Institute of Urban Studies awards student paper prize

Rachel Dunsmore , Dr. Christopher Storie, ©UWinnipeg

Rachel Dunsmore , Dr. Christopher Storie, ©UWinnipeg

The University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) is celebrating 50 years of excellence in urban research.

In recognition of the importance of research in this field, IUS annually invites submissions for the Student Paper Series from UWinnipeg undergraduate students from any discipline to write on any topic related to urban studies. As part of the 50-year celebration, the award for the Student Paper Series was expanded to include a $500 prize. This year’s competition received 18 entries, the most ever in its 34-year history. 

The 2019 Student Paper Series Prize winner is Rachel Dunsmore for her paper titled, “Ending or Obscuring Homelessness? Applying the White Racial Frame to Homeless Literature in Canada.”

The panel judges collective comments include noting her careful analysis of homelessness literature in Canada, as she documents how authoritative understandings of homelessness are affected by and, in turn, reinforce a racialized frame that privileges whiteness.

Dunsmore’s paper challenges us to think more critically and reflexively about how ongoing settler colonialism affects both our understanding of homelessness and our societal approaches to addressing it. Her paper will be published and available online at IUS Paper Series

“Our undergraduate students represent the future leaders and decision makers within our society,” said IUS Director Dr. Christopher Storie. “It is a great honour that IUS is able to conduct the student paper prize competition, as it allows us to recognize these stars each year. As an organization, we are impressed at the quality of submissions we received for this year’s competition and our winner clearly rose to the top.”

According to Dunsmore, the most pressing social issue we’re facing in Canada right now is ongoing settler colonialism and systemic racism.

“Greater understanding of and support for Indigenous sovereignty is necessary in order to create a culture of peace and love,” said Dunsmore. “The aim of the paper is to illustrate in very concrete terms and with ample evidence how every single day, millions of dollars are made off of resource extraction industries on stolen land to only benefit an increasingly small settler corporate elite. This is not only destroying the environment, but is also causing increasing inequity along racial lines. Affirmative action is badly needed.”

This winning paper is also her undergraduate thesis for her Bachelor of Arts Honours in sociology. Dunsmore graduated this past spring and will head east in September to begin graduate studies in the social sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in the Department of Health, Aging, and Society.

IUS is an independent research department of UWinnipeg. Since 1969, the IUS has been both an academic and an applied research centre, committed to examining urban development issues in a broad, non-partisan manner. The Institute examines inner-city, housing, homelessness, Indigenous, and community development issues. In addition to its ongoing involvement in research, the IUS brings in visiting scholars, hosts workshops, seminars. and conferences, and acts in partnership with other organizations in the community to effect positive change.

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E:

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