PhDs Awarded

Note: The content on this page is currently in the process of being updated and may be periodically unavailable while it is under construction. Thank you for your patience.

2017

Shekoufeh-Farrah Zandnia

Title: A Socio–Legal Analysis of Foreign Credentials Assessments and Recognition in Canada in Law and the Media: Logic, Legitimation and Limitations Regarding Foreign Trained Professionals (FTPs)
Supervisor: Livy Visano
Member: Ian Greene
Member: Jay Goulding
Date: October 2, 2017

Abstract:

The objective of Farrah’s doctoral dissertation is to identify recommendations and policy options geared at improving foreign credentials assessments and recognition in Canada. To achieve this end, a variety of sources – including, doctrinal legal materials (i.e. human rights tribunal and court cases), policies, news media reports as well as secondary literature in law and socio-legal studies – will be qualitatively analyzed and synthesized. The argument will be made that more work needs to be done in relation to: a) the reassessment/improvement of accreditation and employment requirements for FTPs; b) the revision of immigration policies to ensure that they are in tune with labour market demands as well as regulatory requirements and processes; and c) the provision of more expansive legal interpretations/decisions by human rights tribunals and courts, in the realm of regulatory policies and human rights protections, which demonstrate more sensitivity to the social and structural challenges experienced by FTPs. Although regulatory bodies, employers, governments, and legal arbitrators within the justice system have already taken steps towards addressing the predicament of FTPs, a prominent concern for many stakeholders has to do with how best to balance as well as maintain public safety and regulatory standards, while making space for the effective integration of FTPs in the Canadian workforce.


photo of Yael MachtingerYael C.B. Machtinger

Title: A Socio-Legal Investigation of ‘Get’ Jewish Divorce Refusal in New York and Toronto: Agunot Unstitching the Ties that Bind
Supervisor: Annie Bunting
Member: Benjamin Berger
Member: Sara Horowitz
Date: July 17, 2017

Abstract:

Yael’s Doctoral Dissertation focusing on law, religion, storytelling, and gender is a comprehensive, qualitative study of Jewish divorce (get) refusal and the only comparative study between Toronto and New York, the cities with the largest and most diverse Jewish populations in their respective countries. Engaging with diverse stakeholders, Yael concentrates on a classic socio–legal quandary—the gap between law on the books and law in action, but in so doing, places the narratives and experiences of those at the centre of the case study, also at the centre of the scholarly analysis in a way that has not previously been achieved and in the tradition of some seminal socio-legal authors.

Yael weaves together and builds on methodological contributions- such as feminist oral history and facets of ethnography to capture elements of Geertz’s ‘thick descriptions’ of the realities of get refusal, as well as archival and even media and representational analyses stemming from work in the context of slavery. She also builds on and engages with a combination of literatures and theoretical debates that had not previously been in conversation including socio-legal scholarship concerning the nexus of law, religion, identity and culture, with particular focus on legal pluralism and critical legal pluralism in addition to Jewish law and Jewish feminist scholarship. Being an ‘insider’, Yael embraces an interdisciplinary ‘religious feminist’ paradigm, enabling engagement with Jewish law while embracing socio-legal methods and accepting a plurality of legal orders and remedies

Yael argues that nuanced socio-legal inquiries that acknowledge the mutual constitution and overlapping legal norms of law and religion are important. Consequently, legal pluralism, a method of inquiry and analysis concerning overlapping normative orders in specific social fields and commensurability of vying legalities inspire her study, allowing for the interaction and plurality of legal systems—religious and state, and giving space for religion as a valid iteration of identity and valid legal system. This approach allows for a nuanced analysis which would not blame or regulate religion when normative abusive phenomena occur in religious contexts. Yael also develops a critical legal pluralism approach which is tied more closely to first person accounts of law and legal experiences, norms and knowledges, in this case, the stories of women refused a get, framing them as accurately as law makers and mobilizers impacting and transforming social and legal norms by fighting for their right to religion and their right to divorce.

Yael’s research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Religion and Diversity Project Fellowship, and the Dr. Percy and Bernice Singer Award. She has made a number of contributions to scholarly collections and has also been awarded the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Yael may be reached at: yaelmachtingerphd@gmail.com.


Matthew McManus

Title: Becoming to Belong: Rethinking Democratic Freedom and the Rule of Law
Supervisor: Les Jacobs
Member: Willem Maas
Member: Allan Hutchinson
Date: February 3, 2017

Abstract:

Matt recently defended his dissertation “Becoming to Belong” and will graduate in 2017 from York's Socio-Legal Studies program. His research focuses on developing a sympathetic critique of the liberal model of consciousness and its relationship to our understanding of law and legal rights in particular. He argues that the popularity of this model of consciousness has contributed to many states adopting of a "liberty" approach to agency. The liberty oriented approach argues that guaranteeing and protecting individual rights to non-coercion by the state exhausts the requirements of justice. In his dissertation, Matt argues that social actors should instead adopt a dignity oriented approach to agency which realizes and amplifies individuals’ context transcending expressive capabilities by democratizing political-legal institutions and the egalitarian re-distribution of goods.  He claims this approach would yield a twinned model of rights to equal democratic authorship and to an equality of human capabilities. The link between the two rights it that when implemented both would respect and amplify human dignity. Matt can be reached at: garion9@yorku.ca

Selected Publications:

"McManus, Matthew. Overcoming False Necessity: Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law. University of Wales Press, Series on International Law. (Proposal accepted. Revised Manuscript Due October 2018)."

Work Experience:

Matt has accepted a full-time renewable position teaching at the Tecnologico de Monterrey university in Mexico City, effective from January 2018.
Responsibilities Include:

  • Research and publication
  • Teaching 2-3 Undergraduate level classes in legal studies and political thought

Summer 2017 I worked for the Committee for International Justice and Accountability after completing my Post-Doctoral position with the Mitacs center in June.