Alexander named Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Studies

The Government of Canada has named Dr. Kristine Alexander, an assistant professor of history at the University of Lethbridge, a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Child and Youth Studies.

Alexander, who investigates how 20th-century children and youth were affected by imperialism, globalization and war, is the U of L’s first Chair in the humanities. Alexander says the Chair appointment will add capacity to an important area of historical research.

Dr. Kristine Alexander is the University's first Chair in the humanities disciplines.

“As Canada Research Chair in Children and Youth Studies, I hope to challenge and enrich our understanding of children and youth by using new sources and innovative interpretive methods to ask how young people in Canada and beyond understood and responded to British imperialism and the First World War,” says Alexander. “This multidisciplinary research will increase our understanding of the longer history of contemporary concerns about the effects of globalization and war on young people.”

Alexander’s work involves examining the photographic records produced by the global Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements – an unparalleled and understudied body of information about global and local childhoods across the 20th century. She is also using family letters to ask how the First World War affected young people’s family relationships, emotional well-being and gender roles, while tracing the ways in which families and young people interacted with the Canadian state and volunteer organizations.

Alexander arrived at the U of L in July, after completing post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Saskatchewan and Western University. She received her PhD in history from York University and has successfully published many peer-reviewed journal articles.

Vice-President (Research) Dr. Dan Weeks says Alexander’s work on the past has relevance for how society makes decisions for the future.

“Having a thorough understanding of the retrospective is key in ensuring that social policy going forward is sound,” says Weeks.

He adds that Alexander’s Chair appointment demonstrates the strength of the social science and humanities research conducted at the U of L.

“This is a tremendous addition to the University. Dr. Alexander’s research record is exemplary,” says Weeks. “Her appointment builds on the established strength the U of L has in Canadian history, as well as increases the capacity of the U of L’s recently established Institute for Child & Youth Studies (I-CYS).”

Alexander has assumed the role of co-director of I-CYS along with Dr. Jan Newberry, Chair of the U of L’s department of anthropology. She says the CRC appointment will enable her and her colleagues to conduct important research that will be of value to scholars, educators, and policy makers, while providing research and learning opportunities for U of L students.

The University of Lethbridge’s Institute for Child & Youth Studies is a multidisciplinary research institute committed to examining what children and youth mean as social, demographic, artistic, legal and existential categories. While strongly grounded in the humanities and social sciences, I-CYS is also a community-building project. Through events, an e-newsletter, and its website, the Institute fosters conversations and collaborations that cross the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines, while creating links between scholars, practitioners and community members. Its aim is to foster innovative, cross-disciplinary research, both curiosity and policy-driven, about young people.

The Government of Canada is providing $108.9 million through the Canada Research Chairs Program to support 135 newly awarded and renewed Canada Research Chairs. Of that total, 26 researchers have been recruited from abroad, including 11 Canadians returning to work in their home country. The research will be conducted at 41 Canadian post-secondary institutions and will lead to benefits for Canadian families, businesses, practitioners and policy-makers.

The Canada Research Chairs Program was created with an annual budget of $300 million to establish up to 2,000 research professorships across the country and to position Canada as a world leader in post-secondary research. The program currently supports researchers in more than 70 Canadian post-secondary institutions who are conducting studies in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities disciplines.