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OISE alumna receives Royal Society of Canada 2013 Alice Wilson Award


Kate CairnsThe Royal Society of Canada (RSC) has named OISE alumna Kate Cairns one of three recipients of its prestigious 2013 Alice Wilson Awards. The other two recipients are Virginie Soulier of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and Constance O’Connor of McMaster University.

“By awarding this prestigious recognition to three outstanding emerging scholars, the Royal Society of Canada is proud to encourage the participation of women in higher education and research,” said RSC President Yolande Grisé. “This particular award celebrates our country’s best emerging scholars at a formative juncture in their career.”

Kate graduated with a PhD in Sociology in Education from OISE’s Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education) in 2011. She also holds a MA degree from OISE and a BA from McGill University. Her PhD thesis, Mapping Futures, Making Selves: Subjectivity, Schooling and Rural Youth explores how rural young people imagine their futures in neo-liberal times.

Her current postdoctoral research investigates educational initiatives that seek to reconnect young people to their food. The study explores how collective hopes and anxieties about the food system are projected onto young people as the promise of a healthy, sustainable future. Kate is collaborating with U of T Sociology professor Josée Johnston on a book exploring themes of gender, food, and inequality. The core thread throughout these projects is the question of how to theorize relations of power in the context of neoliberalism – a question that is crucial to understanding contemporary dynamics of social inequality. Kate also teaches a Sociology course at UTM called "Power and Cultural Politics."

Asked how it feels to receive this recognition from the Royal Society, Kate said, "It's truly an honour. I'm grateful to have been selected as a recipient.”

Alice Wilson in her officeThe Alice Wilson Award, established by the RSC in 1991, honours the memory of Alice Evelyn Wilson (1881-1964), FRSC, the first woman elected to the RSC (1938). Dr. Wilson was a world-renowned paleontologist and one of Canada’s foremost geologists. The award is given to a woman of outstanding academic qualifications who is entering a career in scholarship or research at the postdoctoral level.

Kate will receive her award at the RSC Annual General Meeting in Banff Alberta November 16.


Photo: Alice Wilson in her office