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New Professor in the School for the Study of Canada to Support Teaching at Trent

August 12, 2016

Dr. Shiri Pasternak joins Canadian Studies with a focus on Aboriginal Rights and law

The School for the Study of Canada is bringing in new perspectives and research expertise with the recent tenure track hire of Dr. Shiri Pasternak, who will be teaching both in the undergraduate and graduate programs beginning in September 2016.  

In the undergraduate program, Professor Pasternak will be taking on landmark courses in the School including Canada the Land, and History of the Indians of Canada, as well as an initial offering of The Critical Space of the Law, a seminar based on her own research interests.

"Prof. Pasternak possesses a rare and impressive intelligence and command of her subject areas in ways that will register in both of the critically important spheres of teaching and research,” said Bryan Palmer, noted historian and past Chair of the Undergraduate Department.  “She is a perfect fit with Canadian Studies, and her sophisticated interdisciplinary approach means that she is able to address a broad array of topics in creative and innovative ways."

"I am feeling extremely fortunate to begin working in such a storied and respected department,” said Prof. Pasternak. “Canadian Studies at Trent has a reputation for opening students' eyes to issues of social justice in a thoughtful and transformative way. Trent already feels like home to me, as well, because this is the place where so many of my mentors studied and honed their critical perspectives on Canada's Aboriginal policy. I feel like I've come full circle, and can't wait to work with students, learn from them, and contribute to the Trent University community."

Dr. Pasternak holds a Ph.D. from the Planning and Geography program at the University of Toronto, where she wrote a dissertation on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s resistance to the federal land claims policy in Canada from the perspective of Indigenous law and jurisdiction. Following graduation, she held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies and in the Faculty of Osgoode Law at York University.

Her new research looks at the risk of Aboriginal rights in the modern economy. Prof. Pasternak has published work in a number of journals, including Antipode, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, and Settler Colonial Studies, and her book, tentatively titled "Jurisdiction and Settler Colonialism: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the State," will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2017.  Her writing can be found at

The School for the Study of Canada at Trent was launched in the summer of 2015, and brings under one umbrella all existing Canadian Studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Additionally, the School will encompass the Frost Centre for Research.  At all levels, the school facilitates exchange programs that will allow students to study across borders, promote forms of community-based research and develop summer internships for students in the humanities and social sciences.