Research Topics

Political Sociology

Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity

Public Opinion (Immigration and Trust)

Media Coverage of Immigration, Indigenous Resistance, Social Movements

Collective Action/Social Movements (Indigenous Resistance)

Research Interests

Even though the number of people who are overtly racist has declined in Western societies, racial and ethnic inequality persist. Why is this?  My research seeks to answer this question by considering how politics is related to racial and ethnic inequality.  I do this by considering how people think, the actions they take, and where they live.  For web links to my articles go to the publications page.

Public Opinion:  As recent events in Europe and North America show, the integration of racial minorities and immigrants is a major issue in all advanced industrial democracies. The problem is not that immigrants and racialized minorities are not doing enough- it is that the majority group also needs to change. My work draws attention to different kinds of racism (American Sociological Review 2007), to differences in racial and ethnic group trust (Social Science Research 2011; 2015; see also PNAS 2016) and to attitudes towards immigration (International Migration Review 2008; 2015). A number of papers also develop new applications of statistical models for use in the study public opinion trends (e.g. see International Journal of Comparative Sociology 2011; Journal of Trust Research 2014). I am currently part of an international team that is considering the causes and consequences of political and social trust.

Collective Action:  I collected thousands of newspaper articles to create the first quantitative dataset focusing solely on Indigenous resistance (American Behavioral Scientist 2006; 2012; Sociological Inquiry 2004).  This research shows that Indigenous resistance is widespread, innovative, and effective. In doing this work, I became interested in the media coverage of resistance and how the language and images used to describe it might convey particular messages or framings about this resistance (The Social Science Journal 2004; 2007; American Indian Culture and Research Journal 2010; Canadian Review of Sociology 2010). A series of papers develops new methods for coding of the visual content of images (American Behavioral Scientist 2011, Nations and Nationalism 2014, and Journalism Studies 2014; see also related publications on immigration, Indigeneity and/or media in Social Science Journal 2014, Social and Cultural Geography 2015; Migration Studies 2014; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 2008 and Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 2002).  A forthcoming paper (Canadian Review of Sociology 2017) documents whether and how Indigenous lands, treaties, and peoples are acknowledged at 98 universities across Canada.

Residential Segregation: Neighbourhood location affects educational attainment, housing quality and even the likelihood of disease and death. For a long time research in this area focused on Black and White Americans and whether they lived in the same neighborhoods. In this line of research I document the segregation of other ethnic and racial groups. This includes Latinos and Asians (Demography 2004; Social Problems 2006); Native Americans (Sociological Focus 2003); and ethnic and racial groups in Canada (International Migration Review 1999; Sociological Forum 2003; Journal of Social Policy 2008; Journal of Population Studies 2008). This research shows that while these groups are segregated, the level of segregation is less extensive than the segregation of Black and White Americans and that many of the causes of neighbourhood segregation that matter in the U.S. do not matter in Canada.

Selected Publications

Wilkes, Rima, Aaron Duong, Linc Kesler and Howard Ramos. 2017. “Canadian University Acknowledgment of Indigenous Lands, Treaties and Peoples.” Canadian Review of Sociology 54(1): 89-120.

Wu, Cary and Rima Wilkes. 2017. “Local-National Political Trust Patterns: Why China is an Exception.” International Political Science Review 54(1): 89-120.

Wu, Cary and Rima Wilkes. 2017. “International Student Migration and the Search for HomeGeoforum 80: 123-132.

Panesar, Nilum, Pottie-Sherman, Yolande and Rima Wilkes.  2017. “The Komagata Through a Media Lens: Racial, Economic, and Political Threat in Newspaper Coverage of the 1914 Komagata Maru AffairCanadian Ethnic Studies 49: 85-101.

Wilkes, Rima. 2016. “Political Conflict Photographs and Their Keywords Texts.” Journalism Studies 16: 703-729.

Pottie-Sherman, Yolande and Rima Wilkes. 2016. “Visual Media and the Construction of the Benign Canadian border on National Geographic’s Border SecuritySocial and Cultural Geography  17: 81-100.

Wilkes, Rima. 2016. “Retire the Letter of Reference.” Science 05 Feb: Vol 351, Issue 6273, pp. 630.  (downloaded 33,000 times, rated in top 5% of all outputs by Altmetric)

Wilkes, Rima. 2015. “We Trust in Government, Just not in Yours: Race, Partisanship and Political Trust 1958-2012.” Social Science Research 49: 356-371.

(featured in Washington Post, Oct  30, 2014; HipHopRepublican Nov 15, 2014;  The Black Conservative Nov 14, 2014;  Phys.Org Oct 29, 2014; ScienceDaily Oct 29, 2014)

Pottie-Sherman, Yolande and Rima Wilkes. 2015.  “Does Size Really Matter? On the Relationship Between Immigrant Group Size and Anti-Immigrant Prejudice.”   International Migration Review 49: Fall. DOI: 10.1111/imre.12191

Wilkes, Rima and Michael Kehl. 2014.  “One Image, Multiple Nationalisms: Face to Face and the Siege at Kanehsatà:ke” Nations and Nationalism 20: 481-502.

Pottie-Sherman, Yolande and Rima Wilkes. 2014. “Good Code Bad Code: Exploring the Immigration-Nation Dialectic Through Media Coverage of the Hérouxville ‘Code of Life’ Document” Migration Studies.1-23.

Wilkes Rima. 2014.  “Trust in Government: A Micro-Macro ApproachJournal of Trust Research 4: 113-131.

Corrigall-Brown, Catherine and Rima Wilkes. 2012. “Picturing Protest: The Visual Framing of Collective Action by First Nations in Canada.” American Behavioral Scientist 56: 223-243.

