The Centre’s research and outreach activities stem from its core focus on various aspects of security and development, with particular attention to the intersections between them. Within that broad array, Centre fellows are working on an ever-evolving list of specific projects, including established interests like maritime security and new priorities like disabilities and development. This page features a number of our current projects, grouped by thematic clusters; check for periodic updates here and in the Research Notes section of our Publications page.
SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT: EXPLORING THE INTERSECTIONS
One of the Centre’s core concerns is the intersection between security and development policy, and the associated challenges to our thinking about each of these concepts. CSSD fellows have explored these questions in the context of Canada’s intervention in Afghanistan, refugee flows from the Syrian civil war, drug trafficking in Mexico, post-conflict reconstruction in Central Africa, governance of the Arctic, and more.
The Centre community has particular strengths in Africa, Europe, and North America. CSSD fellows David Black and Jenny Baechler co-managed the ‘Africa’ group for the Defence and Security Foresight Group (DSFG) and Brian Bow worked with Veronica Kitchen (Waterloo) to co-manage the ‘North America’ group. Our participation in the DSFG project provided for several workshops and online meetings at Dalhousie, and will lead to a number of publications.
Our colleagues at the Dallaire Institute have also explored the intersection of security and development, through their research and advocacy work on child soldiers. For more information on Dallaire Institute projects and publications, see their website at https://dallaireinstitute.org/.
ENVIRONMENT, MIGRATION, AND SECURITY
This is a new area of focus for CSSD, based on the intersection of interests among some core Centre fellows. It builds on Ruben Zaiotti and Kiran Banerjee’s past work on migration and security, and Anders Hayden’s work on climate change and its effects. The CSSD has secured funding from DND’s MINDS program for a workshop in 2022-23, to explore the security implications for Canada of climate-driven migration and displacement around the world. We look forward to a series of working papers and at least one collection of papers published as a special issue in a top-tier journal. Check back here (and in the Events Calendar), for updates on this project.
Matthew Schnurr and Larry Swatuk worked together a few years ago on a volume that explored the security implications of environmental change. Schnurr’s current multi-year research project is concerned with the impact of genetically-modified (GM) agriculture on development in Africa.
DEVELOPMENT POLICY: CONCEPTS AND STRATEGIES
During his time as acting director of the Centre (2018-19), Anders Hayden organized a workshop at Dalhousie on alternatives to GDP as a measure of national development. That workshop was part of a larger “Beyond GDP” project (https://www.beyondgdpindicators.com/about), which produced a new edited volume—Towards Sustainable Well-Being: Moving beyond GDP in Canada and the World—co-edited by Hayden, Céofride Gaudet, and Jeffrey Wilson.
Jenny Baechler’s research is concerned with the making of development and security policy, and more specifically the complex mechanisms by which the efforts of various agencies are coordinated in a ‘whole-of-government’ initiative.
David Black’s volume, Rethinking Canadian Aid—co-edited with Stephen Brown and Molly den Heyer—has now gone through two editions (2014, 2016). That project laid the groundwork for a SSHRC Insight Grant, with co-investigators Stephen Brown, John Cameron, and Liam Swiss, and collaborators Molly den Heyer and Shannon Kindornay, on Canadian development cooperation and the new politics of ‘partnership.’ With Deborah Stienstra, Stephen Estey, and Stephen Baranyi, David Black has been working on a project on disability and global development, with support from IDRC and SSHRC. The initial phase of this project resulted in a June 2015 workshop and a series of subsequent publications. Black, Estey, Stienstra, and Baranyi are continuing to develop this project, expanding the network of researchers and civil society collaborators and looking ahead to future events and publications.
John Cameron has explored representations of development in theory and practice, linking these questions to development NGOs’ efforts to engage effectively with policy-makers and the general public. He is currently working (with Lauchlan Munro) on a SSHRC-funded, multi-year project titled “Public Policy Advocacy for Global Sustainable Development in Canada.” Kristi Kenyon has also been working on NGOs and other transnational advocacy groups, but with a focus on their efforts to influence health policy and human rights in the global South.
Peter Arthur continues to pursue research on development and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. His latest book is the volume, Disruptive Technologies, Innovation and Development in Africa, co-edited with Kobena Hanson and Korbla Puplampu.
CONFLICT, VIOLENCE, AND THE STATE
Some CSSD fellows take a more “macro” view of these questions, focusing on states’ capacity and their engagement with non-state (or transnational) challengers. Brian Bow’s past research (with Arturo Santa Cruz) assessed and explained the Mexican state’s attempts to contain transnational criminal organizations in the 2000s. Alex Wilner has looked at deterrence of terrorist organizations and other non-state actors. And Aaron Ettinger has done extensive research on private military organizations and their effects on international relations.
