News & Events

New report highlights how COVID-19 worsened economic and health conditions for precarious status migrants in the GTA (November 30, 2021) – A new collaborative report involving U of T Scarborough researchers raises awareness about the disproportionate economic and health impacts of COVID-19 on non-status migrants who live and work in the GTA. The Citizenship and Employment Precarity (CEP) research team is co-directed by two sociology professors, U of T Scarborough’s Patricia Landolt and York University’s Luin Goldring. In partnership with the FCJ Refugee Centre, a Toronto-based charitable organization that provides support to uprooted and displaced newcomers in Canada, the group established the FCJ-CEP COVID-19 project. The team’s surveyed 195 current and former non-status migrants. Respondents were recruited through the FCJ Refugee Centre from March to June 2021. The results show that loss of employment, housing insecurity and lack of public support programs had a direct, negative impact on non-status migrants health and wellbeing. Read the full story here.

UTSC event takes a critical and reflective look at the Williams Treaties and history of the Highland Creek Valley (November 4, 2021) – A U of T Scarborough event is taking a deep look into the political history of the Williams Treaties – and the campus’ own story within it – to encourage and initiate meaningful conversations about reconciliation. Presented by the department of sociology and the Doris McCarthy Gallery (DMG) on November 4, the 'Quieting' Walk: A Settler History of the U of T Scarborough Campus, will look at the moral and legal geography of the Highland Creek Valley and the dispossession of Indigenous communities. Read the full story here.

Q&A: Rise of the Spectacular with John Hannigan - They say that everything is bigger in America, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the proliferation of massive public events and entertainments that emerged in the US since the 1950s. The Superbowl, the Academy Awards, and Disney World to name but a few. But what drives America’s tendency to “go big or go home?” And why is the 1950s the key decade in the development of this story? In his new book Rise of the Spectacular: America in the 1950s, UTSC Sociology Professor John Hannigan explores the social context of these massive events and examines how spectacle has become woven into the fabric of American life. We sat down with John to find out more. Read the full interview

'Quieting' Walk: A Settler History of the U of T Scarborough Campus (November 4, 2021, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.) - Led by Professor Joe Hermer, Chair of the Department of Sociology, this guided walk through the Highland Creek Valley looks at the political history of the Williams Treaties and makes visible the legal and moral geography of campus lands in relation to the 'quieting' of an Indigenous presence. Drawing on archival research conducted by Sociology faculty and undergraduate student researchers, and told from the perspective of a settler to the land, particular attention is paid to the Miller Lash Estate as an example of a colonial attitude to land that erases the historical theft and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples. Presented alongside the walk will be works from the Blueprints series by artist Lisa Myers, which explore mapping, colonialism, and personal history through the story of her grandfather's escape from Shingwauk Residential School. This program is presented by the Doris McCarthy Gallery and Department of Sociology. The event is free, and all are welcome. Register here

Professor Joe Hermer was recently featured in an article on a new bylaw in Prince George, British Columbia, that has tightened restrictions on homeless people in the city. Professor Hermer, who has done extensive research on homelessness, policing and municipal bylaws called the new bylaw "particularly severe" and noted that when looked at as a whole, a ban on loitering, public sitting and sleeping as well as panhandling, essentially prohibit homeless people from being in public spaces at all. Read the full story here.

Release of Rise of the Spectacular: America in the 1950s - In this prequel to Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis (1998), his acclaimed book about the post-industrial city as a site of theming, branding and simulated spaces, sociologist John Hannigan travels back in time to the 1950s. Unfairly stereotyped as ‘the tranquillized decade’, America at midcentury hosted an escalating proliferation and conjunction of ‘spectacular’ events, spaces, and technologies. Rise of the Spectacular will appeal to architects, landscape designers, geographers, sociologists, historians, and leisure/tourism researchers, as well as nonacademic readers who are by a fascinating era in history. For more information, please visit

Professor Patricia Landolt recently co-authored an article titled “Suburban monumentalism: How do we change Indigenous-settler relations when there are no statues to destroy?” on The Conversation. Professor Landolt argues that although suburbs are often overlooked as places of action, they have also played a role in the Indigenous dispossession and settler-colonial violence. She gives the example of suburban monumentalism in Scarborough where “historical plaques erase Indigenous histories and presence on the land.” Read the full story here.

Professor Joe Hermer recently published an article titled “Homeless encampment violence in Toronto betrays any real hope for police reform” on The Conversation. The piece argues that when police officers forcibly and violently demolished homeless encampments in parks across Toronto they broke a trust with the public that they had committed to repairing just a few months earlier. Their betrayal of public trust now calls into question their capability of caring for marginalized and vulnerable people. Read the full story here.

Professor Joe Hermer was recently featured in an article titled “Policing and evicting people living in encampments will not solve homelessness in Canada". The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in homelessness and policing of encampments in Canada. Homeless people who live in these encampments face the risk of being ticketed or evicted by police officers. Professor Hermer studies the survival strategies and policing of vulnerable people. He finds that similar to the historical vagrancy laws, Canada’s current municipal bylaws “work together to criminalize being homeless”. He says that it is impossible for a homeless person to “exist in public space without breaking one of these laws”, such as the anti-loitering and anti-camping laws. As a result, these bylaws aggravate the already dire situation of homeless people. Read the full story here.

On an early Thursday morning, students, scholars and community members walked into IC 138 to participate in the workshop, Crossing Scarborough: Nation, Migration and Place-Making between the TRC and the 150 workshop. Organized by Assistant Professor Paloma Villegas and Associate Professor Patricia Landolt, both from the Department of Sociology, the event brought together scholars from various disciplines and focused on Scarborough’s layered history assessing topics such as migration and settlement.

Kathy Liddle wins University of Toronto Teaching Fellowship. 
Info about the general program is here

Blogpost about TRC course:  Residential school survivors and University of Toronto students gather to build relationships and find pathways to reconciliation.

Award-winning podcast records Scarborough's immigration history
Migration and Ethnicity (SOCD15)

We are pleased to announce that Jaishree Nayyar has received a University of Toronto Excellence Award.  Ms. Nayyar is a double major in Sociology and Psychology. With Prof. Childress this summer she'll be working on a project on the relationship between aesthetic preferences, sociodemographics, and entrenched inequalities. Upon graduation she plans to attend law school.