Sociology Graduate Students' Colloquium - Spring 2022



Tucker D. Farris ( he/they)

“ The Need for Sociology: Saga for the Doomed in the Strange and Terrible Modern Era"

A haze hangs over the contemporary world. The fabric of reality bends and twists beneath our feet. Time blends into a blur of imperceptible moments of a shattered dualism of manufactured consumerism, artificial emotionality, and the morbid transmutation of that which once was considered to be an authentic experience. Truth has warped and fragmented into a myriad of insular realities, isolated within their own folds of collective depravity.

And from the ashes falling upon our shoulders in the new age, in the new reality we find ourselves facing, emerges a need. A deep calling from the wells of shattered souls whose voices blend into the milieu of suffering surrounding them. That is the call, the desire, the need for the noble art of sociology. The sacred charge beating strong within the hearts of the practitioners of Durkheim’ s science of morality sings loudly out as the last vestige of hope for a collective social reality hurtling into oblivion.

This talk presents the need for sociology, it is a love song to the beauty of our craft, the need for our unique perspective and voice in light of terrifying emergent social trends. I t presents an argument for the necessity of our work, and for the potential sociology has within the worlds of academia and intellectualism to lead the world in a direction of progressive change, in short, how the noble calling of our craft, that disciplinary rarity that stands now as the last best chance to add nuance, meaning, narrative reflexivity and humanity back to a world striving ever-closer to a near total reduction of the warmth and dignity once described as the human spirit. I t is in effect, a call to action, a reassurance, and a collective acknowledgement of the uphill battle of our craft in striving to make the world a better place, and perhaps, in its entirety, a sadly hopeful discourse on the potentiality of sociology in the savage modern era.


Manda Roddick ( she/her)

“ Making Sense of the Unimagined: Explicating Rare Patient Healthwork Visually”

Rare disease patients face many challenges. For patients fortunate enough to have a diagnosis, affordable treatment, and supportive providers, accessing appropriate care often remains burdensome. In my dissertation, I explicate the healthwork of a rare patient navigating through the communal service spaces ( laboratory and pre/post-op surgery) of BC hospitals. Using Institutional Ethnography, I begin in the extensive everyday experiences of one patient living with an extraordinary body that must be processed through shared spaces using ordinary forms ( the primary text is a laboratory requisition form).  As I am writing up the ethnographic account, I have struggled to determine where/how I should use pictures or create diagrams to highlight aspects of rare patient healthwork that stem from trying to care for a body that has never been imagined by those designing the policies and practices that organize health care services in BC. In this presentation, I would like to show some of the images I am considering for my dissertation and would welcome any feedback other graduate students might have on whether the images helped them make sense of how a rare patient goes about the work of making appropriate care possible.


John Mills ( he/him)

“ Fathers, Fairness, and Foodwork”

In Canada, foodwork continues to be gendered in terms of who performs the material acts as well as the significance attached to the acts. Women are more likely than men to take on primary responsibility for foodwork, and women spend on average more time than men engaging in foodwork. I explore the experiences of male parents and their partners who are part of produce box programs in the region of Greater Victoria. By centering produce boxes, I hope to clarify the specific forms of foodwork involved in an increasingly prominent method of food distribution in Canada. I draw on food diary entries and semi-structured interviews to examine how different households divide responsibilities for foodwork and justify their arrangements. When I wrap up data collection and complete my thematic analysis, I anticipate learning more about how men from different households engage in family foodwork and frame their roles, particularly in terms of emotional significance. These findings will help us better understand both why gendered disparities in household labour continue to persist as well as how certain families have managed to establish equitable arrangements.


Sasha Zinovich ( she/her)

“ A Brief Discussion on Death in the Context of Medical Assistance in Dying ( MAID) in Canada”

This talk will provide a brief introduction to medical assistance in dying ( MAID) in Canada and will help to answer a number of common questions such as: what is it and who is eligible? The history and context of how Canada came to legislate MAID will be provided through a brief examination of the landmark court cases of Rodriguez ( 1993 ) , Carter ( 2015 ) , and Truchon ( 2019). The MAID bills ( Bill C-14 & Bill C-7 ) will be presented and the differences between the two will be described. Lastly, complexities in cases will be introduced in order to show some of the current debates taking place in Canada on this end-of-life health care service.


Alanna Cannatella ( she/they)

“ You Are So Much More Than Your Diagnosis: Exploring Subjectivity and Sense of Self While Living with a Chronic Sexually Transmitted Infection”

This presentation will provide a brief overview of the project-specific context and the current state of my MA thesis, which is on the topic of stigma and sexual health, and looks at the lived experiences  of individuals  living with  chronic  sexually transmitted  infections ( STIs).  By conducting interviews with individuals who have been formally diagnosed with a chronic STI, I investigate how living with a STI might impact one’ s sense of self/identity, self-worth, personal and social experiences/interactions, sexuality and/or sexual desires, and relationship to the body. I also focus on how living with a STI might come into play within past, current, or future romantic/sexual relationships, as well as interactions with family or friends regarding the diagnosis. This research looks to normalize and destigmatize living with chronic STIs by exploring the nuances of informants’ lived experiences, and ultimately aims to identify clear areas of development and suggest specific improvement of sexual health and STI-specific supports and resources.


Zeina Hammoud ( any pronouns; they/them)

“ How families work in crisis: An analysis of domestic labour expectations among queer- parented families during COVID-19”

The primary goal of this research is to provide an analysis of how queer parents in Canada have navigated and negotiated domestic responsibilities during COVID-19. I will be utilizing both intersectional feminist and critical queer methodologies to examine diverse family structures, paying special attention to how domestic labour is conceptualized and divided among parents and caregivers. Although the experiences of families under intensive situations like COVID-19 will vary across social categories and geopolitical situation, parents of younger children have generally been forced to respond to disruptions in childcare routines and do more household labour. There is a dearth of research existing on queer- parented families under crisis compared to literature focusing on heterosexual-parented families; this gap in research motivates my research. Of what literature does exist, there are trends of queer parents more equally dividing household labour during “normal times”— or when crisis is not inflicting society. However, we still need more information about family systems under crisis. This research will thus provide important knowledge about queer family systems under crisis, reveal interpersonal experiences during an evolving pandemic, and also uncover how governmental responses to crises encourage or prevent resiliency among families.


Talya Jesperson ( she/her)

“ A Siri-ous Conversation About AI”

Voice assistants are a remarkable example of the potential for AI to become further entwined with social life. However, they are produced by some of the world’ s largest tech corporations and are rooted in capitalistic processes that depend on user data. This talk presents a qualitative exploratory study of voice assistants. Through a combination of interviews and theoretical analysis, it focuses on participants’ perceptions and experiences with these AI agents and how they are embedded in the bigger picture of surveillance capitalism. The findings reveal the physical characteristics and personality traits that participants in this study ascribe to voice assistants, highlighting the implications of treating voice assistants as personified agents and the factors contributing to these perceptions. Further, it examines how surveillance capitalism is present in participant interactions with these technologies and identifies how its reach into people’ s lives is provoked by their design and background contexts.