Alison Marshall has been awarded a research grant of more than $280,000. This photo was taken in June in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China. Marshall is one of five faculty members who gave lectures and participated in the Buddhism in China summer program. The program brought students from universities around the world to China to learn about historical Buddhist sites. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
A Brandon University religion professor has been awarded a five-year research grant, worth more than $280,000.
Alison Marshall said she is "thrilled and honoured" to receive the funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
"It was a shock because it was the entire ask of the grant," Marshall said. "So it’s a significant statement that the federal government thinks this is important work to do."
The central aim of Marshall’s research is to examine Chinese experiences of racism in Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta villages, towns and small cities. While the focus is on men’s experiences between the 1870s and 1947, Marshall will also consider the later period up to 1960.
"My research is looking at the history of cultural barriers, not necessarily legislated ones … looking at what people do and how that creates racism, or makes a place more tolerant," she said.
Marshall said this project is the culmination of about 15 years of anthropological work in places like China, Taiwan and on the Prairies.
"I look at cultural practices," she said. "Performance can take many different forms, so this research in particular is going to look at … sports participation right from the 1870s when people start to move, up to 1960."
Marshall said the grant will be a great benefit for students.
"It will offer a lot of opportunities for students to do research, both here and to go to other places with me to attend conferences," she said.
Marshall said the research will also provide essential information to school divisions, prairie and northern communities as well as government agencies.
Dean Care, BU’s acting vice-president, academic and provost, said the university is celebrating the research accomplishment.
"We take these research grants seriously because it does reflect positively on us," he said. "That helps us to not only attract students, but also more faculty. It draws recognition to the university and a fully-functioning university and that’s always good."
Marshall’s project passed a "rigorous and competitive peer review process," Care said. "Her research study is a culmination of her expertise in the areas of Chinese culture, racism, religion, history and gender. Brandon University is excited about the positive outcomes that will arise from this research study."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 27, 2012