Dr. Jonathan Langdon, an associate professor in StFX’s Development Studies Program and Adult Education Department, has been awarded a $500,000 five year renewable Canada Research Chair (CRC Tier 2) in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership. In addition, he was awarded a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) infrastructure grant through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund. These funds will be put towards the purchase of communication networking equipment to support research linkages between network nodes.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 1:50 pm
The CRC Tier 2 program recognizes and supports exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their chosen field.
“Dr. Jonathan Langdon is one of the most promising young researchers at St. Francis Xavier University. He has already had significant success in establishing his research program and in 2015 was awarded one of the largest research grants ever awarded to a StFX faculty member by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.
“Dr. Langdon’s research seeks to improve the understanding of how leaders for social change in support of sustainability emerge and how they learn from each other to magnify the impact of their work at a local level. He is literally connecting local sustainability and social change efforts across the world, and his work has significant implications for facilitating broader local level sustainability efforts here in Nova Scotia."
Leaders are emerging in localities throughout the world to face climate change impacts, cultural homogenization through globalization, and other locally defined sustainability and social challenges. There is much that these leaders and the local efforts, communities and social movements from which they emerge, can learn from each other, whether they be in Africa, Latin America or in Canada. In contrast to stalled and ineffectual national or global efforts to deal with these sustainability challenges, trans-local efforts, linking localities as part of broad, non-hierarchal social change movements, holds real promise in redefining how sustainability is understood, as well as contending with its challenges through knowledge exchange and social change learning that leads to local action.
As Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership, Dr. Langdon will focus new research on efforts to understand how these local leaders emerge, how they learn from one another, how they exchange knowledge in order to share what they know to improve local efforts, and how they work to build trans-local collaborative networks that generate local action where other forms of leadership have failed.
Establishing spaces for these forms of knowledge exchange, learning and actions, as well as documenting its processes, is the ultimate focus of Dr. Langdon’s research program.
The first five years of this research will link with already established connections in two contexts in Ghana (Ada in the south, and Tongo in the north), with an emerging connection in Guatemala (Rabinal), and then with three contexts in Canada, including one First Nation community (Paq’tnkek). The other Canadian contexts are Tatamagouche, NS – which has a strong link to Rabinal through its Breaking the Silence (BTS) network – and Antigonish, NS, which has already connected to Ada through a joint radio program focused on community resiliency.
As research progresses, the network will be expanded to connect with other local sustainability and social change efforts in Canada and elsewhere in the world.
Dr. Langdon says this new chair is a crucial opportunity to highlight the amazing work on sustainability, climate change, community resiliency and social movement learning and leadership being undertaken by colleagues and himself at StFX and to amplify the learning emerging from this collective effort provincially, nationally and internationally.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to deepen research engagement around sustainability and social change leadership issues such as community resiliency in face of globalization and climate change; community media and social movement learning and role in contributing to this resiliency; and building learning connections between local efforts at resiliency building through sustainable internet network.”
He says it’s also an opportunity for him to work with senior development studies students, as well as other students by broadening their range of opportunities to learn through direct experience in participatory research processes, and engaged research, as well as international and local change contexts. As well, the new chair provides opportunity to learn from others engaged in sustainability work at StFX, and in other locations across Canada and globally, he says.
About the Chairholder:
Jonathan Langdon has been working with social movements in Ghana for the last 15 years, and with a movement in Ada defending communal access to a salt yielding lagoon since 2008. His recent work has branched out from Ada to connect with other resource contention hot spots in Ghana, as well as with Indigenous Mayan educators/activists in Guatemala. At the same time he has worked closely with renewable energy movements/groups in Nova Scotia, such as Responsible Energy Action in Antigonish, as well as sitting on the steering committee of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource Action Coalition (NOFRAC). Parallel to this work, Dr. Langdon also explores how students of development studies, and social justice and activist education, learn about, and act in our world. He is fast becoming recognized internationally as an advocate for decolonizing university pedagogies, including pedagogies associated with development studies and experiential learning contexts. Dr. Langdon’s work has been published in prominent International and Canadian development, participatory research as well as adult education journals. He is also the editor of Indigenous Knowledges, Development and Education (Sense 2009). In 2013, he, along with co-authors Kofi Larweh and Sheena Cameron, won the David Jones Award for best internationally focused paper at the UK’s Standing Conference On University Teaching And Research In The Education Of Adults (SCUTREA) Conference. https://stfx.academia.edu/JonathanLangdon
About the Canada Research Chairs Program:
Recipients of Canada Research Chairs (Tier 2) awards must be excellent emerging world-class researchers who have demonstrated particular research creativity; have demonstrated the potential to receive international recognition in their fields in the next five to 10 years; as chairholders, have the potential to attract, develop and retain excellent trainees, students and future researchers; and be proposing an original, innovative research program of high quality.