Alberta Humanities Research Grant


Determining older women’s experiences of companion animal death, and impacts on wellbeing and aging-in-place

The KIAS-CIH Alberta Humanities Research Grant for 2020-21 was awarded to Dr. Cary Brown (Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta), Dr. Donna Wilson (Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta), Dr. Eloise Carr (Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary), and Dr. Jean Wallace (Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary). Companion animal (CA) death is very difficult for older people; it can significantly affect successful aging-in-place, particularly for women as they more often live alone, live longer, and have less financial resources. CA benefits include physical activity, improved sleep, reduced pain, more social engagement, decreased loneliness and emotional support. With CA death, bereavement grief can be devastating. Grief over spousal, parental or child death has well known gendered aspects, and successful interventions/supports reflect this. There is limited research on gendered aspects of CA-related grief, thus limiting development of effective grief strategies. Our concern is that CA grief often reduces older women’s ability to successfully age-in-place. Through phone interviews, we will explore older women’s experiences of CA death and grief-recovery strategies. vGiven the paucity of existing knowledge about women’s CA grief and recovery, it is important to gain insight from women themselves by giving voice to their experiences, and in turn developing a strong conceptual foundation, particularly in relation to maintaining successful aging in place.


Tools and Resources for Indigenous Family Survivors of Violence

The recipients of the 2019-20 KIAS-CIH Alberta Humanities Research Grant, Dr. Gina Starblanket (Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary) and Dr. Tasha Hubbard (writer, filmmaker, and an Associate Professor in Native Studies at the University of Alberta) are the principal investigators of a research team developing Tools and Resources for Indigenous Family Survivors of Violence.

The research team produced eight booklets that focus on the themes and information identified as useful by the family of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous youth who was killed in 2016 in Saskatchewan. Booklet themes include foundational knowledge, how to work with the media, understanding the criminal legal process, and lists of relevant community organizations and legal resources available for families. Colten Boushie’s family not only suggested the themes based on their experiences, but are also involved in revising the booklets.

Tools and Resources for Indigenous Family Survivors of Violence is in the final stages of editing for accessibility and online design and will be released on September 16, 2020, as part of the online release for nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up. The film outreach team has a partnership with the National Association of Friendship Centres, and they have adapted the guides for other provinces and territories, and will distribute the printed guides, once completed.

The Regulation of Sexual Violence in Canadian Contexts: New Philosophical Questions

A second award was made to support the costs of a symposium on the philosophical questions raised by attempts to regulate sexual violence — most obviously in Canadian criminal law, but also in institutional policies (such as campus sexual violence initiatives), and in parallel legal systems (such as Indigenous law).

Principal investigators, Dr. Cressida Heyes (Professor of Political Science, H.M. Tory Chair, University of Alberta) and Jennifer Koshan, LLM (Professor of Law, University of Calgary) convened a symposium, consisting of five workshop papers, presented by Jennifer Koshan (“Sexual Assault, Judicial Ethics and the Regulation of Judges”), Lise Gotell (“Condoms and Consent”), Paige Gorsak (“Wrong Problem, Wrong Solutions: The Regulation of Sexual Violence by Neoliberal Universities”), Kiara Mikita (“Either she’s fine with it, or she isn’t: The regulation of women’s expressions of non-consent”), and Cressida Heyes (“What if she never knows? The challenge of consent and unconsciousness”), as well as two plenary public lectures, presented by Elizabeth Sheehy and Sunny Marriner (“Current Legal Responses to Violence Against Women”) and Ann Cahill (“Title IX and Catharine MacKinnon: An Intellectual History, and a Cautionary Tale”). This event was a valuable opportunity for the participants to discuss their work and plan further collaborations.


Prairie Indigenous Philosophy Project

The Prairie Indigenous Philosophy Project addresses an acute problem within Indigenous thought: despite sustained intellectual production over many decades, the philosophical writings of many of the most esteemed prairie Indigenous thinkers are not easily accessible, thereby hiding the breadth of their intellectual output. The lack of an accessible archive hinders efforts to advance understandings of Indigenous thought rounded in the diverse intellectual traditions of Indigenous peoples. Led by Dr. Daniel Voth, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Instructor in the International Indigenous Studies Program (UCalgary) and Matthew Wildcat, Instructor Political Science and Native Studies (UAlberta), the project will begin collecting, compiling, and commenting on the works of two esteemed prairie Indigenous thinkers: Métis Elder and writer Maria Campbell, and Blackfoot scholar Leroy Littlebear. Our research objective is to work with Campbell and Littlebear to publish their writings in a single source along with additional commentary and analysis from Indigenous intellectuals.