School of Social Work and Human Services
Abbotsford campus, B165e
Phone: 604-504-7441 ext. 4470email Robert
After working in child welfare in Manitoba and Quebec, Robert relocated to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 1989 and worked in the public health system as a community development consultant and policy advisor. In the mid-1990s, he moved to the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia where he led the university in partnering with the Stó:lō Nation to develop an Indigenous social services diploma program based on traditional principles of healing and helping. He teaches in the Bachelor of Social Work and the Master of Social Work programs and his research focuses on discourse about social policy, poverty, and Indigenous self-governance issues. He has presented his research in Canada, the US, Costa Rica, Scotland, Finland, Italy, and Germany, and has published numerous book chapters, as well as articles in journals such as the Canadian Journal of Communication, Canadian Review of Social Policy, Discourse and Society, Intersectionalities, Canadian Journal of Native Studies, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. In 2018, he co-edited a textbook entitled Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers for Oxford University Press.
Faculty of Applied Sciences
Simon Fraser University
School of Communication & First Nations Studies Program
Dissertation: Re/framing Aboriginal social policy issues in the news: Old stereotypes and new opportunities (see http://summit.sfu.ca/item/2681)
Master of Social Work
Research Report: Ethical considerations for community organizers
Project: Helped organize community council for Côtes-des-Neiges/Snowdon
Bachelor of Social Work
University of Manitoba
Specialization: Clinical social work in a hospital setting
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature
University of Manitoba
I begin all my classes by asking students to be open to new knowledge and learning and to bring a sense of wonder to their educational adventures. This is not always easy as all of us have had different, and sometimes difficult, experiences (possibly with the educational system itself) and hold unique sets of values that have shaped how we understand the world. It takes hard work, intellectual courage and emotional resilience to be able to look at issues, ideology and personal and professional values from a different point-of-view and open oneself up to considering new knowledge and perspectives. The only way I can ask my students to engage in such a challenging process is by being prepared myself to be open-minded every time I step into the classroom. I believe in facilitating an interactive learning experience and listening to students and really hearing their ideas.
I believe that learning is a lifelong process for everyone, whether we are engaged in formal education or not. Each student has a gift, a unique set of experiences and personal characteristics and, of course, a specific social location in the world. Many students in our programs are older than undergraduate students in other disciplines (for example, some come back to school after having raised families) and bring a great deal of life experience – with poverty, social services, parenting, racism, sexism, and so on – to the class that directly and indirectly relates to core social work curriculum. My role is to facilitate an educational process and to create a “safe” and respectful space where students can present and critique ideas and share relevant experiences with their student colleagues. In order to do this, I need to have critical self-awareness of the power inherent in my formal position – as professor – and in my social positioning as a middle-class male from a (mostly) White background.
In part, classes are based on asking questions about core curriculum such as social work with Indigenous peoples or professional social work practice. While I often challenge students’ assumptions, some of the most important learning results from students themselves posing thought-provoking questions such as how does the Indian Act affect social work practice with Indigenous people on reserves? Or how do social workers apply the Social Work Code of Ethics in social work practice situations where a social service agency’s mandate conflicts with one of the Code’s provisions? I employ a variety of teaching methods including interactive lectures, structured small group discussions and exercises, guest speakers (e.g., Social Work practitioners and Indigenous Elders), video presentations and discussions, and occasionally field trips as well as exams and critical thinking essays. This critical and dialectical process yields an educational sum far greater than its parts that is enriching for instructor and students alike.
Social policy, community development, and Indigenous research methodology, and Indigenous social work.
Public discourse about social work, social policy, poverty and Indigenous issues.
Gave a lecture on Controlling land: News representations of treaties with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, Canada. International Days in Social Work Conference. University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Linz (June 5).
At the invitation of the Coordinator of the Native Student Centre, Mount Royal University, presented Contemporary news representations of Indigenous issues at the Indigenous Voices Gathering, Calgary Campus (March 20).
Gave a lecture on Discrediting Indigenous-controlled child welfare services in Canadian news texts. Conference on North American Critical Discourse Analysis, University of Utah, Salt Lake City (May 20).
At the invitation of the Canadian Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, two lectures were given:
At the invitation of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, 10 lectures on News Representations of Indigenous Peoples were given in universities and high schools in 9 cities across Germany.
