Alexis Black

Assistant Professor

Research Classification

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.

Research Methodology

infant looking-time procedures


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Concerning labour markets and the commodification of social difference in the Alberta oil sands (2018)

In this thesis, I consider ethnographic conversations I had during fieldwork in Fort McMurray and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 2016 with two sets of workers: Albertan trades-workers employed in the oil sands (pipe-fitters, welders and boilermakers) and Filipino/a Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) employed in the local service sector (cooks, caregivers and kitchen helpers). I analyse these workers’ self-reflections on their own work routines as providing a sightline into the ways labour market processes and regulatory frameworks are manifest in and negotiated through their lives. I draw especially on the theories of Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx in my analysis. Through ethnography I also show how the labour market processes these thinkers analyse shape, and are shaped by, social differences they each tend to neglect (e.g. nationality, citizenship, migration status, race, ethnicity, gender), and which more recent post-colonial, feminist, and critical race theorists have emphasised. Hence from the Albertan context, I conceptualise how state-regulated labour markets re-fashion, and are re-fashioned by, the cultural identities of workers. I show how local labour market processes re-make and aggravate social differences between Albertan trades-workers and Filipino/a TFWs in Alberta, in ways that are not superficially or simply motivated by forms of discrimination (e.g. xenophobia, racism, sexism), but which nonetheless agitate and divide an emergent “precariat” (Standing 2011). I hope this thesis can provide the basis for further ethnographic and comparative research.

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