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Social Networks and Histories [clear filter]
Wednesday, December 9

3:20pm EST

Crafting Indigenous - Settler Alliances for Social Work Education

The School of Social Work at McMaster University is committed to improving our capacity to incorporate indigenous approaches to social work.  In 2014 we began a process of gathering interested faculty (both full-time and sessional) to discuss how we might build capacity and reconciliation among instructors  in  the  McMaster  School  of  Social  Work  for  teaching  and learning about Indigenous-Settler relations;  and  to  enhance  instructors’  abilities  to  appropriately  integrate  Indigenous  practices  of  healing, helping, community building and activism into the curriculum.   As with so many such initiatives, the stated intentions are one thing... the actualities are another, more provocative and more complicated.

In this presentation we reflect on our learning during our involvement in the process of planning monthly gatherings for seventeen (full and part time) social work instructors. We will talk about our dual paths as an indigenous person and a settler as we have tried to navigate the complications of an historical relationship that continues to impact our capacities to teach and learn.  The emphasis in this presentation will not be on objectives and destinations but rather the relational work that must be done in order to even realistically begin to think about how we can incorporate indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being.


Bonnie Freeman

McMaster University

Sandra Preston

McMaster University

Wednesday December 9, 2015 3:20pm - 3:50pm EST
Meeting Room B

3:50pm EST

Social Networks: The Invisible Boundary of Education
Community binds, but community also serves a boundary function. The latter is much less understood in the education context than the former. Canadian education is socially mediated. Not only is social interaction/connection a built-in element of the teaching/learning process, it is also a channel by which resources and opportunities are transmitted. However, social connection tends to be thought of individualistically, as if it is purely a personal choice. Yet gaining access to social networks is a negotiation process in which social differences, such as race, class, and gender, are often magnified and reproduced. This makes social connection a fertile ground for understanding how social boundaries are enacted to reproduce privilege and marginalization. In this presentation, I draw on my doctoral study that examines Chinese students’ experience in six Canadian post-secondary education institutions. Parts of the findings about students’ experience in micro-level interaction, which is integral to the education process, speak to social connection as the invisible boundary that shapes participation, opportunity, aspiration and trajectory. I focus on Bourdieu’s concepts of culture and transubstantiation. Culture makes visible the less perceptible boundary mechanisms embedded in the implicit system of meanings and values that underpins the Western learning culture. Transubstantiation underscores how cultural mediation of social connection reproduces inequity. This presentation stimulates thinking about the presumed neutral and benign role social interaction/connection plays in the education process. Making visible the invisible boundary of social interaction/connection has implications on building capacities for both instructors and students.


Winnie Lo

McMaster University

Wednesday December 9, 2015 3:50pm - 4:20pm EST
Meeting Room B