MIRI Researchers

Dr. Vanessa Watts

Assistant Professor, Paul R. MacPherson Chair in Indigenous Studies
Department of Sociology and Department of Indigenous Studies

Dr. Watts completed her undergraduate degree at Trent University, MA at the University of Victoria, her PhD in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. She teaches in areas of Contemporary Indigenous Issues, Residential Schools, Indigenous Sovereignty, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Methodologies, and Indigenous Ontologies, and recently launched a new course: RECONCIL 1A03 / Reconciling What? Indigenous Relations in Canada.

Dr. Watts’ research interests include the sociology of knowledge, Indigenous ontologies, Indigenous feminisms and Indigenous ways of knowing. In 2018, she was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her project “An Indigenist Sociology of Knowledge: Indigenous social lives in Indigenous studies, sociology and political science (1895 and beyond).” The project interrogates over a century of representations of Indigenous peoples in sociology and political science. It will contribute to new knowledge in the field of Indigenous studies through an inductively generated concept map of Indigenous understandings of social beings. This method centres Indigenous voice and knowledges, and convenes it as an authoritative source of analysis. Dr. Watts is also a Research Fellow at the Yellowhead Institute at Ryerson University, a centre that privileges First Nation philosophy and is focused on policies related to land and governance.

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