Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship

Killam Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded to outstanding individuals who have recently completed a doctoral program. Appointments are for a period of two years and are tenable only at the University of Alberta. All fields of research are eligible for funding.

Each Fellowship includes a stipend of $50,000 per year, plus a one-time research allowance of $4,000. Recipients receive a certificate acknowledging their award.

The University of Alberta Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee, chaired by the Associate Vice-President (Research), adjudicates and selects applicants for Killam Postdoctoral Fellowships. The Killam Scholarship Committee then submits the list of recommended applicants to the Killam Trustees for final approval.

2021 Recipients

Aleksa Alaica, Anthropology
Imperial Animal Management Strategies in Cusco, Peru: Tracking Social and Environmental Sustainability through Faunal Remains and Isotope Analyses

Aleksa K. Alaica is a Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow investigating the management of animals in the Andes region to explore the way that past societies were responding to shifting local activities, climate transformations and long-distance interaction. By examining faunal remains and their isotopic compositions, she will investigate animal management strategies of the Cusco region in Peru before and during imperial expansion of the Wari state of the first millennium CE. This project is an essential examination into the ways that imperialism and environmental (in)stability influenced the daily and longer-term choices of small-scale and urban Indigenous societies centuries before Spanish colonization.

Alexander Averbuch, Modern Languages & Cultural Studies
The Womanly Face of War: Narratives of Resistance and Exile in the Confiscated Correspondence of Ukrainian Female Ostarbeiters in Nazi Germany

Alexander's research investigates the Nazi-confiscated correspondence of Ukrainian women forced to work in Germany during the Second World War, analyzing these letters as literary texts endowed with unique narratives of war and exile. Russian-colonialist historiography, media, and fiction have left us with a masculinist, institutionally and professionally hierarchized record of the Soviet-German War, in which Ukraine is personified as a feminized, passive/defeated, and treasonous figure (particularly as pertains to such captives’ alleged collaboration with the Nazis). This project highlights the durability of gendered and colonialist constructs of memory—the preservation and continued representation of such constructs, but also the gradual liberation from them

Amir H. Rasooli, Educational Psychology

Amir’s doctoral research focused on examining fairness and equity in assessment and education contexts. He leveraged mixed-methods and developed the Classroom Assessment Fairness Inventory to investigate the Ontario-based students’ perceptions of fairness in assessment and associated impact on their psychological and behavioral outcomes. Amir aims to extend his research during the postdoctoral fellowship to build a fairness framework for classroom assessment in Canada. Amir is currently a managing editor for the Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education and an executive member of Canadian Educational Research Association.

2020 Recipients

Emma McKenna, English and Film Studies
Producing Feminist History: The Place of Sex Work in the Canadian Women's Movement Archives

Emma McKenna is a Killam Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow 2020-2022 in English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, with Dr. Cecily Devereux, and a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in Criminology at the University of Ottawa, with Dr. Chris Bruckert. She received her PhD in English and Cultural Studies and McMaster University, and her MA in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is currently working on new research examining the overlaps and tensions between second wave anti-violence feminisms and the sex workers' rights movement in Canada. She is also revising her dissertation into a book tracing how class was discursively produced within 1980s Anglo-Canadian feminist periodicals. Her writing can be found in Hypatia: Journal of Feminist Philosophy; Women: A Cultural Review; Atlantis: Journal of Gender, Culture, and Social Justice; Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies; and Journal of Gender Studies. She is also the author of the poetry collection Chenille or Silk.

Keith Cherry, Law
Remote Indigenous Protest Sites and their Grassroots Urban Supporters: Co-creating Law, Governance and Dissent Across Spatial, Political and Cultural Distance

An excerpt from a recent profile published by the Faculty of Law: "Postdoctoral fellow Keith Cherry will join the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in the fall to deepen his research on Indigenous-Settler relations and collective decision-making, topics that draw on his activist background. 'This project that I'll be working on is my dream proposal,' said Cherry, who is the recipient of a prestigious Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship. 'It gives me the space to really reflect on, learn from, and contribute to the self-understanding of the movements I'm a part of.' Having defended his PhD at the University of Victoria on March 10th, Cherry will work under the guidance of Assistant Professor Joshua Nichols, whose expertise in Indigenous law will be invaluable to Cherry's studies. Cherry first encountered Nichols while they were both doctoral students at UVic. 'Our work, even at that stage, shared a critique of sovereignty as one of its foundational aspects,' said Cherry. 'We come from a very similar place in our understanding of collective decision-making and decolonization.'" (Read "Incoming postdoctoral fellow merges passion for activism and research," by Sarah Kent.)

Landon Elkind, Philosophy
Using Computer Proof-Assistants in History of Philosophy

Proof-assistant programs are interactive programs. They can be used to assert claims and create formal proofs and, as users input data into a proof-assistant, they can give hints about how to prove the desired claim and machine-check the user's input. In these respects, proof-assistant programs act rather like a human tutor would: they guide and check a user's work. Proof-assistant programs have been applied in reconstructing philosophical arguments, but never to history of philosophy. This project will be the first to do so. Proof-assistants will be applied to Principia Mathematica, a landmark work in 20th-century philosophy and logic. Experts disagree over how to interpret Principia. For example, the proofs are often schematic in Principia: not every step is explicitly carried out. Proof-assistant programs will be used to fill in the missing steps and to machine-check that the suggested completions are correct. Additionally, Principia will be computer-checked under different experts' interpretations. This will in effect empirically test the various interpretations of Principia: one interpretation may leave more gaps in machine-checked proofs than alternatives, counting against that reading. This project will even produce machine-readable data regarding these different readings of Principia, enabling visualizations of this monumental 2,000-page work for the first time.