(Sociology & Anthropology

Spring 2023 Colloquium Series

March 02, 2023

Understanding Housing Inequality in Canada

Guest speaker: Dr. Yushu Zhu
Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Public Policy, Simon Fraser University

TUESDAY, March 14, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 PM



The neoliberalization of housing policy and housing financialization in Canada over the past four decades have brought unequal impacts on housing outcomes for Canadians. How is housing inequality manifested in the neoliberal era compared with the pre-neoliberal era? Who is bearing the brunt of housing neoliberalization? In this talk, Yushu draws on eight waves of census data to address these questions and uncover the trajectory and changing mechanism of housing stratification in selected Canadian census metropolitan areas, over a period when Canada transitioned from a welfare housing regime to a neoliberal regime.

Yushu Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Public Policy at SFU. Trained as an urban geographer, Yushu critically engages multidisciplinary perspectives to examine housing and community issues through the lens of housing inequality, urban development and redevelopment, and civic engagement. Her research seeks to understand the institutional and structural forces driving residential stratifications, as well as the roles of housing in shaping resident behaviours and wellbeing. She is a recipient of multiple SSHRC grants and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Fellowship. In a current Partnership Grant project, titled Community Housing Canada, she works with a group of housing researchers to examine the policies, models and tenant experiences in the community housing sector, with special attention to vulnerable populations.

Register on Eventbrite link to receive a Zoom link prior to the event.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to

Dr. Andrea Hoff
Shadbolt Fellow in the Humanites, Simon Fraser University

TUESDAY, February 14, 2023 

As a 2022/2023 Shadbolt Fellow in the Humanities at SFU, Andy Hoff (she/her) embarked on the project titled Drawing to Inclusion, a journey in collaboration with the self-identified community of disabled and neurodivergent students, scholars, and staff at SFU. The premise of the project began as a reflection on Andy’s own experiences in academia as a neurodivergent and invisibly disabled artist and scholar. A desire to share stories as a community and to amplify our presence in academia by means of translating our stories back onto the university through the video mapping of a collective animation projected onto the architecture of the Burnaby campus. Interesting as a meta-narrative, more challenging in reality. What transpired in the first half of the fellowship led to an understanding of how complex this undertaking was; how entering a community requires time and humility. Questions of authorship, storytelling, and an understanding of the multiple perspectives at the foundations of community reoriented the work. Refocusing on the question: how do we create a culture of wellness? the project has evolved into something different than it was at the start, something more vulnerable, and hopeful, and open. In this talk, Andy will share the journey of the project and discuss the flux of art and artist in the process of creating Drawing to Inclusion.

Andrea/ Andy Hoff (she/her) is an interdisciplinary media artist and writer. Her work explores methods of social and environmental interaction focused on inclusion, other-than-human centring, and speculative worldbuilding. Through investigations in form, surfaces, and materiality her works merge the perception of light, colour, and narrative in multiple media. She is also a Ph.D. Candidate in Language & Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia where she co-creates comics about the future with young people as a way to access agency in the Climate Crisis. Her art and writing have appeared in Broken Pencil, The Tyee, Room Magazine, and Display Canadian Design as well as in exhibitions in Canada, Australia, Germany, and Iceland. Her films and animations have been screened at the Berlinale Talent Campus, FIFA World Cup, Winnipeg Short Film Festival, NYU Film Festival, Quickdraw Animation, and the international collaboration One Day on Earth. She is currently working on a graphic memoir situated in the intersections of neurodiversity, motherhood, and academia and on an interactive animation project exploring ocean ecologies and cold-water swimming.

Find more of Andy’s work at

Dr. Keziah Wallis (Kāi Tahu)
Department of Social, Cultural and Media Studies, University of the Fraser Valley

TUESDAY, January 17, 2023

The shinpyu, or Buddhist novitiation ceremony, is arguably the most important ritual in Bamar Buddhist society. The Buddhist ritual as practiced in Myanmar and neighbouring Southeast Asian Buddhist societies has frequently been discussed by anthropologists and other scholars of religion as an important rite of passage for Southeast Asian men. In contrast, this seminar focuses specifically on the role of the shinpyu for Bamar women and upon women’s roles in the ritual. In doing so, Dr. Wallis’ purpose is not to undermine the importance of the shinpyu for the  men and boys who undergo ritual ordination, but rather to expand academic discussions on shinpyu and other rites of passage. Drawing on a womanist lens applied to extensive long-term ethnographic fieldwork with Bamar communities, she examines the ways in which the shinpyu impacts on and has meaning for Bamar women within the broader context of their culture. In doing so, she identifies four main aspects to the role of the shinpyu as a ritual of connectedness: a ritual of identity, connecting participants, Bamarness, and Buddhism; a ritual of maternity, connecting women to a discourse of motherhood as the ideal feminine role; a ritual of maturity, connecting a specific stage of the Bamar life course with a deeper engagement with Buddhism; and a ritual of community, serving to both create and perform community connections.

Keziah Wallis is a Māori anthropologist with whakapapa (genealogical) links to the Kāi Tahu iwi (tribe) of Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of New Zealand). She has conducted anthropological research in Myanmar for nine years on lived religion and women’s experiences of Buddhism. Her doctoral dissertation examined the role of reincarnation on Bamar ideas of connectedness, being, and belonging. More recently Keziah has begun conducting research in New Zealand around questions of popular media, cultural memory, colonial histories, and contemporary Māori experiences of belonging. As an Indigenous anthropologist, Keziah also has an ongoing interest in decolonisation of both teaching and research and has been working towards developing newer research methods for anthropological fieldwork that draw on non-Western ontologies.

Keziah completed her education at the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, Postgraduate Diploma in Film & Media Studies, and a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology and Religious Studies. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology programme at the University of the Fraser Valley where she teaches courses on a number of topics, including Indigenous research methodologies.