Student Podcasts

As an alternative to the traditional in-person Student Research & Ideas Fair, for 2021 students presented their research in the form of an episode of a new Student Research & Ideas Podcast series.

Episodes are listed chronologically in order of release date. To see them listed from newest to oldest, click HERE.

Podcast music: “Milonga” (Five Tango Études). Composer: Dr. Martín Kutnowski (STU Fine Arts Professor). Pianist: Janet Hammock.


“Queerness and Heteronormativity in the Disney Animated Robin Hood
by Katy Johnson

The character of Robin Hood has many iterations in popular culture, each of which reflects the societal concerns of its time. In this presentation, I compare representations of gender and sexuality in Allan Dwan’s 1922 Robin Hood film with Wolfgang Reitherman and David Hand’s animated 1973 Robin Hood film, produced by Disney and marketed at children.


“‘I am barely hanging onto university’: A thematic analysis of university students’ statements about mental health and their studies”
by Olivia Finnamore

There has been a notable increase in the number of university students with mental illnesses over time (De Luca et al., 2016), which has contributed to the mental health crisis on university campuses (Lunau, 2012). For my honours thesis research, I am exploring the language used by university students to describe their mental health. My research will provide a deeper understanding of the impact of mental health on academic behaviours and wellbeing, and the roles of internalized stigma, coping, and resilience in wellbeing and ability to meet academic demands.


Sandbagged by Narrative: Writing by Students of ENGL 4153: Senior Project in Creative Writing”
Class taught by Dr. Kathleen McConnell

Student magicians, vampires new and old, lovers ditto, a socially toxic spaceship, a transition memoir, and overprotective parents burying boys in a cornfield — have fun with these short excerpts from a lot of different stories.


“Trans(Fat): A Creative Narrative Project
by Aaron Beaumont

In this podcast I will explore the results of my honours thesis titled Trans(Fat): A Creative Narrative Project. In this project, I examined how fat transgender folks experience and resist medicalization and stigma based on their personal embodied experiences. Fat and transgender bodies are seen as problems that must be treated or cured by medical professionals which often leads to unsafe treatment and stigma. Folks who are fat and trans have many ways of resisting this treatment and stigma for their own wellbeing. This project draws on literature around gender, fatness, medicalization, and neoliberalism while engaging with personal narratives and artwork from two fat trans people in Fredericton. These stories explore difficult interactions with medical professionals and their personal strategies for reclaiming their identities and bodies. Themes from my analysis include: the entitlement of medical professionals, unsafe healthcare, the intersection of fat and trans identities, and the desire for community connection and alternative forms of care. The results from this study could inform medical policy and practices in the province of New Brunswick, while also providing information to fat transgender folks who have received medical care and are looking for ways to resist stigma.


“Care Through Community: Older LGBTQ+. Adults’ Experiences with Community and Successful Aging”
by Mackenzie Deas

Contemporary cultures of aging highlight discourses of ‘successful aging.’ Successful aging is defined as aging without disease or disability, having high physical and cognitive functioning, and remaining actively involved in life as you age. Successful aging presents an exclusionary and normative model of aging and rejects some forms of aging. Community engagement has been marked as important for maintaining one’s well-being for older LGBTQIA2S+ folks, however, the LGBTQIA2S+ community has also been noted to be youth-centered with an intergenerational divide. Through 5 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with LGBTQIA2S+ folks age 60+, my research explores how dialogues of successful aging and independence get taken up in the lives of older LGBTQIA2S+ folks, given this emphasis on community. Specifically exploring how connections to community adapt throughout the life course and influence perceptions of aging, how aging and LGBTQIA2S+ identity may influence one another through a reciprocal relationship, and how perceptions of the future are taken up in the lives of older LGBTQIA2S+ folk’s given that queer futures have been clouded over and hidden from connections to aging successfully and mainstream media representations. This research works to aid in the disruption of successful aging as an exclusionary model.