Gave a lecture on The media, Aboriginal people and common sense: Discourse about Aboriginal people in Canadian newspapers (May). Democratic Values: Past, Present and Future Conference. Center for North American Studies. University of Tampere, Finland
Gave a lecture on Media discourse about First Nations child welfare issues in Canada. Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Symposium: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in the 21st Century (April). Universitat Greifswald, Germany.
Peer-Reviewed Conference Presentations
Harding R. (June 2019). News discourse about treaties and Indigenous self-governance in British Columbia: Differential framing in corporate and Indigenous media. Alternative Routes Conference. University of Turin, Italy.
Harding, R. (June 2018). The National Post’s war on those trying to help the poor: The vilification of anti-poverty advocates in Canada. Austerity against Democracy: Work, Welfare & the Remaking of Global Capitalism. University of Bologna, Italy.
Harding, R. (May 2017). Controlling land: News representations of treaties in BC. BC Studies Conference: (Un)Settling British Columbia. Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo.
Harding, R. (February 2016). The Role of Opinion Pieces & Editorials in Shaping News about an Indigenous Protest Movement. Annual Conference of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research. Portland, Oregon.
Harding, R. (April 2015). Social workers and poverty discourses in the news: Fostering voices from the margins. Reaching Out Together: Connections Through Social Work Conference. University of the Fraser Valley. Abbotsford.
Harding, R. (May 2013). News representations of child welfare: BC’S provincial children’s ministry compared with an Indigenous child welfare agency. BC Studies Conference: Transforming British Columbia. Douglas College. New Westminster.
Harding, R. (February 2012). News representations of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia: Then & now. Annual Conference of the Society for Cross Cultural Research. University of Nevada. Las Vegas.
Harding, R. (February 2012). Representations of Indigenous people in the Canadian news media. Indigenizing our Academy: Voices from the Inside Out. University of the Fraser Valley. Abbotsford.
Harding, R. (November, 2011). News discourse about child protection social work: Delegated Indigenous agency and provincial child welfare authority compared. Annual Conference of the British Columbia Association of Social Workers. Vancouver.
Harding, R., Ayala, J., MacDonald, J., & Pelech, W. (June 2011). Roundtable on pedagogy online: Promising practices in online social work education. Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Social Work Educators at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. St. Thomas University/University of New Brunswick.
Harding, R. (June 2011). Vilifying Aboriginal-controlled child welfare services in the news. Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Social Work Educators at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. St. Thomas University/University of New Brunswick.
Harding, R. (June 2010). Double standards in news reporting on critical incidents in Indigenous child welfare. Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Social Work Educators at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. Concordia University.
Harding, R.(February 2010). Cross-cultural differences in news reporting on critical incidents in Aboriginal child welfare. Annual Meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research. University of New Mexico. Albuquerque.
Harding, R. (May 2007). Framing Aboriginal self-governance in Canadian news discourse. International Media Conference: 20 Years of Propaganda? Critical Evidence and Discussion Regarding the Ongoing Relevance of the Herman & Chomsky Propaganda Model. Communication Studies, University of Windsor.
Harding, R. (April 2007). Framing BC treaty issues in the news: Old stereotypes and new opportunities. British Columbia: Inner and Outer Worlds Conference. University of the Fraser Valley and the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre. Harrison Hot Springs, BC.
Harding, R. (May 2005). Representations of Aboriginal self-governance issues in the news media. First Nations, First Thoughts Conference. Centre for Canadian Studies. University of Edinburgh.
Harding, R. (June 2004). Framing Aboriginal child welfare issues in British Columbia. Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW) at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. University of Manitoba.
Harding, R. (June 2003). All the news that's fit to print: Aboriginal people, social policy and the media. Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW) at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. Dalhousie University, Halifax
Invited UFV Lectures and Forum Panel Presentations
Have given numerous talks and presentations at various UFV venues and events, including
Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Co-editors and authors). (2018). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Harding, R. & Jenkinson, P. (2018). Poverty reduction strategies in Abbotsford and New Westminster. In T. Kading & C. Walmsley (Eds.), Power and possibility in the small city. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Harding, R. (2018). Poverty and social policy. In Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Eds). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Oxford University Press.
Yellowhorn, E., & Harding, R. (2018). In Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Eds). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Oxford University Press.
Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (2018). Introduction: A critical perspective of Canadian social policy. In Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Eds). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Oxford University Press.
