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In Trump's America, political scientist Debra Elizabeth Thompson researches the culture and history of race
This past weekend, two men were killed in Portland, Ore., after they tried to help a pair of young women who were being harassed by a man on an anti-Muslim tirade.
“It is an interesting time to do what I do, but tragically so,” says Debra Elizabeth Thompson who completed her PhD in political science at University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor of African American studies at Northwestern University in Chicago.
It's one thing to study genocide in a classroom, but quite another to visit sites where thousands of people were killed in a brutal extermination campaign.
“You can feel the lasting sorrow and death that has impacted Rwanda when you visit the memorials, and it is visible in how many lives were lost in such violent ways,” said Jennifer Paul, a fourth-year U of T student who is majoring in political science and diaspora & transnational studies. “It's an extremely tragic yet important part of Rwanda's history.”
Canada's robust union environment – with an estimated 776 unions representing almost five million Canadians – is what got University of Toronto alumna Rachel Aleks interested in labour relations and led her to become an expert in her field.
“I was in a new country with different laws and, more importantly, with an organized and mobilized workforce,” she said. “I regularly witnessed labour strikes and that definitely shaped my scholarly interests.”