“The concept of the ‘#MeToo movement’ has no place in a criminal trial”: Rape Myth Acceptance and Moral Panic in Judicial Discourse in a Post-#MeToo era
by Nicole Murray

The current thesis examines court cases following the #MeToo movement to analyze judicial discourse for rape myth acceptance and characteristics of moral panic. In an analysis done by Cotter and Rotenburg (2018) for Statistics Canada, the average number of police reported sexual assaults was found to have increased from 59 per day before the #MeToo movement, to 74 per day in the month following the inceptive tweet from actress Alyssa Milano. One of the main successes attributed to the #MeToo movement was its ability to call out and confront rape culture. The current study analyzed criminal cases post-#MeToo to analyze whether rape culture was present in judicial discourse in cases taking places after the onset of the social movement. An analysis done on the LexisNexis QuickLaw database yielded cases (n=16) that mentioned the #MeToo movement in judicial discourse between October 2017 and January 2021. Cases were coded using McMahon and Farmer’s (2011) updated Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Tool, and Goode and Ben-Yehuda’s (1994) characteristics of moral panic. Preliminary findings are examined using moral panic and feminist legal theory, showing how the #MeToo movement is discussed in legal discourse in ways that align with a criminal justice system built on patriarchy.


Pest or Pet? Rats as Companion Animals”
by Kayley Reid

Humans share the social world with many species, including rats. The relationship between humans and rats has always been quite complex due to the characterization of rats throughout time. Typically, rats are deemed pests, but sometimes rats become companion animals. The phenomena of rats as pets goes against the normative emotions people hold towards them. The focus of my study is to understand how people view their pet rats. What qualities make rats good pets, and how are these qualities described by their owners? I have been qualitatively analyzing rats as pets by viewing YouTube videos that showcase the relationships human owners have with their pet rats. So far, I have found that pet owners often acknowledge the natural behaviours rats have with an emphasis on the importance of allowing their pet rats to do what they would do as non-pets. Also, the individuality of each rat through their various emotions and personality traits is commonly referred to by rat owners who claim the importance of respecting their rats likes/dislikes. People who see rats as companions have a different perception of this species due to their close relationship with them. This contrasts with the distaste most people have for rats.


“Queer Aging Embodiments: Centering Pleasurable Yoga Practices in Later Life”
by Megan Hill

The normative discourse of successful aging presents regular routines of physical activity in later life as self-investment in the present to manage the future risks of the aging body. Although premised around fighting stereotypes of aging as decline, successful aging is an exclusionary discourse that celebrates some older adults for defying aging and disregards others that do not fit these standards. This produces a normative understanding of appropriate aging: one that privileges those who are white, thin, fit, heterosexual, wealthy, and youthful. In this work I investigate how aging bodies that do not fit the normative standards of aging experience physical activity in later life. In a series of narrative interviews with queer older adults who do yoga, I analyze their relationship to their bodies, queer community, and normative understandings of aging. The participants identified an exclusionary, youthful culture of yoga, in line with findings from critical scholars of yoga, which reinforced a neoliberal, competitive, individualistic, and egocentric practice. They challenged this approach to yoga by emphasizing the importance of pleasure and community in their practices of yoga. In doing so, these queer older adults provided counter-narratives to normative understandings of aging, queerness, and fitness.


“A Reason for global pessimism: Prevalence-induced concept change”
by Nhat Phung

Progress is being made regarding a lot of societal problems such as violence and extreme poverty, but a lot of people are still pessimistic about the global situation. One reason for this may be a psychological phenomenon called prevalence-induced concept change: when there are fewer instances of a concept, other instances that previously didn’t fit into that concept can now be included. For example, students getting A’s on exams are likely to be considered “smart”, but if there are fewer A students, then those scoring B’s will also be considered “smart”. Studies have examined this phenomenon in various categories from color perception to ethics evaluation, and it is likely applicable to many other situations. This tendency can be problematic if it impairs human judgment in serious matters such as perceiving and solving societal problems.


