Dara CulhaneDara Culhane

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Two Shadbolt Fellows selected

March 01, 2012
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SFU has selected anthropologist Dara Culhane and sociologist Gerardo Otero as 2012 Shadbolt Fellows, an award that releases them from their teaching duties for two semesters to concentrate on their research or other creative projects.

Culhane’s research has concentrated on historical and contemporary relations between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian nation state; politics of indigenous women’s health; collaborative research methodologies; and urban studies.

Her interest in marginalized women’s stories led her to begin work on a book about her grandmother, Encore! Travels With The Ghost of Margaret Sheehy (1879-1956), which she hopes to complete during her fellowship.

“Margaret was an elocutionist, actress, playwright and member of a prominent family active in the cultural and political life of early twentieth century Ireland,” explains Culhane.

“She was banished for transgressing the prevailing norms governing gender and sexuality, and lived in self-described exile in Montreal from 1922-1939.”

She says Encore! inter-weaves historical and literary scholarship, interviews with descendants, photographs, archival collections, play scripts, and diaries to address questions about memory, auto/biography and the politics of performance in colonial/postcolonial/diaspora contexts.

Gerardo OteroGerardo Otero

Sociology professor Otero is an associate member of both the Latin American Studies program and the School of International Studies, and an adjunct professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico.

His research focuses on social movements, rural sociology, political economy, state-society relations in semi-peripheral nations, neoliberal globalism and agricultural biotechnology in Latin America.

He will spend his fellowship refining a predictive theory for how subordinate groups, communities and classes can empower themselves to reduce social inequality.

“I argue that the challenge for empowerment lies both at the bottom—building organizations with democratic leadership—and the top—dealing with the state,” he says.

Otero says he hopes his project, Empowerment Theory: Political-Cultural Formation and Social Movements from Below, will help social activists in guiding their political practices and help policy-makers shape state interventions.

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