Most of my research revolves around free expression in its various legal, philosophical, policy, and political dimensions. In the contemporary moment, free expression looms large. Particularly on university campuses, there has been no shortage of cases and controversies over the past decade. While criticism of contemporary higher education has always been a pillar of the still smoldering culture wars, the issue has now moved from op-ed pages to official government policy.
Following the election of majority Conservative governments in Ontario (2018) and Alberta (2019), post-secondary institutions in these provinces were compelled to amend or create policy statements protecting free expression. Despite a wealth of research about free expression on American college and university campuses, Canada is still relatively understudied. My research addresses this gap with a novel blending of political theory and philosophy with empirical data gathering.
My major current research project is a book manuscript under contract with University of Toronto Press. This project includes some key pieces of my PhD dissertation, along with new data and analysis. Seeking to bridge the academic / non-academic divide, the book will equally appeal to academic audiences and general interest readers that would like to better understand the politics of free expression in Canadian higher education.
My previous postdoctoral project (as the Skelton-Clark Postdoctoral Fellow in Canadian Affairs at Queen's University) examined the law and politics of extending constitutional protections for expression (i.e. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms) to university campuses. This work was divided into two smaller projects: 1) an examination of expressive limits on campus in law and policy, including relevant case law; and 2) a comparative analysis of American and Canadian case law on student codes of conduct and student disciplinary proceedings.
The general focus of my dissertation (and book project) is trying to understand the political contours of free expression on campus and how and why free expression became one of the most noticeable fractures in contemporary campus politics. I use a qualitative, mixed-methods approach that includes: reviews of relevant literature, legal analysis, media analysis, semi-structured personal interviews, and freedom of information requests. Primary data collection includes over 80 interviews with students, faculty, administrators, journalists, pundits, and activists, and several thousands of pages of records gleaned from freedom of information requests.
Journal Article (in progress): "Is There a Non-Liberal Version of Free Expression"
Journal Article (in progress): Student Codes of Conduct and Free Expression: Is There Room for Constitutional Law?
Journal Article (in progress): "When 'Eurabia' Met 'Canuckistan:' Islamophobia and the Politics of Free Expression"
2) Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL)
I also research teaching and pedagogy in the field of Political Science, contributing to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). My current projects in this field include: reflections on student-led teaching training and professional development opportunities, a project examining student perceptions of undergraduate courses (at Queen's University), and a project examining the current state of teaching training in Canadian Political Science graduate programs.
You can find more details about my teaching experience (and research related to teaching) in the 'Teaching' section of this site.
Works in Progress
Book Chapter (in progress): "Teaching As A Form of Student-Led Professional Development" (with Meagan Auer, Noelle Jaipaul, Elise Sammons, and Rissa Reist)
Journal Article (in progress): "Student Perceptions of Political Science Courses" (with Michael Murphy and Samantha Twietmeyer)
Journal Article (in progress): "Teaching Training and Mentorship in Canadian Political Science Programs" (with Meagan Auer, Noelle Jaipaul, Elise Sammons, and Rissa Reist)
3) Subcultural Studies and the Politics of Alternative Sport
Lastly, I have published in the field of sport sociology, including research that examined the politics of (alternative) sport and subcultures. In this work I explored a number of themes related to skateboarding subculture: the concept of subcultural escapism and the political significance of alternative forms of meaning; how film has been significant in the development of skateboarding subculture; and the potential ramifications of skateboarding becoming a 'sport' at the Olympic Games.