Others have taken a more “micro” view of these issues, focusing on the way individuals adapt to structural violence and war. Erin Baines’ 2017 book, Buried in the Heart, explored gender identity, sexual violence, and the state in post-conflict Uganda. Her subsequent research has focused on various aspects of gender, sexual violence, and post-conflict reconstruction. Recent Dalhousie PhD Carla Suarez has also published in these areas, including a collection of research essays—Surviving Violence—co-edited with David Black. Baines and Suarez co-authored a 2021 article, “‘Together at the Heart’: Familial Relations and the Social Reintegration of Ex-combatants,” published in Global Peacekeeping.
Doctoral candidate Michelle Legassicke has looked to the intersection between macro and micro, in her research on the political structures of rebel groups, and their relationships with local communities.
REGIONAL COOPERATION ON INTERNAL (“HOMELAND”) SECURITY
Brian Bow has undertaken SSHRC-funded research on both continental security cooperation and internal security collaboration in the North American context. This research looks comparatively at the way networks of government officials and law enforcement officers shape the design and implementation of national policies to respond to terrorism, organized crime, undocumented migration and human trafficking, natural disasters, and threats to critical infrastructure.
Ruben Zaiotti continues his work on the evolution of internal security cooperation in the European Union, with particular attention to border control, migration, and refugee policy, and has also published on comparative and cross-regional cooperation in Europe and North America. In 2016, Zaiotti published the edited volume Externalizing Migration Management: Europe, North America and Spread of ‘Remote Control’ Practices (Routledge, 2016).
Bow and Zaiotti have also worked collaboratively on a comparative project on regional security cooperation in North America and Europe, supported by a SSHRC Connection grant, and co-organized by the CSSD and the Jean Monnet European Union Centre of Excellence (JMEUCE). Bow and Zaiotti co-hosted a workshop at Dalhousie, and selected papers were published as a special collection in Journal of Transatlantic Studies in 2020.
Leah Sarson and Adam MacDonald, both affiliated with the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN), have each made important contributions to the study of regional security governance in the Arctic. With Andrew Chater and Wilfrid Greaves, Sarson recently published an article for the Routledge Handbook of Arctic Security.
Alex Wilner is working on a multi-year, SHRCC-funded project on cybersecurity and deterrence in Canada, which will make important contributions to ongoing debates on both conventional homeland defence and unconventional homeland security cooperation. Preliminary work has been published in International Journal and Journal of Strategic Studies.
DIPLOMACY AND INSTITUTIONS
Leah Sarson’s recent research has explored the nature and purposes of Indigenous diplomacies, and their implications for International Relations theory. Her article, “Shifting Authority: Indigenous Law-Making and State Governance,” was published in Millennium in 2022.
Ruben Zaiotti has researched and published on international organizations and regional institutions, especially the European Union. With Corneliu Bjola, he co-edited the 2021 volume Digital Diplomacy and International Organisations: Autonomy, Legitimacy and Contestation.
Frank Harvey and John Mitton published several important studies on crisis bargaining and diplomacy, including articles on the question of reputation and credibility. Alex Wilner has published extensively on the theory and practice of deterrence, including the 2021 volume, Deterrence by Denial, co-edited with Andreas Wegner.
David Beitelman has studied defence diplomacy, and the sources and effectiveness of military-to-military contacts as bases for the development of confidence-building measures to prevent inadvertent escalation. His dissertation research looked at recent efforts by the US and China to work out understandings to prevent or contain incidents at sea.
Elikem Tsamenyi’s dissertation focused on the evolution of the African Union, and the importance of shared norms and solidarity as foundations for democratic consolidation and development.
Robert Finbow and Brian Bow have been looking at international negotiations from the point of view of regional trade and investment agreements. Finbow has published on the politics of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, and the structural politics of international trade and investment agreements. Bow published several book chapters on the question of legitimacy in regional trade agreements, focusing on NAFTA and post-NAFTA regional integration in North America.
EVOLUTION OF CANADIAN DEBATES ON FOREIGN POLICY
The chief concern of the CFPS at its founding was the understanding of Canadian foreign policy-making, as it evolved over time and in comparative perspective, and CFPS architects Denis Stairs and Gilbert Winham made pioneering contributions in this area. The CSSD carries on that tradition with new research on the intellectual and institutional sources of Canadian foreign policy.
Brian Bow and Andrea Lane organized a book project on the sources and evolution of Canadian experts’ ideas about foreign policy. For this “Generations” project, they gathered a diverse group of academic specialists, and asked them to reflect on the way our ideas about foreign policy were shaped by the times in which they “came of age” politically, with attention to the cross-cutting effects of place, pedagogy, and professional socialization. Bow and Lane organized an authors’ workshop in 2016, and workshop papers were later published in a special issue of International Journal and an edited volume from UBC Press.
Jean-Christophe Boucher has also looked into the sources of foreign policy ideas, but from different directions. In addition to his work on the foreign and defence policy views of the Harper government, Boucher has published extensively on public attitudes toward defence and the military in Quebec, and the impact of those ideas on Canadian foreign policy. Boucher’s most recent research has used opinion surveys to study public attitudes on foreign policy questions and the framing of foreign policy issues through social media.
Leah Sarson has also published extensively on various aspects of Canadian foreign policy, from the shift of priorities under the Harper government to the development of Canada’s Arctic policy.