My research themes include: the politics of art and everyday life, reconciliation, Indigenous sovereignty, racism, public art, nationalism, whiteness gambling policy. Frameworks of analysis include critical gambling studies, critical race and whiteness studies, Indigenous knowledges and STS, theories of aesthetics and cultural history. The quality of my research is evidenced by the journals I publish in and in the journals containing articles that cite my work. Since beginning my career in the mid-1990s by publishing in Meanjin Quarterly, a prestigious Australian journal of cultural and literary criticism established in 1940, I have published in international cultural studies journals including New Formations, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies as well as Australian academic journals Cultural Studies Review and Continuum: Media/Culture. Journals in which I have published on matters related to law and policy include Borderlands eJournal, Griffith Law Review, Australian Feminist Studies and the Journal of Law and Social Policy (in Press).
Critical Gambling Studies
Gambling is a site where risk, finance, and play converge in liberal-democratic societies with important consequences for individual and state economies. As Research Chair in Gambling Policy with the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI), I work to address some of the most urgent questions and intractable issues arising from this convergence. Some distinctive features of gambling policy in Alberta include: the direct involvement of charitable, religious and not-for-profit organizations; measures to address problems related to addictive products, including Game Sense centres on the floor of casinos to inform consumers as well as to manage self-exclusion requests; using lottery funds to enhance public utilities such as conservation projects, cultural institutions and sporting associations; supporting First Nation gambling enterprises; and developing public education campaigns to raise consumer awareness about the risks of different forms of gambling.
When we extend our view beyond the province and the nation, new policy challenges emerge. The globalization of gambling industries has seen a proliferation of digital gambling spaces, products and practices, from the spectacle of eSports tournaments to the controversial embedding of ‘loot boxes’ in popular videogames. As responsibility for financial risk is increasingly devolved from state to individuals, boundaries between digital entertainment platforms soliciting gambling – on one hand - and commercial forms of interactive play – on the other - have become increasingly fuzzy. To successfully address these developments, and more, academic knowledge must be creative and responsive to sociocultural context, rather than contained within the medical and behavioural models of problem gambling that have previously informed policy. To identify and disseminate the best work by established and emerging scholars of gambling, I am working with co-editor and Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Mark Johnson, and other prominent scholars in the field to establish an international, interdisciplinary, peer reviewed journal of Critical Gambling Studies to be launched early in 2019.
Critical Race and Whiteness Studies
A founding member and first Vice President of the Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, I edited the inaugural issue of Critical Race and Whiteness Studies in 2005 which attracted contributions from leading scholars all over the world. I also co-edited one of the very first issues of the political theory journal Borderlands eJournal dedicated to critical theories of sovereignty in 2002 and an international collection of essays titled Transnational Whiteness Matters in 2008. My work is published in leading disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals and I have edited of several books and numerous journal articles and chapters, as well as creating and maintaining networks and publication outlets for emerging scholars in critical race and whiteness studies and critical gambling studies. I was one of a small group of non-Indigenous scholars chosen for inclusion in an edited collection of original essays titled The Aboriginal Tent Embassy: Sovereignty, Black Power, Land Rights and the State published by Routledge in 2014; my reflections on whiteness are included in George Yancy’s curated academic conversations titled On Race, a publication featuring prominent authors including bell hooks, Patricia Hill-Collins, Judith Butler and Cornell West. I also actively contribute to academic scholarship on race and whiteness in the neoliberal university. Timely case studies and engaging vignettes are used to connect readers to larger political arguments about social justice in the university, enabling students and instructors to recognize their own experiences. Some of this research is my most cited work. My article ‘Are You Calling Me a Racist? Teaching Critical Whiteness Studies in Indigenous Sovereignty’, published in borderlands ejournal is an often-cited example and is taught in several undergraduate and graduate courses in Australia and North America.
Current research projects include: a survey of responsible gambling in Alberta led by Professor Garry Smith and Nerilee Hing (Central Queensland University); collaboration with Anishnaabe anthropologist, Dr Darrell Manitowabi (Laurentian University), Dr Mark Johnson and Indigespheres, a not-for-profit Indigenous development organisation directed by Sheila Wahsquonaikezhik, to explore how transnational gambling products and marketing are shaping involvement of youth in gambling and video-gaming; and a meta-analysis of gambling research from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada and the United States between 1996 and 2016.
You can find out more about my research here: https://ualberta.academia.edu/FionaNicoll