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Loren King

positions available: research assistants

Aug 20/07

Political Science: Research Assistant Positions Available

I am looking to recruit undergraduate research assistants for the fall and winter terms of 2007-2008. I have up to four positions available (two per term) for a project exploring legal and cultural understandings of property and the public interest in Canada and the United States, with a special focus on controversial land uses in and around cities, such as growth boundaries and urban sprawl. The project is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

The positions will involve commitments of ten hours per week for twelve weeks each term. Responsibilities will include library and database searches, copying, and preliminary analysis of research publications, archival documents, court papers, and municipal statistics. Remuneration will be at the rate of $12/hr, with some additional funds available for necessary research expenses, possibly including some travel for archival work and on-site data collection.

Students wishing to be considered for one of these positions should submit a letter and short resume indicating your interests and background to Dr. Loren King in the Department of Political Science. The letter should indicate the academic term, or terms, for which you are applying. Please apply via email to lking@wlu.ca before Friday, September 14th, 2007.




Project Summary: Property, Place, and Community in Canada and the United States

SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2007-2009
Principal Investigator: Loren King

When should the government be allowed to take someone's property for public purposes, or to legislate dramatic changes in how that property can be used? Take the debate over urban sprawl in our major cities: should a provincial government be allowed to create, say, a greenbelt around a major city? Proponents of Toronto's greenbelt insist that the boundary will protect farms and parklands from aesthetically uninspired and ecologically devastating suburban development. Critics point to the elimination of a vital source of future income for struggling farmers, who may have hoped to sell some or all of their land to pay for their retirement, or their grandchild's education. And what about `smart growth' policies, or aggressive neighborhood action committees fighting to preserve the `character' of their urban neighbourhoods? Are these progressive initiatives aimed at better, more sustainable ways of life? or do they merely reflect the self-serving conceits of affluent urbanites who want to stifle the dreams of struggling homeowners and visionary developers? The proposed project aims to bring much needed philosophical analysis, empirical rigour, and a Canadian perspective to bear on the question of when private property can be taken for public ends. What restrictions on private uses of property are legitimate? What counts as a legitimate public purpose? While these are questions of political and legal philosophy, we will answer them through careful study of a rich body of Canadian legal and political precedents concerning the complex relationships between property, place, citizenship, and the public good.

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