. These activities are designed to engage students and discuss the broader implications of how science is used or abused in the Canadian Criminal Justice System.

Forensic Science and Wrongful Convictions - Ideal for: Law Studies 12

Presented by Britny Martlin

Reliable forensic evidence is extremely important in the criminal justice system. This presentation will introduce the concept of wrongful convictions and discuss how forensic evidence has been used both in cases of wrongful convictions and to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted, focusing mainly on the Canadian context. At the end of this presentation students will have an understanding of the importance of valid scientific evidence and the criteria for admissibility of such evidence in the legal system.

Gentrification in Global Cities - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explains what we mean when we talk about gentrification, and offers chronologies of how this happens in cities that compete in a global context. Some case studies will demonstrate how this process affects urban environments and people. Students will be invited to examine gentrifying forces in places familiar to them.

It’s a fact! Or is it? The turbulence of gender. - Ideal for: Social Justice and Urban Studies

Presented by Reema Faris

Societies and cultures tend to think about gender as a system of binaries. That is, as two distinct and opposing categories of sex, gender, and gender presentation: male/female, man/woman, masculine/feminine. In this traditional approach, people can be certain about the identity of individuals and where they fit in the general scheme of life. But is gender really all that certain? What about those who do not fit in to either of the two boxes? And how do different theories about gender help to shed light on these questions? It is an important topic to explore because the concept of a gender binary has meant that many people, especially women and minorities, have been unable to claim agency (the ability to act on their own), economic independence, social freedom, reproductive choice, safety, and security. In this way, the gender binary helps to create and sustain social hierarchies. It is a key factor in perpetuating power, privilege, and status. However, there are always those who speak up and speak out to challenge the gender binary system in the struggle for equality, social justice, and fairness.

Jordan's Principle: Standing up for Children in the Past and Present - Ideal for: 20th Century World History and B.C. First Peoples 12

Presented by Leah Wiener

This presentation focuses on the history of Jordan's Principle, a goal set by the federal government to ensure that Indigenous children with complex medical needs can access care with minimal red tape. Leah will demonstrate how this principle has a long history by sharing how children have experienced poor medical care as a result of bureaucracies. This presentation will allow students to explore case files from the past, and will demonstrate the ongoing relevance of legislation such as the British North America Act and the Indian Act. It will also teach students about Indigenous history beyond the residential school system. This presentation would be appropriate for B.C. First Peoples 12, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12, 20th Century World History, Social Justice 12, or a Law Studies 12 class.

Life on the Front Lawn - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

As we examine the evolution and role of lawns in urban and suburban communities, students will be introduced to questions about ideas of "home" and social control through neighbourhood regulation of residential green space. Following an analysis of the ways lawns can affect human behaviour, students will explore the ways in which the choice of a lawn impacts other species. Students will be introduced to the Rights of Nature and to movements that promote this ecological philosophy

Put that Book Down! The Trope and the Truth About Women and Reading - Ideal for: Social Justice, English Studies

Presented by Reema Faris

The new Netflix series Bridgerton often show friends Eloise Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington reading or being told to put their books down. It is a new cultural representation of a historical trope. Societies view women readers with fear, anxiety, and suspicion because women who read are different. They are dangerous because they will learn, they will know too much, they will want more from life. Women have always challenged attempts to control or stop their reading, with different degrees of success around the world or based on different identities. Today, it is more important than ever to examine the relationship between women, reading, and power because the appearance of literacy being available to all women, especially in so-called equal-access digital environments, may be more of an illusion than real. Reading is still a key factor in women’s ability to understand life, wonder at the world’s beauty, build solidarity, make meaning, and fight for change to conditions that continue to limit their participation as citizens.

A Railway Siding Miles from Anywhere: The School and Dental Cars of Northern Ontario - Ideal for: B.C. First Peoples 12 and Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12

Presented by Leah Wiener

This presentation explores the fascinating history of railway classrooms and dentists offices, which enabled children in remote communities to get education and medical care in the early to mid twentieth century. The school and dental cars were classrooms and dentists offices that were operated by the provincial government, with cooperation from railway companies. Students will learn how ideas about education have changed over the past century, and how provisions for education and medical care were fundamental to Canadian settlement. We will also examine how Indigenous children experienced these programs as an alternative to residential schooling. This presentation would be appropriate for B.C. First Peoples 12, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12, 20th Century World History, Social Justice 12, or a Law Studies 12 class.

