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Huron University College Researchers Win Federal Funding

Bill Acres, PhD, Professor, Theology and Tara Dumas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychology
Congratulations Drs. Bill Acres and Tara Dumas, recipients of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) recently announced funding through the Insight Development Grant program including awards to faculty members at Huron University College.

“Alarming” is how Dr. Tara Dumas (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology) describes the pilot data emerging from her research investigating the behaviour of young adults on social networking sites. Her pilot study suggested that “70% of teens engage in deceptive like-seeking, such as buying likes or followers and digitally modifying physical features.”

Dr. Dumas’ SSHRC-funded project, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Wendy Ellis (King’s University College), investigates these findings further by asking “what happens when adolescents ‘lie for likes’?” The project aims to investigate what causes teens to seek likes deceptively and to what extent this behaviour affects teens’ developing identities, self-esteem, and well-being.

Dr. Dumas’ project will further contribute to Healthy Behaviours in an Online World, an ongoing project in partnership with the Thames Valley District School Board which brings secondary and post-secondary students and educators together at Huron each spring to share and discuss research related to everyday social media use.
The V.P. Cronyn Archives held at Huron University College are the starting point for research by Dr. Bill Acres (Associate Professor, Church History and Comparative Religion) exploring the nineteenth century legal history of the former Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario.

Understanding the complex legal entanglements of the school involves working through thousands of items in the Huron archives, in addition to the records of the New England Company held at archives in London, UK, the General Synod Archives in Toronto as well as Library and Archives Canada holdings.

“The materials offer rich local historical aspects of how Indigenous children were to be made Christian, ‘civilized’ by the ‘pious objects’ which originated in the New England Company’s trusts from 1836 and 1845,” explains Dr. Acres, “this gives a unique view of the residential school system, and contemporary legal and political discourses of power in urban, industrial and rural settings. It’s a clash between old English charitable law and emerging, aggressive legislation seeking total dominance of First Nations peoples.”

SSHRC Insight Development Grants provide funding for research in its initial stages as a part of the Insight program, which aims to “build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence.”