Michael Orsini, Associate Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, joined the Jackson School of International Studies as the 2008-09 Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair from January through June 2009. He obtained his Ph.D in 2002 from Carleton University where he studied public policy and completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant-sponsored dissertation, Blood, Blame and Belonging: HIV, Hepatitis C, and the Emergence of Blood Activism in Canada.
Appointed to the University of Ottawa in 2003 following two years at York University (Glendon College) in Toronto, Orsini joined the newly formed School of Political Studies, where is he also a Principal Scientist at the Institute of Population Health (he received tenure in 2006). He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Canadian politics and health policy in both English and French. He recently completed a cross-country study on the experience of living with Hepatitis C, which was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Orsini is very pleased with the opportunity to spend six months in the US and at the UW in order to expand his research interests in health policy and comparative politics and to work in an interdisciplinary environment including sociology, law and politics, and science and technology studies. He will spend his time at UW working on a new project, titled “Health Policy from Below: Social Movements and Contested Illness in Canada and the US.” The project, which is funded by a SSHRC grant, examines the policy influence of civil society actors in three areas (asthma, autism and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).
He looks forward to working with faculty and students and sharing his knowledge about the Canadian health care system and emerging health social movements in the two countries. “Given the importance of health issues to Canadians and Americans… academics can play an important role intervening in public debates and in laying the groundwork for citizens to engage in meaningful dialogue on pressing issues. I hope the Fulbright fellowship can help me in working toward achieving this goal.”
News from the Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair
Michael Orisini is the Center’s 2008-09 Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair from the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa. Michael is in residence at the UW through June 2009.
My time as the Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair has been a busy one since arriving from Ottawa on December 31st with my wife, Victoria, and children, Emma and Lucca. Just a week after touching down in Seattle, I was off to the lovely town of La Conner to take part in the Fourth Annual Public Health Symposium: US/Canada Academic Collaboration in the Pacific Northwest, which was organized by UW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of British Columbia’s Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, and Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
At the end of January, it was off to Victoria, BC to take part in a two-day think tank on Media and Public Policy organized by the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society. I served as co-chair of the working group dealing with media and policy issues related to cancer prevention, and moderated a discussion on how to develop a research agenda around media and policy in the cancer field.
In early February I traveled to Vancouver to give a guest lecture, “Engendering Autism Activism,” at Simon Fraser University’s Harbourfront campus in Vancouver. The talk, which was sponsored by the Women’s Health Research Network, focused on the gendered dynamics of advocacy in the field of autism.
Mid-February took me to sunny Phoenix to give a talk on “narrative analysis” to a sharp group of PhD students in Public Administration at Arizona State University. My host was Professor Gerald Miller, a former Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair who spent some time at the University of Ottawa. On the second day of my visit there, I served as a discussant for Professor Miller’s presentation, which dealt with a project he is completing on tax revolts in Canada and the US. I was asked to reflect on how one might explain the lack of tax revolt in Canada, despite the fact that Canadians are, on the whole, taxed more heavily than are Americans.
Finally, on March 4th, I was pleased to deliver a lecture titled, “A Spectrum of Disputes: Framing Autism Activism in Canada and the US.”
Scholarly Activities at the UW
2008-09 Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair, Michael Orsini, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa. Orsini’s research interests include health policy and comparative politics in an interdisciplinary environment including sociology, law and politics, and science and technology studies. During his residency at University of Washington, Orsini worked on a new project, titled “Health Policy from Below: Social Movements and Contested Illness in Canada and the US.” The project, funded by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Grant, examines the policy influence of civil society actors in three areas (asthma, autism and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).
Participant, Fourth Annual Public Health Symposium: US-Canada Academic Collaboration in the Pacific Northwest, La Conner, Washington, 9-10 January 2009.
Class presentation, “Introduction to Politics in Canada and Ottawa,” for the students inSIS 495C: Task Force on Arctic Sovereignty, University of Washington, 23 January 2009.
Invited lecture, “Gendering Autism Activism,” provided to faculty and staff, Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, 6 February 2009.
Lecture, “Contested Illnesses and Comparative Social Movement Activism: Bringing Narrative Analysis In,” Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, 19 February 2009.
Discussant, “Canadian and US Comparative Tax Burdens and Revolts,” School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, 20 February 2009.
Lecture, “A ‘Spectrum’ of Disputes: Framing Autism in Canada and the US,” part of theHot Spots in Your World Lecture Series, sponsored by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, 4 March 2009.
Visiting Scholar, provided guest lectures in three courses (IDS 329, SOC 119-01, ANTH 344-01) including meetings with faculty, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, 6-7 April 2009.
Respondent, “Re-Imagining Health – What We Can Learn from Canada,” 4th Annual Canadian Studies Graduate Student Symposium, University of Washington, 17 April 2009.
Invited lecturer, “The Future of Health Care in Canada and the US,” for faculty and graduate students, School of Nursing, University of Washington Bothell, 25 April 2009.
Invited lecturer, “Seeing Red: A Tale of Two Tainted Blood Scandals,” “A Spectrum of Disputes: Autism Activism and the Contours of Biological Citizenship,” and “The Canadian Health Care System,” for the general public and undergraduate students in international studies and public health, Canadian Studies Committee, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon, 29 April – 1 May 2009.
Invited Lecturer, LSJ332/CHID 332 Disability and Society: Introduction to Disability Studies, Professor Joanne Woiak, University of Washington, 21 May 2009.
Northwest Exposure Comes to an End
By Michael Orsini
Above: Fulbright Canada Chair, Michael Orsini (center) with Anand Yang, Director, Jackson School of International Studies (left), and Juan Guerra, Associate Dean, Graduate School.
Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were unpacking and getting acclimatized to life in Seattle. Now, many a latte later, we are packing to head back to Ottawa. The final three months here have been just as busy as the first three. After speaking to the UW community on March 4 about my current research on autism activism, I visited a number of universities, including Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington), Willamette University (Salem, Oregon), and Western Oregon University (Monmouth, Oregon).
At Whitman, I spoke on a panel with Ann Miles, a medical anthropologist from Western Michigan University who studies the narratives of women living with lupus in Ecuador. Less than a week later, it was off to Willamette University, where I gave three talks on my own research and on the Canadian health care system.
On April 17, I took part in the Canadian Studies symposium, “Re-imagining Health,” which was expertly organized by UW Social Work PhD student Morna McEachern (see cover). The event featured talks by a half-dozen graduate students from UW in fields ranging from forestry to sex education.
On April 25, it was back to UW (Bothell Campus), where I spoke at the Forum on the Future of Health Care, which was organized by UW Bothell School of Nursing, State Representatives Al O’Brien and Mark Ericks, and State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe. The event attracted nearly 100 people on a Saturday morning!
My last University visit, in the grip of the Swine Flu panic, was to Western Oregon University, where I was greeted by an exemplary host, Anthropology Professor Robin Smith. I gave three talks to students there, as well as a public talk on my autism research.
It has been a memorable six months for me as a researcher and for my family, an experience we are not likely to forget for some time. A special thank you to Nadine Fabbi, who has been nothing short of exceptional during our stay.
The Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair is supported by the Office of Global Affairs, Social Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dean’s Fund for Innovation and Excellence in Education in the Graduate School, and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies.
Contact Information for Michael Orsini
University of Ottawa
School of Political Studies
55 Laurier Ave E