Monique Deveaux Faculty Webpage
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Fully funded PhD position in Philosophy – project on Structural Exploitation

Call for expressions of interest: Funded PhD position for project on Structural Exploitation

4 years of full funding to do your own PhD studies/research in Philosophy, in addition to working as a research assistant to Dr. Monique Deveaux, Canada Research Chair in Ethics & Global Social Change in the Department of Philosophy at University of Guelph. A description of the research project — What Structural Exploitation is, and Why it Matters — is below. Political theory students welcome!

Your profile:

  • Completed MA in Philosophy or a Social Science discipline (with some Philosophy/Political Theory background)
  • Familiar with qualitative research methods
  • Willing to learn & apply new research methodologies
  • Willing to engage in fieldwork for the project (primarily interviews)
  • Excellent writing and communication skills (in English)
  • Plan to write a dissertation in Political Philosophy or Ethics that intersects with the research project described below

What the position offers you:

  • Supportive, dynamic research lab environment: the Grounded & Engaged Theory Lab at U of Guelph
  • Possibility of doing an additional Collaborative Specialization (in International Development Studies, One Health, or Sexualities, Genders, and Bodies)
  • Full funding (tuition costs, fees, and health insurance, plus a minimum of $24K annual stipend) for each of the 4 years. [note: In years 3 and 4, TA-ships may be part of this funding package. External scholarships received may impact funding, per the Department’s funding formula]
  • Opportunity to teach your own undergraduate course in Year 3 of the program
  • Access to research funds for your own research (conferences, fieldwork travel costs)

To apply, send the following by Dec. 9/22 to:

  • Letter of interest outlining the research you would like to undertake for your PhD dissertation; your interest in the project described below; and your qualifications in connection with this position.
  • Academic CV
  • Writing sample (academic paper/essay, or other writing showing your analytical & reasoning ability)
  • Academic transcript (unofficial copy is fine)

Please note: 1) Due to funding constraints, preference will be given to domestic (versus international) applicants. 2) The candidate(s) chosen will still need to apply to the Philosophy PhD program through the university’s central application system (applications due Jan. 6, 2023), but your application fee will be waived and your application will be considered separately.   

What Structural Exploitation is, and Why it Matters

Numerous social, economic, and legal processes combine to render people vulnerable to exploitation in high-income countries like Canada. From migration policies that assign a subordinate and liminal status to migrants, to economic policies that devalue work done disproportionately by women and racialized groups, to the erosion of workers’ rights and the normalization of precarity, it is easy to see that the most important drivers of human exploitation under late capitalism are large systems and structures. Yet in labour law, criminal law, and social policy, exploitation is too often treated as an aberration, rather than as an inherent feature of these systems. This project aims to bring greater descriptive and normative clarity to the concept of ‘structural exploitation’, and to show why identifying exploitation as a central aspect of key economic, legal, and social structures matters. It also asks whether and why the perspectives of exploited persons should figure in determinations of whether a practice is exploitative — and how best to reform it — whilst recognizing that oppressive circumstances constrain people’s range of choices in morally relevant ways. Finally, the project also explores what kinds of social, economic, and legal remedies for structural exploitation best reflect the demands of social movements representing (or advocating for) exploited social groups.