New and Renewed Canada Research Chairs in the Faculty of Arts

On December 2, 2016, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, made the announcement to recognize 203 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 48 postsecondary institutions across the country.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the new and renewed Canada Research Chairs,” said Minister Duncan. “The Government of Canada is proud to support talented researchers whose hard work will improve our scientific understanding and strengthen Canada’s reputation for research excellence. The Chairs’ efforts will also provide us with the evidence needed to inform decisions that help us build a vibrant society and a strong middle class.”

The announcement will help support cutting-edge research across the country to advance, for example, research on addictions and mental health, as well as on the environment and climate change. These researchers improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching, and the coordination of other researchers’ work—one breakthrough and discovery at a time.

This month’s announcement will support one new chair in the UBC Faculty of Arts and will continue to support three renewed chairs.


Amin Ghaziani, Associate Professor of Sociology (New Canada Research Chair)
Canada Research Chair in Sexuality and Urban Studies, SSHRC Tier 2

Dr. Ghaziani’s research program examines the spatial expressions of sexuality. He will execute this in three ways. First, census data shows that zip codes and postal codes associated with gay neighbourhoods are becoming less concentrated with same-sex households. What attitudes animate these demographic statistics? Second, although big city districts are diluting alongside widespread closures of gay businesses, tourism statistics show significant spikes in LGBT people targeting smaller resort towns. How can we explain these opposing trends of residential and leisure choices? Finally, if by “culture” we mean to analyze the way of life of sexual minorities, and if members of that group are integrating into the mainstream of American, British, and Canadian societies, then what are the implications for measuring the contributions of distinctive cultures? In common, these questions elevate the status of sexuality as a central node for intellectual inquiry and exchange.


Kiley Hamlin, Associate Professor of Psychology (Renewed Canada Research Chair)
Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychology, SSHRC Tier 2

Dr. Hamlin’s research program aims to elucidate the earliest developmental building blocks of moral action and judgement in infancy, before complex cognitive abilities (such as language and inhibitory control) are fully developed, and prior to extensive influence from cultural norms and values.  Her early work demonstrated that the capacity to evaluate others for their prosocial and antisocial behaviours emerges early in life.  Specifically, infants prefer those who help, rather than hinder, others in reaching their unfulfilled goals; this suggests that foundational aspects of mature moral judgement may be unlearned.  Her future research hopes to identify how these early building blocks interact with culture and other aspects of cognitive development to create mature moral beings, and to identify individuals at-risk for atypical moral development.  Ultimately, her research will facilitate our understanding of both typical and atypical moral development, and will aid in the development of interventions to promote optimal moral outcomes.


cropped-hirsh-1Elizabeth Hirsh, Associate Professor of Sociology (Renewed Canada Research Chair)
Canada Research Chair in Law and Inequality, SSHRC Tier 2

Dr. Hirsh’s research program focuses on the social context surrounding employment discrimination and the impact of antidiscrimination law on workplace equality.  Through interviews with plaintiffs in major discrimination lawsuits and analysis of legal data, she will explore the law’s effectiveness and workers’ access to justice.  Using quantitative models, Dr. Hirsh will also examine the impact of lawsuits on workplace diversity and identify factors that minimize discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and motherhood status.  Her research will contribute to our understanding of workplace dynamics and the promise of antidiscrimination law in remedying economic inequality.


Shaylih Muehlmann, Associate Professor of Anthropology (Renewed Canada Research Chair)
Canada Research Chair in Language, Culture and the Environment, SSHRC Tier 2

Dr. Muehlman is internationally recognized for her research in the processes of environmental marginalization and structural violence in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as well her theoretical approach to the analysis of identity formation amid situations of conflict.  Her current research focuses on advancing her analysis of environmental degradation and structural violence in the borderlands.  She intends to undertake a new research project based in Mexico City that will focus on women who have become active protestors of the government corruption and drug-war policies that have contributed to the escalation of violence in Mexico.  Her research will illuminate the ways many Mexican women have created collective forms of empowerment out of experiences of violence and suffering.