Wendy Chan

imon Fraser University

Wendy Chan received her BA (Hons) in English Literature and Law from Carleton University, her MA in Socio-legal Studies from the University of Sheffield, her MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, and her PhD in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in September 2006, she was a member of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University (1998 - 2006) and has previously held a tenure-track position in the Department of Sociology at Saint Mary’s University (1996-1998).

Dr. Chan’s doctoral research focused on battered women who killed their abusive spouses in England and Wales. She examined homicide files from 5 regions in England and Wales and argued that women defendants have greater difficulty proving in a court of law that their actions are the result of provocation or self-defence compared to male defendants. Her book, Women, Murder and Justice is the culmination of this research.

Her current research interests continues to focus on gender, race and class differences in the criminal justice system. She is interested in how the enforcement of welfare and immigration policies in an era of neo-liberalism constructs individuals and groups as criminals and allows for their punitive treatment without much public outcry. The tendency to criminalize marginalized groups in the name of ‘public safety’ has dire consequences for creating a cohesive and inclusive society. Her research projects are concerned with documenting how these processes of criminalization occur in the welfare system and the immigration system, and attempts to give voice to marginalized individuals.

  • Criminalizing Race, Criminalizing Poverty

    Welfare Fraud Enforcement in Canada

    By Wendy Chan and Kiran Mirchandani     January 2007

    The criminalization and penalization of poverty through increased surveillance and control of welfare recipients in recent years has led many poverty advocates to claim that “a war against the poor” is currently in progress. The authors argue that people of colour are most often the casualties in the governments’ desire to roll back the welfare state. Relying on myths and stereotypes about racial difference, the enforcement and policing of welfare fraud policies constructs people of colour as potential “cheaters” and “abusers” of the system. This has allowed for the stigmatizing and discriminatory treatment of people of colour to persist unchallenged within the welfare system.

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