Current Projects

Ackee, Jamaica, CERLAC

Ripe ackee, Jamaica | Photo courtesy of Alyssa James


Current CERLAC based projects:

Andeans in the Metropolis: Highland Migrant Discourse and Organization in Lima, Peru, 1900-1960

“Andeans in the metropolis: highland migrant discourse and organization in Lima, Peru (1900-1960)” examines how internal migrants from Peru’s highland (sierra) regions living in the country’s capital, the coastal city of Lima, interpreted their migratory experiences and constructed new identities, discourses, and forms of social and political organization during the early and mid-20th century. The main issues of interest are:

  1. The development of highland migrant identities and discourses about migration: what does it mean to be a highlander in Lima? who is a migrant? is the most relevant ascription for highlanders in Lima local (village or town) or regional?
  2. The development of migrant associations (clubs or centres for migrants from a specific geographical area), their organizational structures, social composition, and activities.
  3. The degree to which the socioracial hierarchies of the highlands were reproduced in Lima and the new ways in which peasants (generally categorized as Indians) interacted with people of middle and upper extraction from the same locale or region.
  4. The degree to which migrant milieus (understood both in the institutional sense and as spaces of discursive and symbolic circulation) shaped and supported intellectual and political leaders of highland origin.
  5. The effects of migrant milieus on the development of regional and national identities and cultures, and of new forms of knowledge about the highlands (especially archaeology, ethnography, geography, history, and medicine).
  6. The effects of migrant milieus on Peruvian state formation (migrant associations helped shape government institutions both by lobbying them and serving as their instruments).

Project Type: Insight Grant / Funded - $144,907
PI: Alan Durston
Start Date:  Month: Apr  Year: 2015
End Date:  Month: Mar  Year: 2020

Funder: SSHRC

New and Old Fault Lines in the Canadial Labour Market. The Temporal and Institutional Dynamics of Citizenship, Legal Status and Work

Changes in immigration policy have increased the number of people with precarious legal status (PLS) who live and work in Canada. This population includes authorized temporary migrants, refugee claimants and international students, as well as unauthorized migrants such as denied refugee claimants and visa over-stayers. Temporary workers and other PLS migrants often work in low-wage, dead-end, unhealthy jobs with poorly enforced employment standards. Unlike precarious status workers, permanent residents hold selected rights, including the right to work without being confined to a single employer or sector and the right to access social services. Some people with precarious status follow a clear track to permanent residency, others transition from one type of precarious legal status to another, or lose authorized migratory status altogether. Rising levels of precarious work along with narrowing opportunities for migrants to become permanent residents raise the possibility of persistent employment and legal status precarity leading to increased social inequality.

We will conduct a large-scale survey of naturalized citizens, permanent residents and precarious legal status workers to analyze the relationship between changes in migratory legal status and employment outcomes. We will also carry out a smaller sub-set of in-depth interviews to gather personal stories to showcase the role of institutional actors and worker strategies in shaping labour market experiences and legal status trajectories.

Potential Outcomes

  • The collection of empirical evidence and personal stories to analyze the intersections of precarious work and precarious legal status in the GTA
  • Increased awareness of the strategies used by migrants to secure employment and navigate legal status changes
  • Increased knowledge of the role of settlement, employment and social service agencies in helping precarious legal status migrants gain secure status and decent work
  • Enhanced resources for advocacy groups and service providers to make a case for government agencies to fund services for all city residents, regardless of legal status
  • Clear language materials and easy-to-use advocacy tools for front-line workers, advocates and policy makers

Project Type: Partnership Development Grant / Funded - $320,000
PI: Luin Goldring
Start Date:  Month: Apr  Year: 2016
End Date:  Month: Mar  Year: 2019

Funder: SSHRC