“Promise of Home”
by Abbey LeJeune and Aaron Beaumont

In this podcast we will be discussing our involvement in the Promise of Home project as members of the research team. Promise of Home is a community based narrative project working with immigrant youth, families and individuals in Fredericton. We are currently completing Phase 1 of the project and this will be the focus of our discussion. The project is divided into four phases which includes storytelling workshops, performances, a two-day community-visioning forum, and a web-based collection of stories and visions. We will bring these narratives to two town-hall meetings to stimulate dialogue. We will facilitate three policy workshops to develop community-driven recommendations in student integration, accessibility to social services, and immigration fields. We pursue this approach through four lines of inquiry that embrace Fredericton as a place where immigrant youth aspire to belong; immigrant families find a sense of belonging; people share hopes towards a more inclusive community; and these aspirations inform effective grassroots policies. Phase 1 consists of story-creating workshops that will gradually accumulate into a series of performances chronicling the challenges and joys of immigrant youth experiences. After discussing Phase 1 we will move onto the future prospects of the project beginning this summer.


Download the full script HERE.


“Genocide: The Responsibility to Protect and the International Community’s Response”
by Emma Ruiz

In the wake of the Rwandan genocide, and the international community’s failure to prevent it or stem it, the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P) was developed. The R2P is a doctrine that is supposed to ensure that if a state is unwilling or unable to prevent and protect its citizens from a mass atrocity then the international community has a responsibility to intervene to help. Since its introduction, R2P has not prevented genocidal campaigns.

My presentation will attempt to explain why R2P has not worked as its proponents had promised. I will examine the United Nations’ involvement in R2P related decisions, as well as the reasons behind the international communities’ unwillingness to intervene. However, R2P has succeeded at least once. This project intends to answer why the R2P was successful once but is now failing to prevent and end genocides, and to explore the international community’s response or lack of response to ongoing genocides. In what circumstances has R2P succeeded, and in what cases has it failed? What can be learned from this history to improve on R2P to preserves the world from future humanitarian atrocities?


“Ethiopia ethnic conflict and atrocity crimes”
by Valeria Boquin

In my thesis, I am going to be arguing and identify what atrocity crime the ethnic conflict in Ethiopia qualifies to. According to the Convention on the prevention of Genocide “genocide is the intention to destroy in a whole or in part national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups” (Art 2). Any person who is charged with genocide shall be tried by an international tribunal (Art 6). According to the Ethiopian Commission of Human Rights and the UN’s Special Advisors, the country of Ethiopia is committing atrocity crimes against ethnic groups. This situation has been escalating alarmingly during the past years. There are reports of serious human rights violations and abuses committed by the parties to the conflict and their allies. These include extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, looting of property, mass executions, and impeded humanitarian access. At the same time, reports of attacks against civilians based on their religion and ethnicity, abuses including arbitrary arrests, killings, rape, displacement of populations, and destruction of property in various parts of the country.


“The Success and Failure of Democratization in Former Authoritarian Regimes”
by Victoria Young

Democracy is widely perceived as a peaceful form of governance, but the transition to democracy from authoritarianism can be anything but peaceful. Attempted transitions to democracy from nationalistic authoritarian regimes can fail. Some states lead to more peaceful and stable regimes under authoritarian ruling rather than as a democracy. What is the causation of the failure democratization in some states, and the failure of democratization in others? In this study, two case studies with similar authoritarian origins with different democratic transitions and outcomes will be used for comparative analysis. The former Yugoslavia will be compared to Spain. The democratic process in the former Yugoslavia came with ethnic violence, ending in the collapse of the unified regime. Out of the former Yugoslavia emerged separate democratic Balkan states of Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. The democratic process in Spain was considered generally peaceful, preserving Spain as a singular unified state as it changed to a democracy. The two cases were chosen because the same political objective is pursued but with different outcomes. Comparing the former Yugoslavia to Spain will answer the question as to why some states succeed and others fail in democratic transition.


