Congratulations to PhD student Andrea Roman Alfaro, recipient of Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

May 30, 2019 by Sherri Klassen

Congratulations to Phd student Andrea Roman Alfaro, who recently learned that she was awarded one of the 2019 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships!

Vanier Canada Scholarships are among the most prestigious scholarships available to graduate students studying in Canadian institutions. Vanier scholars are chosen based on their academic excellence, research potential and leadership potential and demonstrated ability. The program seeks and recognizes scholars who "demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health."

Andrea has just completed her second year of PhD studies in Sociology at the University of Toronto. Prior to this, she completed a BA in Sociology and Government at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and an MA in Sociology, with an specialization in social policy and development at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima, Peru. Andrea has already conducted research in Peru on privatization of education, education policies and programs, citizenship education, and gender inequality in academia. This work has resulted in publications (including one book, two book chapters, and one journal article) and through it she served as the Executive Coordinator of Grupo Sofia, an organization that promotes gender equality in the social sciences academia in Peru.

Andrea received the award based on her track record and the promise of her proposed dissertation project, Navigating the Multiplicity of Violence: Women’s Experiences of Violence in Peru.  The faculty members supervising Andrea's dissertation are: Jerry Flores, Phil Goodman, Judy Taylor and Randol Contreras. Andrea's work breaks new ground by conducting research on Peru and Latinx populations and the different ways in which violence, incarceration and the criminal justice system produces and reinforces social inequalities.

The following abstract provides a summary of her dissertation plans.


Latin America is one of the most violent regions of the world, with a homicide rate 10 points higher than the global average. Most research on violence in Latin America has studied men’s participation in gangs, drug trafficking, guerrilla movements, and urban violence, obscuring women’s experiences with violence in their homes and broader communities. Research that has studied women’s experiences with violence has focused on gender violence, fostering a division between the study of violence in the street and the home. This division has created a limited understanding of violence, making crime and delinquency the focus of public outrage and government intervention, while overlooking how violence against women is related to these public issues. This study aims to show how violence on the street and in the home are connected by asking: how do women in marginalized urban neighbourhoods make sense of and cope with everyday forms of violence?

In marginalized neighbourhoods, different forms of violence—crime, delinquency, domestic and gender violence, police harassment, and poverty—affect family and community relationships. Because of their role as caretakers, women are overburdened with the task of developing strategies to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm. As a result, women’s experiences in dealing with violence inside and outside the home are essential for understanding how different forms of violence are connected. I will explore these connections by conducting ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with women and men for one year in a marginalized urban neighbourhood located in Callao, one of the most violent provinces of Peru. This study hopes to contribute to the discussion on how violence arises and is perpetuated and how to improve the situation of Latin Americans who live under the threat of violence.