Paid graduate positions in discard studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland


Memorial University of Newfoundland

Memorial University of Newfoundland‘s Geography Department has one of the highest concentrations of professors working in discard studies in North America, including: Max Liboiron, Arn Keeling, Josh Lepawsky, Mario Blaser, and Charles Mather, among others, who lead WaSTE (Waste and Science, Technology, & Environment), an interdisciplinary research hub focused on critical approaches to power relations, waste, and the environment through an STS lens. The following new paid graduate positions are available in discard studies with some of these professors:

• Place-based knowledge (natural and/or social sciences) (PhD)
• Social Licence and Community Planning in Newfoundland’s aquaculture sector (MA/PhD)
• Community participation in mine remediation in Northern Canada (MA/MSc)

• Anthropocene and Decarbonization (MA)

The Department of Geography at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, is offering fully funded studentships for MA, MSc., and PhD programs, starting in Spring or Fall 2017. The Geography graduate program attracts students from across Canada and around the world, and provides opportunities for field-based scientific and social scientific study in a wide variety of areas. Learn more about our graduate program at For more information and applications for graduate study at Memorial, visit

Students attending Memorial receive instruction in geographical practices and methods appropriate to their field of study, leading to field research opportunities and the preparation of a master’s or PhD thesis. Our program offers the chance to interact with a diverse group of fellow students, and to live and study in St. John’s, the culturally vibrant capital of the ruggedly beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our graduates go on to further advanced study, university faculty positions, and government and private sector employment. Our application deadline is listed as January 15, but we will consider applicants for the positions below on an ongoing basis until filled. We also welcome general inquiries for graduate study, and encourage interested students to contact faculty members for more information directly via their webpages:

Available Positions

PhD position in Land and place-based knowledge (natural and/or social sciences): Dr. Max Liboiron
Place is not just the surface upon which life happens, but an ongoing state created by process and relations (Massey 1994, 2005; Rose 1993); places are practices (Dehyle 2009). In Indigenous studies, Land refers not only to soil, but to water, air, animals, and most importantly, the relations between them, as Land constitutes the life of the collective (Bang 2014). Land refers not only to the material aspects of Landscape, but also “to its spiritual, emotional, and intellectual aspects” (Cajete 2000; Styres & Zinga 2012; Tuck 2015 and many others). As such, knowledge is situated in place and Land, and inextricable from it. Dr. Max Liboiron invites applications to an open PhD position in Land and place-based knowledge. There is no predetermined project for this position other than that it should use a place or Land-based lens to consider knowledge and/or the creation of knowledge. Preference will be give to Indigenous applicants.While not required, applicants are encouraged to work within the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), a feminist marine science and technology lab that includes students from both natural and social sciences, and the Waste, Science, Technology & Environment Group, MUN’s interdisciplinary science and technology studies (STS) research hub. For more information and informal application procedures, see:

MA and PhD positions in Social licence and aquaculture: Dr. Charles Mather
Charles Mather is principal investigator of the ‘Social Licence and Community Planning’ research module of the Ocean Frontier Institute. The OFI is a very large initiative funded through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, and is based at Dalhousie, Memorial and the University of Prince Edward Island. He is recruiting fully funded MA and PhD students to work on various aspects of the social licence research with a specific focus on aquaculture in Newfoundland, including but not limited to issues of waste, pollution, and infrastructure. Some of this work will be coordinated through the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research, and it will support Memorial University’s Waste and Science, Technology and Environment (WaSTE) research hub. Please contact him if you are interested in opportunities starting in September 2017 (cmather (at)

MA/MSc. opportunity: community participation in mine remediation: Dr. Arn Keeling
One MA or MSc. student is sought to participate in a project on community perspectives and participation in mine remediation through the NSERC TERRE-Net (“Towards Environmentally Responsible Resource Extraction”) Network. The goals of this sub-project include: investigate First Nations and Inuit perceptions of risk related to reclamation mine sites in northern Canada; identify strategies for enhancing the integration of local and indigenous knowledge holders (e.g., elders, youth, women) into the reclamation process; and to develop strategies for improved cross-cultural communication about the risks and benefits of historical and future reclamation scenarios between technical experts and Indigenous communities. This competitively funded studentship comes with opportunities for fieldwork, network training activities, and conference attendance. We particularly welcome northern and/or Indigenous applicants, and/or applicants with background or interests in northern issues, political ecology and/or northern and Aboriginal studies. Students would join Dr. Keeling and colleagues’ group working on topics related to environmental change in Northern Canada, and would have the opportunity to participate in Memorial’s interdisciplinary research hub, WaSTE (Waste and Science, Technology & Environment). For more information, please contact Arn Keeling (

MA positions: Anthropocene and Decarbonization: Mapping the Controversies: Dr. Mario Blaser (archaeology/geography)
We invite applications for two MA positions on “Anthropocene and Decarbonization: Mapping the Controversies.” Decarbonization (through the shift to ‘green energies’ and the enhancement of ‘carbon sinks’ in the form of forest conservation) are among the most important strategies being promoted by governments and international bodies to curb climate change. The latter is one of the paradigmatic phenomena of the so-called Anthropocene, a label marking the geological consequentiality of human activity on the planet. Both the notion of the Anthropocene and the strategies of decarbonization are embroiled in controversies with multiple dimensions. We seek applicants who would be interested in ‘mapping’ these controversies: that is, how different positions in the arguments form clusters (of spokespersons; institutions; groups); what is the relation between different clusters; how positions are translated into policies and concrete interventions, and so on. Under the supervision of a team of researchers that will provide training on the various aspects of the project, applicants will develop their own projects within this general umbrella (for instance they might be interested in how these controversies relate to Indigenous peoples in particular places; or how they are gendered in particular ways; or how science and politics are entangled differently in different places; or how funding flows across the field of controversies; to mention a few possibilities). We will give priority to applicants that have some background on so called material-semiotics versions of Science and Technology Studies (as represented by Actor-Network Theory, or authors such as Donna Haraway). We strongly encourage Indigenous students to apply. Funding is 17K per year (2 years). Students must pay tuition out of their stipend. International students will have the differential fee in their tuition covered by the project. Applicants might join the project through various departments and are thus encouraged to contact Dr. Mario Blaser before applying to the School of Graduate Studies in order to determine the best route to follow. Email: mblaser {at}
Applications should include: 1. A cover letter including: statement on your familiarity with material semiotics version of STS (i.e., courses you took, or material you have read); some initial idea on what aspect of the controversies would you be interested in researching; disciplines through which you would prefer to join the project. 2. A CV and a break down/unofficial transcript of grades in the last two years.