Walmsley, C., Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (2018). Access to post-secondary education: “merit”, right or investment? In Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Eds). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Oxford University Press.
Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (2018). Media and public discourse: Their roles in policymaking. In Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Eds). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Oxford University Press.
Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (2018). Social policy and the promise of social change. In Harding, R. & Jeyapal, D. (Eds). Canadian Social Policy for Social Workers. Oxford University Press.
Harding, R. (2008). Aboriginal child welfare: Symbolic battleground in the news media. In K. Knopf (ed.), Aboriginal Canada revisited: Politics and cultural expression in the 21st century (pp. 290-329). Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.
Harding, R. (2018). The National Post’s campaign against anti-poverty advocates: A war in words with real casualties. Intersectionalities: A Global Journal of Social Work
Analysis, Research, Polity and Practice, 6(1), pp. 50-75. See https://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/IJ/article/view/1678
Harding, R. (2017). Controlling land: Historical representations of news discourse in BC. American Indian culture and research journal, 41(4).
Harding, R. (2016). Limited and limiting conversations about the poor: Elizabethan prescriptions to poverty in the Canadian press. Canadian Review of Social Policy/ Revue Canadienne de Politique Sociale, 76, pp. 25-51.
Harding, R. (2010). The demonization of Aboriginal child welfare authorities in the news. Canadian Journal of Communication, 35(1), pp. 85-108.
Harding, R. (2009). News reporting on Aboriginal child welfare: Discourses of white guilt, reverse racism and failed policy. Canadian Social Work Review, 26(1), pp. 25-41.
Harding, R. (2006). Historical representations of Aboriginal people in the Canadian news media. Discourse and Society, 17(2), pp. 205-235.
Harding, R. (2005). The media, Aboriginal people and common sense. Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 25(1), pp. 311-336.
Harding, R. (2005). Media discourse about Aboriginal self-governance in 1990s British Columbia. First Nations, first thoughts conference (on-line conference proceedings), Centre for Canadian Studies, University of Edinburgh, May, 2005. Available at: (www.cst.ed.ac.uk/conferences.html)
Crawford, M. & Harding, R. (2000). Integrating clinical responses to women abuse: Guiding principles for future development. Journal of Family Social Work, 5(1), pp. 37-55.
Harding, R. (2000). Art and life without borders. Prairie Fire: A Canadian Magazine of New Writing, 21(1), pp. 52-60.
Crawford, M. & Harding, R. (1998). Bridging the chasm between feminist and systemic clinical responses to woman abuse. In H. Stefanakis & A. Hamilton (Eds.) Proceedings of the ACAM Fall Conference, 1998, pp. 15-22, BC Association of Counsellors of Abusive Men.
Harding, R. (2017). Aboriginal child welfare. In. U. Lehmkuhl (Ed.), A New Country Report Canada (bpb Schriftenreihe Publication Series). Federal Agency for Civic Education, Federal Republic of Germany.
Pierro, R. with Blackstock, C., Harding, R., McCue, D., Metatawabin, M. (August, 2013). Buried Voices: Media Coverage of Aboriginal Issues in Ontario Media Monitoring Report: 2010 – 2013. Toronto: Journalists for Human Right. See http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/buried_voices.pdf
Harding, R. (1999). BC Region Phase One Report (Contributor). In R. Seebaran (Ed.), Anti-racist training and materials project, Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, Ottawa.
Harding, R. (2013, October 21). [Review of the book: The media gaze: Representations of diversities in Canada]. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, pp. 1-2, Routledge: London, England. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2013.847626
Harding, R. (2005). [Review of the book: Walking a tightrope: Aboriginal peoples and their representations]. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, University of California at Los Angeles, pp. 174-176, 29(3).
Harding, R. (2001). [Review of the book Coordinating community responses to domestic violence: Lessons from Duluth and beyond]. International Social Work, 44(3), pp. 383-384, London.
Harding, R. (2000). [Review of the book Safety planning with battered women: Complex lives/difficult choices]. International Social Work, 43(1), pp. 137-139, London.
Crawford, M. & Harding, R. (1999). [Review of the book Rural women battering and the justice system: An ethnography]. International Social Work, 42(2), pp. 247-248, London.
Harding, R. & Crawford, M. (1999). [Review of the book Women's encounters with violence: Australian experiences]. International Social Work, 42(1), pp.103-104, London.