Research Chairs

Current CRCs

Canada Research Chairs are awarded by the Canadian government to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds. They recognize outstanding researchers who are acknowledged by their peers as current or emerging world leaders in their fields, and are tenable for either five or seven years.

Ingo Brigandt (Philosophy)
Canadian Research Chair in the Philosophy of Biology

Ingo Brigandt, named CRC in Philosophy of Biology, is looking to understand how values guide the practice of individual scientists, the interdisciplinary relationships among scientists and the growth of scientific knowledge.


Kathrin Koslicki (Philosophy)
Canadian Research Chair in Epistemology and Metaphysics

Koslicki is positioning Canada and the U of A to take a lead in modern metaphysics, the “study of being in its most general form.” Her work incorporates the tools of formal logic and aims for compatibility with science. In a recent work, she focused on the question of how the parts of objects are related to the whole they compose.  More on Kathrin Koslicki's research.

George Pavlich (Sociology)
Canada Research Chair in Social Theory, Culture and Law

George Pavlich’s research will offer a social, cultural and political analysis of longstanding policies in Canada that identify, define and punish (or rehabilitate) criminals. While not denying the value of such attachments for a relatively small proportion of cases, his research will interrogate the possibility that far fewer subjects be admitted to criminal justice institutions. At the same time, it will seek a theoretical basis for socially inclusive ways to address collective harm without summoning crime and punishment. The findings of such inquiry could alter the terms of public debate, revise the focus of criminal justice, and nurture new forms of governance within Canadian society. More on George Pavlich's research.

Gavin Renwick (Art & Design)
Canada Research Chair in Design Studies

When ideas from traditional environmental knowledge are combined with contemporary design practice in the Canadian North, the result is design that generates social, economic and environmental sustainability in northern communities. That’s the view of Renwick, who is working with communities in the Canadian North to link traditional environmental knowledge with contemporary design. More on Gavin Renwick's research.

Imre Szeman (English & Film Studies)
Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies

Imre Szeman is studying the impact of rapid social changes in the 21st century on both cultural practices and the theories used to study culture. Innovative technologies have created new forms of culture, including novel means of transmitting and reproducing cultural forms, and culture has become an important engine of development through “creative cities” initiatives, cultural tourism and the expansion of the global entertainment industry. By exploring the dynamics and significance of contemporary cultural production in the new century, Szeman will establish a framework for a new generation of culture scholars. More on Imre Szeman's research.

Cressida Heyes (Philosophy)
Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality

Cressida Heyes is studying the ethical and political ramifications of popular and academic attitudes towards sexual difference, gender identity and sexual orientation. She looks at issues like same-sex marriage, sex changes, dieting, body piercing and “Extreme Makeover” shows from an interdisciplinary perspective. She is part of an effort to combine insights from feminist theory, law, medicine, philosophy, political science and sociology to paint a bigger picture of the emergent field of gender politics and to inform social attitudes and public policy. More on Cressida Heyes' research.

Janine Brodie (Political Science)
Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Social Governance

The advance of economic globalization over the past 25 years - a trend praised by international financiers and decried by protestors on the streets of Seattle and Québec City - has led to important changes in the ways states take care of their citizens. Brodie's research examines the impact of globalization and other economic and social developments on social welfare policy in North America and abroad. She studies how ideas of social governance have changed in light of shifting priorities, weakening boundaries, ever-increasing international competition, and new realities of female participation in the workforce. Her work will inform the direction of future social policy and suggest effective ways of planning to meet the needs of all citizens. More on Janine Brodie's research.

Heather J. Coleman (History & Classics)
Canada Research Chair in Religion, Politics and Culture in Imperial Russia

Heather Coleman is examining the experiences of Russian Orthodox priests and parishioners in the multiethnic diocese of Kyiv from 1800 to 1917. Besides being a hotbed of both Russian and Ukrainian nationalism, the diocese was also the home of Polish Catholics and Jewish citizens who maintained close ties to their religious and cultural heritage. By uncovering how priests tried to deal with cultural differences, win local allegiance to national ideals and represent themselves and their Church to their communities, Coleman hopes to shed light on the role of religious feeling in political relations and the ways in which modern identities are shaped. More on Heather J. Coleman's research.

