CTI Who we are – Team and Friends


CTI began as an interdisciplinary and intergenerational group of graduate students and senior academics. We imagine other worlds being possible by looking at alternatives that already are. In the spirit of ‘small is beautiful’ we began to meet at Imagine Studio Café in the traditional homelands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees) Nations in 2017. Each week, we engage in dialogues of reciprocal elucidation regarding the multiplicity of crises humanity faces and the exemplary responses communities are engaging in. Together, local struggles capture our imaginations, linking them to ground-breaking academic research from across disciplinary boundaries.

Over time, we have transformed into not only using this space locally to foster our own community of practice and engage in inter-generational dialogue, but we have worked with the Centre for Global Studies to establish an internationally-networked Institute that hosts multilogues, supports public engagement beyond academia and collaborates on a range of social change initiatives. If at any time you find us in Imagine and you see that kids are drawing, making puzzles, playing with Lego or making a protest sign, and we seem to be talking just about the quotidian do not be surprised. This is one way we contribute to a healthier more virtuous world, one little step at a time.



Oliver Schmidtke is a Professor in the Departments of Political Science and History at the University of Victoria where he also serves as the director of the Centre for Global Studies since 2012. He received his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence and has been a JF Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University, a visiting scholar at Humboldt University Berlin, a F. Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, and a Marie Curie Fellow at Hamburg University. His research interests are in the fields of democracy, populism, citizenship, migration, nationalism from a comparative transatlantic perspective. Oliver Schmidtke is a regular contributor to national and international media. He has published 15 authored & edited volumes and over 80 journal articles/ chapters.



Emeritus Member

James Hamilton Tully is an emeritus professor of Political Science and Law. His two-volume work, Public Philosophy in a New Key (Cambridge University Press 2008), was awarded the C.B. Macpherson Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association for the best book in political theory written in English or French in Canada 2008-10. He was consulting editor of the journals Political Theory and Global Constitutionalism, co-editor of the Clarendon Works of John Locke and former co-editor of the Cambridge Ideas in Context Series. He has published 11 authored & edited volumes and over 90 chapters and articles. He specializes in political and legal theory/philosophy and their history: public philosophy, freedom, constitutionalism, nonviolence, civic engagement, Indigenous-Settler relations.



An experienced facilitator and teacher of culturally-aware and participatory community engagement methods, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), child/youth engagement, and Indigenous research methodologies, Rebeccah has 15+ years working collaboratively with communities, NGOs, youth-serving, government, research and UN agencies, both locally and internationally. Her academic research and teaching explores eco-social connection, unsettling Western conceptions of knowledge, collaborative community engagement and relational leadership. Rebeccah is a founding Associate with CTI, Associate Faculty in School of Leadership at Royal Roads University, an Associate with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), and a PhD Candidate in UVic’s Sociology and Cultural, Social and Political Thought programs. Rebeccah’s doctoral project explores eco-social connection and decolonizing research methods by focusing on local Reconciliation efforts in Lkwungen territories, and the global youth-led climate justice movement. Her work has been generously supported by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Most recently, she co-edited the interdisciplinary volume Exploring Empathy (Brill, 2018), and was a contributor to Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times (Caitlin Press, 2019).



Rebeca Macias Gimenez is a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. She is affiliated with the Water, Innovation, and Global Governance Lab, at the Centre for Global Studies, and a graduate student fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Rebeca’s research interest focuses on environmental decision-making about energy infrastructure projects and on ways to address adverse effects on Indigenous communities. Through her PhD dissertation, entitled “Searching for Equitable Treatment in Environmental Impact Assessment of Hydropower Projects”, she examines the environmental injustices towards Indigenous peoples caused by the dismissal of their worldviews, and their complex relationship with the land, in environmental decisions about infrastructure projects.



Beate Schmidtke graduated within a degree in interdisciplinary studies in the field of Art, Culture and International Relations in Europe (University of Hildesheim (Germany) including a year of study at the Universita di Bologna (Italy). In 1995 she received a prestigious graduate Fellowship for International Relations by the Robert Bosch Foundation (Germany). After co-managing projects for the European Commission in the field of new media and content production at the International Book Agency in Berlin, Beate was instrumental in developing the EUCAnet initiative in 2005 and manages the initiative since then. EUCAnet’s vision is to stimulate a dialogue between scholars and the public sphere focusing on themes surrounding democracy, migration and other relationships between Europe and Canada. EUCAnet collaborates with over 200 scholars across Canada and Europe and facilitates a range of outreach activities such as an expert database, media alerts, policy memos, webinars, a blog, school presentations, media trainings and social media outreach.  EUCAnet’s latest projects are: Canada Europe Dialogue on Democracy, Canada Europe Dialogue on Migration, Communication and Media Strategies and since 2019 European Memory Politics.



Karen Yen is a graphic designer with 20 years of experience that started in San Francisco, continuing on in New York and Barcelona, and now in Victoria.

