Rebeccah Nelems

Rebeccah Nelems
2018-2020 Graduate Student Fellow

Rebeccah Nelems is a PhD student in the Sociology and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT) programs at UVic. Her research has been shaped by 15+ years of evaluating social change projects and training organizations in community engagement methods. During this time, she became fascinated with the contexts, processes and experiences that influence empathy in people, institutions, communities and societies. Following her participation in two Global Conferences on Empathy, she co-edited and contributed to the collaborative, interdisciplinary and international publication, Exploring Empathy (2017). 

Her doctoral project “Connection in the Digital Age” explores what young people in Canada and Ecuador feel connected to, and with whom do they experience a sense of empathy, belonging, responsibility, citizenship and kinship. Through this lens, she seeks to co-examine and learn from young people’s insights and experiences, including Indigenous young people and young people from the global South, about the conditions and possibilities for social change at this moment in the Americas. In particular, by drawing on Indigenous theory, Southern epistemologies and engaging in deep listening of young people’s stories, she will probe how young people are navigating institutions still largely defined by individualist, anthropocentric, us/them worldviews, amidst the resurgent tide of ecological, inter-connected, and relational ways of being in the Americas. 

She comes to us with a MA in Social and Political Thought from York University and a BA (Honours) in Philosophy and Literary Studies from the University of Toronto.