Private Member’s Bills: More than Meets the Eye”
by Andrea Amaya

Little attention in Canada is paid to the use of private member’s bills (PMBs). However, these bills are the backbone of parliamentary democracy and MP autonomy. The initial purpose of this study is to explore the likelihood of PMBs receiving Royal Assent (passage into law) in minority and majority governments. Many sources conclude the PMB regime can be divided into three eras (1867 to late 1984; 1984 to 2002; and 2002 to present); however, this study argues the PMBs regime has been fractured into four eras (1st Parliament to 25th Parliament; 26th Parliament to 33rd Parliament; 34th Parliament to half-way into the 37th Parliament; and final half of the 37th Parliament to present). This timeline of the PMB system will greatly impact the discussion of the successes of bills. The scope of this study will discuss the relationship the elected member has to their constituents and the institutions operating within Parliament (i.e., political parties). Additionally, variables such breadth and substance, time—specifically, the importance of measuring time through Parliaments rather than years—and composition of Parliament to understand the success and failures of PMBs.


“Russia’s Surreptitious Involvement in Undermining Liberal Democracies”
by Maria Caicedo

My research question for the thesis is: why is Russia surreptitiously undermining liberal democracies around the world? Russia has surreptitiously intervened in separate events such as the US presidential elections in 2016, the Brexit referendum, nationalist movements in Europe, and socialist revolutions in Latin America. To answer the research question, I will look at two possible explanations: Russia is undermining liberal states as a defensive response to Western attempts to force liberal changes in countries bordering Russia and Russia itself. The other explanation is that Russia is acting in an offensive way. This explanation argues that Russia is primarily motivated by the desire to re-establish a “Russian empire” and its attacks on liberal democracies are part of that larger goal. The research will look at different case studies and use International Relations theories in order to understand the motivation behind Russia’s destabilizing activities in liberal democracies and democratic elections around the world.


“iGenNB: Intergenerational living and its benefits”
by Dina Gallardo And Joyce Ang

In New Brunswick, many above the age of 65 express a desire to age in place. As these seniors represent 22% of New Brunswick’s population, the Council on Aging has called for stakeholders in the province to support aging in place more effectively. iGenNB: Intergenerational Living for Community Wellbeing, a pilot program and research study initiated by The Ville Cooperative, aims to bring the practice of intergenerational home sharing to New Brunswick. In exploring whether intergenerational home sharing would be beneficial to Fredericton, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative (CIRN) will evaluate participants’ experiences during their iGenNB home sharing trial.

iGenNB’s primary research methodology is intended to consist of three series of interviews. The first series would take place at the start of the home sharing experience, with young adults explaining their reasons for participating and older adults describing their social circle and wellbeing. The second interview series would take place half-way into the project and would focus on the experiences of both participants so far. Finally, the third interviews would concentrate on their final thoughts regarding the project experience. Based on the participants’ experiences, the primary research for this project intends to evaluate iGenNB’s potential as a sustainable co-housing model.


“The Effect of Trump’s Administration Immigration on Latin American Irregular Border Crossings in Canada”
by Gabriel Marquez

Latin America’s economic and political crises have triggered waves of undocumented migration to the United States from the mid-20th century to the present. In 2017, the United States government announced strict and discriminatory policies to stop the irregular migratory flow from Latin America. President Trump’s immigration position made many Latin Americans re-evaluate the longstanding fantasy of the American dream. Because of Canada’s history of taking in Latin American refugees since the 1980s, the existence of The Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement and Trudeau’s immigration policy approaches, Canada became a regional alternative for many Latin Americans seeking to emigrate. The number of Latinos crossing the Canada-US border irregularly started to increase in 2017. This study will analyze the correlation between the Trump administration’s strict immigration policy and the increase in the irregular border crossings of Latin Americans on the Canada-US border from 2017 to 2020.


A challenge to the universality of Human Rights: Diversity versus Universality of Reproductive rights in North American and African countries”
by Muchaneta Nyambuya

Although human rights are said to be universal, there is a disconnect in the ways they are applied and interpreted in different parts of the world. This begs the question if they are as universal as they claim to be or if they are culturally relative. Reproductive rights are an example of how some rights are understood and applied differently in many parts of the world, in different countries of the same region and even in one country. Among the catalogue of reproductive rights, abortion is perhaps the most debated issue in any jurisdiction, with all positions having laws in support.

