jspinney


Jennifer Spinney

Photo of Jennifer Spinney

School of Administrative Studies

Assistant Professor

Office: 246 Atkinson Building
Email: jspinney@yorku.ca

Accepting New Graduate Students


Jennifer Spinney (MA & PhD sociocultural anthropology, Western University)

I study the various connections between groups of people living and working at the intersections of environment and society, particularly extreme weather hazards and disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and heat, in both Canada and the United States. I use mostly qualitative research methods, such as interviewing and observations, to understand how people make meaning, assess and communicate risk, how they engage in protective action decision-making, as well as the variability of their social recovery following hazard and disaster experiences.

In my work, I draw heavily on scholarly contributions from the fields of linguistic and sociocultural anthropology, and anthropology of disaster, risk and policy literatures. Past field investigations include: the Joplin, Missouri EF5 tornado, a flood event in the Canadian arctic, and numerous projects working with government agencies to assist with enhancements to their forecast and warning operations, communication practices and product development.

Current investigations include:
- Social Recovery following the 2018 Dunrobin, Ontario tornado (Northern Tornadoes Project)
- The application of tornado safety in Ontario public schools (SSHRC IDG)
- Interpreting and communicating hazard confidence (collaboration with Meteorological Service of Canada to assist in the development of their public alerting program; SSHRC Explore + York MRG)
- Investigating public experiences with tornadoes (IPET) in Ontario (Northern Tornadoes Project; @ipetontario on Twitter)

**Prospective graduate students** funding is available to support multiple students in the following research studies during the 2022-2023 academic year:

1. Examining social dimensions of recovery following the July 16, 2021 Barrie, Ontario tornado and drawing on study findings to generate evidence-informed practical guidelines for building capacity and enhancing resilience for communities preparing for, responding to, and impacted by tornado disasters (funding: Northern Tornadoes Project)

2. Investigating emergency management preparedness practices in Ontario, particularly with respect to the processing and communication of severe weather information, such as tornado alerts and warnings, as tornadic winds approach and begin to impact urban and rural communities (funding: York, internal)

3. Exploring community perceptions of risk for the purpose of creating community informed risk assessments and resilience plans for equity-deserving groups in Ontario (funding: York internal)

4. Researching accessibility gaps that exist within the current disaster response measures and communication channels and designing inclusive risk messaging for people with visual disabilities (funding: SSHRC IDG)

More...

Community Contributions

In the summer of 2021, alongside neighbours in my community, I coordinated a "Pancakes for Peace" breakfast as a way to build community resilience and raise funds for the surviving family member of the June 8th truck attack in London, Ontario.

In the fall of 2021 I spearheaded a small backpack and school supply campaign in my community to raise funds for children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who had been displaced by the April 2021 volcanic eruption and were consequently living in shelters for over 4 months.

Research Interests

Anthropology , Environment and Sustainability, Disaster Risk, Risk Governance, Disaster preparedness / early warning systems, Social Recovery / mental health and well-being
  • Award for achievement in teaching excellence - 2020-2021

Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2022 AP/DEMS3706 3.0 A Disasters and Humans LECT
Fall 2022 AP/DEMS3701 3.0 A Disaster Risk Management LECT


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2023 AP/DEMS3701 3.0 M Disaster Risk Management LECT
Winter 2023 GS/DEMS5030 3.0 M Social & Behavioral Dimensions of Disast BLEN


Jennifer Spinney (MA & PhD sociocultural anthropology, Western University)

I study the various connections between groups of people living and working at the intersections of environment and society, particularly extreme weather hazards and disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and heat, in both Canada and the United States. I use mostly qualitative research methods, such as interviewing and observations, to understand how people make meaning, assess and communicate risk, how they engage in protective action decision-making, as well as the variability of their social recovery following hazard and disaster experiences.

In my work, I draw heavily on scholarly contributions from the fields of linguistic and sociocultural anthropology, and anthropology of disaster, risk and policy literatures. Past field investigations include: the Joplin, Missouri EF5 tornado, a flood event in the Canadian arctic, and numerous projects working with government agencies to assist with enhancements to their forecast and warning operations, communication practices and product development.

Current investigations include:
- Social Recovery following the 2018 Dunrobin, Ontario tornado (Northern Tornadoes Project)
- The application of tornado safety in Ontario public schools (SSHRC IDG)
- Interpreting and communicating hazard confidence (collaboration with Meteorological Service of Canada to assist in the development of their public alerting program; SSHRC Explore + York MRG)
- Investigating public experiences with tornadoes (IPET) in Ontario (Northern Tornadoes Project; @ipetontario on Twitter)

**Prospective graduate students** funding is available to support multiple students in the following research studies during the 2022-2023 academic year:

1. Examining social dimensions of recovery following the July 16, 2021 Barrie, Ontario tornado and drawing on study findings to generate evidence-informed practical guidelines for building capacity and enhancing resilience for communities preparing for, responding to, and impacted by tornado disasters (funding: Northern Tornadoes Project)

2. Investigating emergency management preparedness practices in Ontario, particularly with respect to the processing and communication of severe weather information, such as tornado alerts and warnings, as tornadic winds approach and begin to impact urban and rural communities (funding: York, internal)

3. Exploring community perceptions of risk for the purpose of creating community informed risk assessments and resilience plans for equity-deserving groups in Ontario (funding: York internal)

4. Researching accessibility gaps that exist within the current disaster response measures and communication channels and designing inclusive risk messaging for people with visual disabilities (funding: SSHRC IDG)

Community Contributions

In the summer of 2021, alongside neighbours in my community, I coordinated a "Pancakes for Peace" breakfast as a way to build community resilience and raise funds for the surviving family member of the June 8th truck attack in London, Ontario.

In the fall of 2021 I spearheaded a small backpack and school supply campaign in my community to raise funds for children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who had been displaced by the April 2021 volcanic eruption and were consequently living in shelters for over 4 months.

Research Interests

Anthropology , Environment and Sustainability, Disaster Risk, Risk Governance, Disaster preparedness / early warning systems, Social Recovery / mental health and well-being

Awards

  • Award for achievement in teaching excellence - 2020-2021


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2022 AP/DEMS3706 3.0 A Disasters and Humans LECT
Fall 2022 AP/DEMS3701 3.0 A Disaster Risk Management LECT


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2023 AP/DEMS3701 3.0 M Disaster Risk Management LECT
Winter 2023 GS/DEMS5030 3.0 M Social & Behavioral Dimensions of Disast BLEN