Science for Justice: An Introduction to Forensic Anthropology - Ideal for: Law Studies, Biology, Psychology

Presented by Britny Martlin

Have you always loved watching BONES or CSI? Have you always wondered how to identify somebody with only their bones? In this talk Britny will discuss her academic journey which led her to becoming a PhD student in the Criminology department at SFU as a forensic anthropologist. We will look at how forensic anthropology fits within the criminal justice system and some of the methods we use to locate and identify unknown deceased individuals based on their skeleton, as well as some of the experimental research that Britny has completed on saw mark analysis.

Serious Games – Serious Science: How Video Games are Changing the Way we do Research - Ideal for: Psychology

Presented by Robin Barrett

In this talk, Robin will talk about how he got into the world of eSports data science and give a tour of some of the latest findings from cognitive science, which have used replay files from eSports games to study the way in which people learn and acquire expertise over time. Students will leave this workshop with a better understanding of the types of careers that exist in cognitive psychology and will also engage in discussion as to how they can apply the findings from eSports research into their own life to better improve their study habits and learning practices.

Social Media & Online Political Activity - Ideal for: Political Studies, Social Justice, New Media. Available in French upon request.

Presented by Marybelle Issa

This presentation explores how technology and social media are shaping social interactions and political involvement in contemporary society. First, this research introduces various social media platforms and how they are being used for political activities such as debates/discussions, activism, and as a means of spreading and sharing information. Second, this presentation explores the ways in which technology and social media can exercise bias through censorship, algorithms and content moderation. Finally, the presentation will offer real life examples about how social media can be used to diminish the momentum of certain political movements and scrutinize activists, looking particularly at the case of Greta Thunberg and the movement of young activists for the climate.

Urban Dirt  - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

Where do cities hide their dirt? Who performs urban "dirty" work? Why do we cover so much of the soil in our cities with pavement and asphalt, and how does this affect the quality of the dirt in our cities? This presentation will  look at why the idea of "dirt" carries stigma when, as a finite resource, it is so valuable. After a quick look at organizations like the Depave movement that uncovers and cares for dirt in urban spaces, students will be invited to think about how they might care for the soil in their own communities.

Urban Space, Surveillance Regimes, and Social Control  - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

This presentation explores how spaces in cities are designed in ways that tell us who is allowed to be there and what activities are (or are not) permitted. What does this tell us about humans and the spaces we use? Students will be invited to examine public spaces in their own lives where there might be examples of hostile or defensive architecture, to discuss reasons why those spaces need "defending," and to collaborate in an imagined re-design to make a space welcoming and accessible.

Virtual Reality Research: An Intro to the Digital Frontier - Ideal for: Psychology

Presented by Robin Barrett

As virtual reality headsets become increasingly affordable, more and more people and businesses are seeing the potential for virtual reality to make an impact in their lives. Already, VR has been used to create digital training platforms, virtual communities, research environments for studying human psychology, and of course, games. In this workshop, students will be introduced to the world of virtual reality, with a special emphasis on research being done by labs at SFU. Following a discussion of what uses they think virtual reality might have in helping society, students will be introduced to the various roles involved in bringing an idea to reality and be encouraged to begin work on their own projects in virtual reality, whether it be making games, products, or building their own experiments into psychology.Students will be introduced to resources that are free and available to anyone with a computer, whether or not they have a headset of their own.

What do We Mean When We Talk about Street Trees?  - Ideal for: Human Geography 12 and Urban Studies 12

Presented by Kate Elliott

Are street trees part of the urban forest? What valuable services do the trees on our streets offer the city and the humans within it? As we look at street trees in the Lower Mainland, students will explore the many roles these trees play, the benefits they offer if appropriately selected, and the damage that can result if they are not.

Where Do Urban Indigenous People Belong? - Ideal for: 20th Century World History 12, Comparative Cultures 12, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12

Presented by Cheyanne Connell

This presentation introduces students to the study of urban indigeneity—Indigenous peoples living in cities and “non-Indigenous” environments—and offers a critical lens of how urban Indigenous peoples are talked about in scholarship. Students will explore the use of the diaspora framework, including the origin of the term diaspora; experiences of urban Indigenous peoples in Canada, the US and Japan, based on widely-circulated scholarship; and the shortcomings and problematic narratives of such scholarship. From this, they will learn how urban Indigenous experience in present day often contradicts the static traditional-based ideas of indigeneity and is more diverse and complex than most realize.

Bring us to your class!

To book FASS in the Class, fill out the request form. You can request multiple presentations with one submission.

FASS presentation request form

Contact us

For further information, please contact Kaitlan Davis, Coordinator, Recruitment, Community Outreach and Engagement.

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