Eisenberg, Avigail

Professor

Contact

Phone number: (250) 853-3528
Email: avigaile@uvic.ca
Department: Political Science

Research description:

-Indigenous Peoples and governance
-Religion, citizenship and diversity
-Minorities and the norms of effective participation
Expertise Profile
Politics in the 20th and early 21st century,especially since World War II, are about minority rights, says political scientist Avigail Eisenberg, who studies and teaches political and democratic theory.

Her research focus is on minority rights and identity politics, and the political attitudes and movements built around groups that distinguish themselves on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. "What I study is woven into nearly every aspect of politics, so as a political junkie, I see it everywhere around me."

Western societies are not only committed to individualism, she says. Groups are at the heart of western politics. People want to be recognized as part of a group--as a woman, as an Indigenous person, a Canadian, as a member of a racial minority, or as a member of a religious group.

Many groups have histories of mistreatment and marginalization, says Dr. Eisenberg, which can be ignored if our courts and legislatures only pay attention to the wrongs done to individuals. "We have to challenge the idea that Canada is a society based only on individuals if we want to remedy such historical injustices."

Dr. Eisenberg teaches a senior-level undergraduate seminar in identity politics where students explore the reasons why people have increasingly identified themselves with groups in the last 70 years or so. She has students read legal cases and policy documents. "I bring the circumstances of actual groups in our society into the classroom. It shows students what the courts are doing and how society makes decisions about identity politics."

Related Links
Dr. Eisenberg's Faces of UVic Research Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaSFZYGyBYY


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