New research network: Call for Applications to join the Editorial Board

Voices-Voix

Dissent Democracy & the Law: A Collaborative Research Network for Legal Scholars, Activists and Social Scientists

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS to join the Network's Editorial Board

The Research Network on Dissent, Democracy & the Law (DDL) invites applications on an on-going basis for positions on its Editorial Board. The Network is hosted by the Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society at Osgoode Hall Law School. It brings together scholars interested in the nexus between civil society and the law, with a focus on legal and political advocacy, dissent and democratic deliberation.

Background:  Emerging trends in Canada signal a radical reformation of the relationship between the Canadian state and civil society.  This refers to practices such as targeted funding cuts and threats to organizations currently enjoying charitable status; intimidation, defamation and surveillance of select groups and activists; pressure on federal public servants to maintain a code of silence; weakening of or disregard for federal oversight bodies; and sidelining or eliminating the role of knowledge and research in the formation of public policy.  This combination of legal and extralegal measures is reducing the legal, financial and political space available to organizations with opinions that differ from those of the federal government, especially those organizations working on issues such as women’s rights, foreign policy, the environment, and immigration.

Civil society organizations are mobilizing to respond to this situation.  Voices-Voix (voices-voix.ca) is a coalition of organizations and individuals broadly concerned with these trends.  It was formed in 2010 by more than 200 organizations and 4700 individuals signed its founding Declaration.  The Voices-Voix Steering Committee is made up of civil society leaders and lawyers, including the directors of Amnesty International, Oxfam Canada, InterPares, Canada Without Poverty, Alternatives and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation.  In addition to the Documentation Project (described below), Voices-Voix members and volunteers hold and participate in public events, maintain an active website with relevant and up to date research and information, represent Voices-Voix concerns to international institutions including the United Nations, and participate in civil society campaigns and coalitions concerned with advocacy and dissent.

Board Responsibilities: DDL Editors work jointly and also collaboratively with the Voices Coordinator to oversee the Documentation Project.  To date, the Project has identified 120 cases of individuals and institutions that have been subjected to the practices described above, and more are continuously brought to light.  Of these, Voices-Voix has documented and published summaries of more than 75 case studies on its website.  The narrative arc of each case is researched based on information available in the public realm, and its implications are analyzed using the principles of democracy, transparency, rule of law, equality and freedom of expression.

Each Editor will assume an area of expertise on the Board.  This may include but is not limited to issues that touch on Aboriginal people, the environment, gender, the public service, freedom of expression, human rights, etc. Within their area of expertise, Editors will be charged with selecting appropriate case studies, overseeing the volunteers who prepare relevant documentation pages and identifying potential new volunteer researchers.  The role of Editors is to ensure rigor of research, quality and consistency with the vision articulated in the Voices-Voix Declaration. 

Publishing Opportunities: Depending on their disciplines and research interests, Editors will have the opportunity to prepare and peer review analytical documents based on the data in the Documentation Project. They may be solicited to author reports to international institutions, write editorials in the Canadian media, collaborate on academic publications or peer review special editions of relevant journals.  For example, in 2012 Voices-Voix members submitted a report to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Canada’s human rights compliance and in 2013 they authored a chapter of the CIVICUS 2012-2013 State of Canadian Civil Society Report.  Finally, Editors should be willing to participate in discussions with the Voices-Voix Strategy Group regarding dissemination of the research associated with the Documentation Project, such as by way of conferences, workshops or academic courses.

Qualifications & Commitment: Board members should have experience in editorial work, advanced degree(s) in social sciences, law, or related fields, and be able to commit approximately 8 hours per month.  

RSVP to Charis Kamphuis, Senior Research Fellow, Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society, Convener, Civil Society & the Law Research Network, PhD Candidate Osgoode Hall Law School. chariskamphuis@osgoode.yorku.ca