Henry Marshall Tory Chairs

Named for the first president of the University, the Tory Chairs are awarded to outstanding individuals who will enhance the reputation of the University and provide leadership and experience in teaching and research across disciplines.

Beverly Lemire's (History & Classics) research is focused on the advent of the first industrial era in Britain from 1600 to 1900. She uses economic, social and gender analyses to study the changing material world within a comparative perspective. In recent projects, she has examined formal and informal economic activities, taking advantage of interdisciplinary efforts to assess women’s long-term economic advancement. She also works on the social and cultural history of textiles, and is the founding director of the U of A’s Material Culture Institute. Her research continues to explore the transition from traditional to modern society.


Mark Nuttall (Anthropology) is a social anthropologist who works on the human dimensions of global environmental and sustainability issues. Concentrating on the Arctic and North Atlantic, he studies environmental change and resource use issues in rural and coastal communities, depopulation and migration, climate change impacts on indigenous peoples and their livelihoods, the anthropology of science and historical ecology. His current projects include Indigenous perspectives on oil and gas development in Alaska, Yukon and the Northwest Territories; wildlife management and environmental change in Nunavut; and the historical ecology of coastal Greenland.


Rob Shields' (Sociology, Art & Design) research focuses on social theory and cultural studies. He studies urban and regional design, social space, visual culture, youth, internet and virtual environments, and European and post-modern sociological theory. He is currently studying the social landscapes of Fort McMurray and spatializations of the Arctic and Arctic sovereignty. Shields is Academic Research Director for the City Region Studies Centre in the Faculty of Extension, Research Director for the Intermedia Research Studio, and founder and editor of the interdisciplinary journal Space and Culture.


Sarah Carter (History & Classics) studies the history of Western Canada during the critical era that began in the late 19th century when Aboriginal people were dispossessed and a new population established. Her work has touched on the place of Aboriginal people in the new agricultural economy, the creation of race and gender categories and hierarchies in the 1880s, and the efforts of authorities to impose a monogamous, Christian model of marriage on the diverse population of Western Canada. Her present project is a comparative Canada-U.S. history of women on the northern Great Plains.


Landrex Distinguished Professorship 

Provides a professor in the Faculty of Arts with $50,000 annually for five years, giving them the opportunity to expand their research while contributing to the community.


John W. (Jack) Ives (Anthropology) is an archaeologist interested kinship,economy, and social organization, prehistoric migrations, and public forms of archaeology ranging from regulatory processes and First Nations cultural landscapes to repatriation. In his Apachean Origins project, he is exploring how and when Apache and Navajo ancestors left the Canadian Subarctic, with special reference to the many moccasins and other perishable artifacts in Utah’s Promontory Caves. He is engaged in research on the Mattheis and Kinsella Ranches of the Rangeland Research Institute, the prehistory of the Oil Sands region, and collections outreach work documenting late Ice Age First Nations presence in western Canada. Ives is also the Executive Director of the Institute of Prairie Archaeology. More on Jack Ives’ research.


UAlberta Centennial University Professor of Fine Arts

Sean Caulfield (Art and Design) creates poetry for the eyes. Whether silkscreens, etchings or woodcuts, his prints explore a visual language of contradictions and tensions: from figurative to abstract, and high art to mass media. Caulfield uses classical music and literature for thematic inspiration and to achieve broader resonance in his work. Besides being a highly successful study artist and exhibiting in a series of major international shows, he is also a teacher and mentor for undergraduate and graduate-level students in the University of Alberta’s wold-class printmaking program.


2014 Killam Research Fellowship

For a decade, Kevin Haggerty (Sociology) has been studying the quickly rising culture of surveillance and the social, political and ethical concerns it raises for Western societies. His Killam Research Fellowship will allow for the synthesis of his research for his forthcoming work entitled In Sight: Making Sense of our Surveillance Society, which will bring a nuanced perspective to the public debates on this subject. He focuses on the ways in which surveillance technology – including massive databases, biometrics, facial recognition, scanners and drones – has become so dominant in democratic societies over the course of the last generation, as well as the broader political impacts of this transformation.