Mount Allison University welcomes two new Canada Research Chairs (CRC)

13 Mar 2024
Sociology professor Dr. Claudine Bonner and Music professor Dr. Linda Pearse newest CRC appointments at Mount Allison

SACKVILLE, NB — Dr. Claudine Bonner and Dr. Linda Pearse have been appointed as Mount Allison University’s latest Canada Research Chairs — the country’s highest research honour. The announcement was made as part of a national event on February 5.

Bonner joins Mount Allison as the Chair in Racial Justice and African Diaspora Migration in Atlantic Canada. Pearse, an associate professor of Music, has been named Chair in Music, Contact, and Conflict.

“Both Bonner and Pearse are working to shed light on historically underrepresented voices in their respective fields and this national recognition exemplifies the profound impact of their research on our understanding of diverse cultural legacies,” says Dr. Vicki St. Pierre, interim provost and vice-president, academic and research. “On behalf of the entire University community, I congratulate them on their appointments.”

Dr. Claudine Bonner

Bonner’s research centres around migration within the Atlantic world, specifically examining labour migration from 1880 to 1930 and the movement of people of African descent into and out of Nova Scotia and the broader Maritimes. This includes tracing the migration routes of individuals from the Caribbean to the Maritimes and studying settlement patterns within Canada or migration to other spaces, for both men and women.

The Canada Research Chair has already brought partnership opportunities, including with the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, NS.

"Pier 21 has graciously partnered with me to facilitate access to archival documents and to uncover stories,” says Bonner.

Bonner is eager to involve students from various disciplines into her research, hoping to foster interdisciplinary connections with geography, computer science, history, Canadian studies, and sociology.

“I'm hoping to work with an interdisciplinary cadre of students,” she says. “Being able to draw connections and understand the larger forces that were shaping these migrations, how people experienced these new spaces that they were living in, how they remained connected to their home spaces — those are the things that I'm really excited about.”

Before joining Mount Allison last fall, Bonner was associate professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Acadia University, where she also served as Vice Provost of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Linda Pearse

Pearse’s research explores the roles of music and sound in cultural, political, and religious encounters throughout history to forge new pathways toward transformational understanding and hence deeper inclusion. Considering the intricate power dynamics within religious and cultural identities, one of her research projects investigates confrontations between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs during the seventeenth century.

“I consider music as it unfolds across porous and fluctuating borders and within enduring global interactions, rather than as an isolated phenomenon. I explore the messy parts of cultural encounters where people hold complex identities and where they partake in music and sonic rituals in ways that upend ideas about what it means to be Muslim or Christian,” she says.

In partnership with local and international researchers, Pearse designs intercultural projects and digital resources that contribute to conversations about the negotiation of religious and cultural identity and the potential for music to facilitate exchanges about these ideas. Pearse also actively involves students in her research through the Sackville Undergraduate Music Research (SUMR) lab.

“One of my favourite parts of the job is supporting student research in the lab,” she says. “The students pursue their own research in addition to working on my projects; they give presentations, publish, and in turn, mentor their peers.”

In recent years, Pearse and her students have worked with teams at Queen’s and Laval universities to expand research access beyond the traditional canon of music history, focusing on marginalized or underrepresented voices like women musicians and composers. Pearse was also the 2023 recipient of the Herbert and Leota Tucker Teaching Award, the highest teaching honour at the University, and the 2023 Association of Atlantic Universities, Excellence in Teaching Award.

Both appointments are for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, which are tenable for five years and come with $500,000 in research funding over that time period, plus an additional $100,000 in direct research funding as both Bonner and Pearse are first-time chairs.

The Canada Research Chair (CRC) program is a national research program funded by the federal government. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Bonner and Pearse join Dr. Lauren Beck and Dr. Doug Campbell as the current Canada Research Chairs at Mount Allison University (

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