She has had the experience of working on a variety of projects, ranging from nationwide retailers to small businesses, academic research and alternative projects. She has created logos, stationery, printed material as well packaging and websites. Karen has a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University in Canada and a BFA in Graphic Design from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, US. She is also a practicing artist whose medium of expression is painting and drawing.



Amy Swiffen is an Associate Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University (Montreal). She holds a B.A. (with distinction) in sociology from the University of Alberta, an M.A. in sociology from Queen’s University, an M.S.L from the faculty of law at the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Alberta. Her background is in sociological theory and sociolegal studies. She specialises in social, political and legal theory, criminology, constitutional law, and issues related to civil and political rights. Her book Law, Ethics and the Biopolitical (Routledge 2011) analyses a new paradigm in ethical thought known as bioethics in light of biopolitical theories of power. She has co-edited multiple collections of essays and journal special issues, including most recently a special issue of the Review of Constitutional Studies. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics including the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, the relationship between law and violence, and legal responses to public health emergencies. She is currently engaged in research on the scope and limits of collective religious freedom and the possibilities for indigenous self-governance within Canada’s constitutional framework of Aboriginal rights.



Keith Cherry is a settler academic, sessional instructor, and community activist living on unceded Lekwungen territories. Keith holds a Killam Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta and a Center for Global Studies fellowship at the University of Victoria, and is a co-founder of the Cedar Trees Institute. Keith’s doctoral research explored legal pluralism in two contrasting settings, settler/Indigenous relationships in Canada and member-state/Union relations in the European Union. Building off of this work, his current research focuses on pluralism among non-state actors, focusing in particular on the relationship between Indigenous land defenders on their territories and allied activists in far away urban centers. Keith is interested in how these relationships differ from, and provide a potential alternative to, state-based forms of pluralist practice.



Ryan Beaton is currently pursuing a PhD in Law at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. His research focuses on the evolving conceptions of Aboriginal title and Crown sovereignty in Canadian case law. Ryan also works as a lawyer at Juristes Power in Vancouver. He works in areas of Aboriginal law, constitutional law, and administrative law. In 2014-2015, Ryan clerked for Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin at the Supreme Court of Canada, prior to which he clerked at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He received his JD from Harvard Law School in 2013. Ryan has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (2011) and a MSc in Mathematics from McGill University (2005). He is from the greater Montreal area, now living in Victoria. He practices law in English and French. He is also fluent in German, and conversant in Spanish and Marathi.



Robert Hamilton is an assistant professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, where he teaches Indigenous rights and property law, and a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria. He is a research fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Canadian Institute of Resources Law. Robert’s current research activities revolve around Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, property theory, legal history, and constitutional law. His work examines sites of complex legal and normative hybridity to develop critiques of state-based concentrations of authority that undermine that hybridity and pluralism.



Joshua Ben David Nichols is an assistant professor in the faculty of law at McGill University. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) in political science and an M.A. in sociology from the University of Alberta; a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto; a J.D. from the University of British Columbia; and a Ph.D. in law from the University of Victoria. His  most recent book, A Reconciliation without Recollection? An Investigation of the Foundations of Aboriginal Law in Canada was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2020. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Historical Sociology, as the book review editor at the Review of Constitutional Studies and he is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia. He specializes in the history of legal and political philosophy, constitutional law, federalism, and the challenges of deep diversity in settler colonial states.



Pablo Ouziel holds a Post-Doctoral Fellowships with the Centre for Global Studies and the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria and is a visiting fellow at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Pablo’s research interests include public philosophy, collective presences, horizontality, nonviolence and civic democracy. By standing within the tradition of public philosophy, the core of his work is centred on excavating networks of individuals governing themselves in numerous ways that supersede our current structures of representative government.



David Owen is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton and a founding member of the Centre for Democratic Futures. He has been Visiting Professor in Philosophy (2010) and in Social and Political Sciences (2000 & 2008) at J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt a/M. He is an associate editor of European Journal of Political Theory and a past reviews editor of Political Theory. He has published, as author or editor, twelve books and more than a hundred articles, book chapters and review essays. His most recent book is What do we owe to refugees? (Polity 2020). His research ranges across the history of political thought, post-Kantian social and political philosophy, the ethics and politics of migration, and democratic theory.



Associate professor, Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, University of Victoria



Professor Emeritus ,  Anthropology, University of Victoria

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Graduate Student, Political Science, Indigenous Nationhood Program,

University of Victoria

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Associate Professor,

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business,

University of Victoria

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Professor, Environmental Studies, University of Victoria



Professor, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria



Teacher of Global Politics, Pearson College UWC



Professor, Geography, University of Victoria

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Research collaborator and Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Global Studies

University of Victoria

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Associate Professor, History, University of Victoria

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Visiting Fellow, Centre for Global Studies; Faculty Member,

School of Public Administration; University of Victoria

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Professor, Philosophy

University of Illinois