SGS Celebrates Graduate Student Winners of Federal Tri-Council Awards – Robert Burroughs

Author: Andrea

Posted on Jul 21, 2021

Category: Student Stories , Money Matters

Profile of Robert Burroughs

Award Received: Canada Graduate Scholarship, Doctorate (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

Awarded for the project: Reimagining the Crown in New Brunswick in the context of Reconciliation

Faculty: Arts

Department: Interdisciplinary Studies

Project supervised by: Dr. J.P. Lewis

Bridging the fields of geography, history and political science, the primary focus of my research is the Crown in Canada, a poorly taught and easily misunderstood institution.  The Crown is emblematic of Canada’s monarchy, executive power, and an important component of the legislative branch of state.  Still, some see it as purely ceremonial and often irrelevant.  

The Crown remains relevant because, at its root, it is an expression of state power in Canadian history. Often seen as a symbol for Canada’s ‘peaceful’ evolution, the Crown’s centrality to the political framework sustains Canada’s colonial project.  My research explores the structural changes required from Canada’s political institutions—its legislatures, governments, and courts—to reconcile the presence of a settler state within the territories of Indigenous nations who have not only underlying and unceded sovereignty, but their own governance structures and legal systems that Canada has sought to dismantle.

As long as Canada’s settler colonial enterprise—the structures and laws and institutions that we built to first justify the dispossession, exclusion, and elimination of Indigenous peoples, their nations, and their territories—continues to draw its legitimacy by exercising the power of the Crown, the institution will remain an important subject of study.