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filed under: CAS Profiles

Featured CAS Profile: Stephen Svenson

June 8, 2022

Teaching Contributions

I originally started teaching at St Jerome’s when I was completing my PhD in Sociology and have taught courses in introductory sociology, research methods, contemporary theory, sociology of community and power and parenting. Students in my courses sometimes join me on research trips and solidarity journeys to Louisiana where Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and professors/knowledge keepers journey together to work with folks affected by environmental racism. The solidarity journey explores a way of doing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island that emphasizes the sharing and exchange of Indigenous knowledge, the presence and emphasis on the wisdom of elders and knowledge keepers, and the importance of transmitting this knowledge to youth.  The forum through which this reconciliation happens is journeying together, as we collectively explore cases of environmental racism against Black, Indigenous and racialized folks on Turtle Island.

Research or Other Contributions to the Field

I am trained as an interpretive sociologist, with an interest in how folks construct and maintain meaning systems.  My work has largely examined the realm of leisure and has looked at volunteer tourism, the transnational impacts of snowbirds, redneck racism as expressed through sport in the Canadian hinterland, and fishing. More recently my work has focused on how white supremacy functions and maintains itself in the hinterland. Most recently I published a chapter, “The Imaginary of Okanagan Redneck Whiteness” in UBC Press ‘s White Space: Race, Privilege, and Cultural Economies of the Okanagan Valley. I have also written, directed and produced two documentary films, Disaster Tours and Contract Faculty: Injustice in the University, the latter with colleague Dr. Garry Potter.

Hobbies and Interests

I love fishing, farming, foraging and farting around.  In my activist life, I am active on issues of climate change, food justice, and reconciliation. I grew up on the stolen lands and traditional territory of the Splatsin (Spla-jeen) people in the North Okanagan where growing up as a fisher, farmer, and forager I gained a deep appreciation for the land. In addition to my teaching and research, I have developed GIS applications for the analysis of Statistics Canada’s Canadian Travel Survey and have consulted for the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat in the production of maps and software for depicting cultural histories. I often lend my energies and expertise to assist organizations in accessing funding and implementing local projects that enhance the health of the local community such as community gardens and community sports programs. Most recently I have been active in supporting the Land Back movement.

Path to St. Jerome’s

St Jerome’s was my first teaching opportunity during my PhD where I was offered to teach Introduction to Sociology at St Jerome’s by my PhD supervisor and mentor Dr. Kieran Bonner. I enjoy the smaller class sizes and liberal arts focus that St Jerome’s embraces.