Comparative Studies Student Association hosts Social Justice Conference

The Comparative Studies Student Association (CSSA) will be hosting a conference presenting research topics relating to social justice on March 31.


Courtesy of the CSSA Conference.

Mary Rasura, Senior Staff Writer


The Comparative Studies Student Association (CSSA) will be hosting a “Social Justice” conference on March 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union. The CSSA is an organization that connects students enrolled in the Ph.D in comparative studies program. 

The conference will include presentations on research topics such as harm reduction, gender, race, the environment, and politics. 

“We selected the theme of social justice because there are so many issues facing global and national populations today. Many of our students want to be part of the solution,” wrote Jodie Boisvert, Ph.D student in comparative studies, in an email. “Our students are passionate about racism, poverty, housing, LGBTQ rights, and more. Solving these issues are crucial to our long-term sustainability as a human race. Through research and advocacy, our students are creating a better world.”

Boisvert will be presenting on research concerning xenophobia, the fear of strangers, foreigners or immigrants.

“I’m really interested in learning about xenophobia and racism in the context of ‘where does it come from? and how do we stop it?’” Boisvert said. “And I’m contemplating exactly why do people develop xenophobic beliefs? Is it cultural, is it environment, so I really want to kind of narrow down where people are getting these beliefs from, in order to then decide the best plan of action, the best course of action to kind of prevent xenophobia from getting into our future generations.”

Anthropology graduate student Tess Moody will be presenting her research on harm reduction in Palm Beach County. 

According to the National Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy organization, harm reduction is an approach that helps people reduce negative consequences of drug use through practical strategies such as Narcan (a medication that can reduce opioid overdose), syringe exchanges, drug testing, and more. Syringe exchanges allow people to trade a dirty needle for a clean needle, helping prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. 

During her research Moody spent her time studying the success and troubles people have had in providing different options for those who are on the road to recovery.

“I was researching at our local syringe exchange, which is called FLASH through Rebel Recovery and the Harm Reduction Center which is a private behavioral healthcare LLC that was also doing the therapeutic side,” said Moody.

Moody further explains that her research would compare different aspects of recovery.

“It was sort of a comparative study between the nonprofit and the private side, providing care to people who use drugs and sort of looking at the cultural aspects and the institutional aspects that go into people seeking care for substance abuse, whether that’s safe use supplies, or substance use disorder treatment, and some of the barriers associated with those things,” Moody said. 

Mary Rasura is a senior staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @maryrasura.