This study will begin by exploring the subject of reproductive rights, which will be done by defining the phenomena and exploring what it means. The human rights discourses that exist on an international level, as it relates to human reproductive rights, will be laid out. The study will then probe reproductive rights debate in North America. This study will then turn to reproductive rights in two African countries. Finally, a compare and contrast of the findings will be done to answer the question of whether human rights are universal, or in some sense culturally variable.


“Violations towards immigrant children at the US border”
by Monica Boquin

This talk will focus my thesis research on recent trends in US immigration policy and whether certain policies violate international humanitarian law. United States immigration laws and practices have been designed to prevent illegal immigration. In many respects they have not worked, Donald Trump’s Administration advanced a new immigration policy, known as the zero tolerance policy, which was passed with the intention of limiting immigration from Central American countries. The bill policy prosecuted illegal migrants and reduced the number of asylum claims accepted separated children from their parents/guardians. The facilities the children were kept where unsanitary and exposed children to physical, sexual, and mental abuse. I argue that these practices violated international human rights by violating children’s right to seek asylum and exposed them to inhumane treatment. Therefore, the anti-international law nature of the policy is what influenced President Biden decision to reverse the policy in January 2021.


“The effects of SARS-CoV-2 on rural communities in Canada and the US”
by Perry Colonval

The past year’s migration patterns have shown people leaving from big urban cities to rural communities in Atlantic Canada. This migration flux poses some questions with regards to the sustainability of the rural communities. There is a lack of job opportunities, infrastructure and services in rural communities due to migration to urban cities. Due to people moving back, the change will occur in these remote areas. Will migration flux cause change to the social, economic and environmental standard of rural communities? Will the government fund more money towards infrastructure due to an increase in population? Another critical factor is whether the vaccine will have a negative or positive effect on rural communities regarding the sudden influx.


“Managing Menopause: A Qualitative Analysis of Discourse on Menopause Experiences”
by Rachel deMolitor

Sociologists argue that the medicalization of women’s experiences has both positive and negative consequences. While increased recognition of medical conditions common amongst women is important, overtreatment can result when normal life processes are classified as medical problems. In recent decades, there has been an increasing prevalence and promotion of medical and naturopathic treatment options for the management of menopause symptoms. These symptoms are commonly understood to arise from fluctuating hormone levels experienced during peri/menopause. In this research, I compared women’s accounts of menopause symptoms in online discussion boards and descriptions of these symptoms in medical literature to uncover how biomedical knowledge is both consistent and inconsistent with social understandings of menopause symptoms and their treatment. In this research, I used critical discourse analysis methods to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which women come to interpret their personal experience with menopause, while providing special consideration to what they deemed a “menopause symptom” worthy of medical intervention. My analysis demonstrates that women and medical professionals focus on different aspects of the experience of menopause, leaving many women to seek treatments elsewhere. Findings from this research could inform medical practices to strengthen support services available to women transitioning through menopause.


“Examining Contemporary Right-wing Populism in the US”
by Savanna Shaw

This presentation will explain the current US right-wing populist movement. First, it will define populism and its characteristics and actualize them in the current US movement. The purpose of doing this is to identify more clearly why people support the right-wing populist movement. Also, two theories exist on why populist movements occur: cultural backlash theory and economic insecurity theories. The presentation then summarizes the findings from the thesis. Overall, the conclusion is that the majority of people supported the current US populist movement due to upset over changes to culture. Furthermore, this presentation will then explain the reasonings behind this conclusion in further detail. These arguments are: One, populist beliefs and behaviours in the US right-wing populist movement are not economically based. Two, the shared anger of populist supporters outweighs any demographic differences they may possess (factors regarding financial status especially). Three, when demographics are considered, the effect of economic insecurities as a motivator was still minimal. This is demonstrated by the 2016 election. Lastly, economic insecurities (both perceived and experienced) are more appropriate when placed into the cultural backlash theory framework.

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