Rebeccah Nelems, PhD, MA, BA (Hon.)

Assistant Professor

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Personal profile

    A public sociologist and engaged social change theorist, my research engages with the inherent relationality of existence, centering Indigenous theory and relational ontologies. If a crisis of disconnect - from ourselves, others and earth – is core to the many eco-social challenges we face, my work focuses on how to transform individualist ways of being towards interconnected, eco-centric ways of being. Relational and collaborative changemaking has been a focus of my work as a scholar and practitioner for over twenty years, having led community-based research with dozens of organizations, institutions and movements – from small NGOs to UN agencies. With current research on eco-social empathy, decolonizing leadership, the youth climate justice movement and collaborative co-parenting, my recent publications address ontological diversity, engaged theory, climate change, and decolonizing higher education. I am a sixth-generation uninvited guest of Irish/Scottish/British descent on the ancestral lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən-speaking peoples today also known as Victoria, BC.

    Research Interests

    My work focuses on how we might work collaboratively, and across deep diversity, to transform individualist, ego-centric ways of being towards relational, eco-centric ways of being. My research interests fall into the following broad categories: - Applied, community-based, engaged research, with a focus on: youth climate justice movement; collaborative leadership and change-making; conceptions of home; collaborative co-parenting; decolonizing human rights; and the rights of nature. - Methodological interests include: community-based research; decolonizing research methodologies and methods; arts-based methods; engaged or grounded normative theory; relational and phenomenological methods. - Theoretical interests include: epistemic justice; decolonizing knowledge; social imaginaries; ontological diversity; eco-social empathy; Indigenous theory; phenomenology; deep ecology; and transformative social change theory.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SDG 13 - Climate Action
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
    • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

    Education/Academic qualification

    PhD, University of Victoria BC

    … → 2022

    M.A, York University Toronto

    … → 1998

    B.A, University of Toronto

    … → 1995

    External positions

    Co-founding member and associate, Cedar Trees Institute, Centre for Global Studies, UVic

    1 Apr. 2018 → …

    Associate, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD)

    1 May 2009 → …

    Associate Faculty, School of Leadership Studies, Royal Roads University


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