Wilkes, Rima. 2011. “Re-thinking the Decline in Trust: A Comparison of Black and White AmericansSocial Science Research 40: 1596-1610.

Wilkes, Rima and Catherine Corrigall-Brown. 2011. “Explaining Time Trends in Public Opinion: Attitudes Towards Immigration and Immigrants.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology.52: 79-99.

Wilkes, Rima, Corrigall-Brown Catherine and Daniel Myers. 2010. “Packaging Protest: Media Coverage of Indigenous People’s Collective Action.” Canadian Review of Sociology. 47: 349-379.

Wilkes, Rima, Corrigall-Brown, Catherine and Danielle Ricard. 2010.  “Nationalism and Media Coverage of Indigenous People’s Collective Action in Canada.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 34: 41-59.

Okamoto, Dina G., and Rima Wilkes. 2008. “The Opportunities and Costs of Voice and Exit: Modelling Ethnic Group Rebellion and Emigration.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 34.3 : 347-369.

Wilkes, Rima, Guppy, Neil and Lily Farris. 2008. “No Thanks We’re Full: Individual Characteristics, National Context, and Changing Attitudes Toward Immigration.” International Migration Review 42: 302-329.

Magee, William, Fong, Eric and Rima Wilkes. 2008. “Neighborhood Ethnic Concentration and Discrimination.” Journal of Social Policy 37:37-61.

Fong, Eric, Matsuo, Tracy and Rima Wilkes. 2008. “Disentangling the Residential Clustering of New Immigrant Groups in Suburbia.” Journal of Population Studies 35: 37-74.

Wilkes, Rima, Guppy Neil and Lily Farris. 2007.  “Right Wing Parties and Anti-Foreigner Sentiment in Europe.” Comment. American Sociological Review. 72: 831-840.

Wilkes, Rima and Danielle Ricard. 2007. “How Does Newspaper Coverage of Collective Action Vary? Protest by Aboriginal People in Canada.” The Social Science Journal 44: 231-251.

Wilkes, Rima.  2006. “The Protest Actions of Indigenous Peoples: A Canada-US Comparison of Social Movement Emergence.” American Behavioral Scientist 50: 510-525.

Iceland, John and Rima Wilkes. 2006. “Does Socioeconomic Status Matter? Race, Class and Segregation.” Social Problems 53: 248-273.

Wilkes, Rima. 2004. “First Nation Politics: Deprivation, Resources and Participation in Collective Action.” Sociological Inquiry 74: 570-589.

Wilkes, Rima and John Iceland. 2004.  “Hypersegregation in the Twenty-First Century.” Demography 41: 23-36.

Wilkes, Rima. 2004. “A Systematic Approach to Studying Indigenous Politics: Band–Level Mobilization in Canada, 1981-2000.” The Social Science Journal 41: 447-457.

Wilkes, Rima. 2003. “The Residential Segregation of Native-Americans in U.S. Metropolitan Areas.Sociological Focus 36: 127-141.

Fong, Eric and Rima Wilkes. 2003. “Racial and Ethnic Residential Patterns in Canada.” Sociological Forum 18: 577-602.

Wilkes, Rima and Dina Okamoto. 2002. “Ethnic Competition and Mobilization by Minorities at Risk.” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 8: 1-23.

Fong, Eric and Rima Wilkes. 1999. “The Spatial Assimilation Model Reexamined: An Assessment by Canadian Data.” International Migration Review 33: 594-620.


Winter 2018
No SOCI course(s) were found for W2018 term.

Graduate Students:

Kelsea Perry “TBD” (M.A. supervisor)

Rosemary Andersen “Abuse of trust” (M.A. committee)

Cary Wu “Trust in China” (Ph.D. supervisor)

Adam Howe “TBD“ (Ph.D. supervisor)

Maggie Low “Great Bear Rainforest” (Ph.D. committee)

Sarah Fessenden “Food not Bombs” (Ph.D. committee)

Edward Hadden “Class and Inequality” (Ph.D. committee)

Mabel Ho “Immigration and Organization” (Ph.D. committee)

Ngaio Hotte “Trust and Indigenous Nations” (Ph.D. committee)

Leah Kegan “Native American Education” (Ph.D. committee)

Nicole Malette “Education and Mental Health” (Ph.D. committee)

Completed Theses:

Devon Deckant 2014 “BC wilderness preservation” (M.A., committee)

Rheana Hetherington 2014 “Media and journalistic newsgathering” (M.A. committee)

Michaela Montaner 2014 “Media and drug reporting” (M.A., committee)

Lily Ivanova 2014 “Museums and memory” (M.A. committee)

Junrong Du 2014 “Pearl River Delta, China” (Ph.D. committee)

Adam Easterbrook 2013 “Masculinity, sexuality and the experiences of adolescent American men” (Ph.D. supervisor)

Monica Hwang 2013 “In Canada we trust: understanding social and political trust” (Ph.D. committee)

Yolande Pottie-Sherman 2013 “Vancouver’s night markets” intercultural encounter in urban and suburban Chinatowns” (Ph.D. committee)

Evan Duggen 2011 “Framing Protest: the Globe and Mail and the G8-G20: when protest becomes a riot story.” (M.A. committee)

Joanna Robinson 2011 “Contested Water: the Struggle against Water Privatization in the United States and Canada” (Ph.D committee)

Todd Malineck 2009 “Activist participation, mobilization and movement-media interactions: three studies of the British Columbia environmental
movement” (Ph.D committee )

Charlene Warrington 2008 “Education attitudes in Vancouver schools” (M.A. supervisor / with Neil Guppy),

Emily Marshall 2007 “The healthcare needs of adolescents” (Ph.D. committee)

Lian Bai 2007 “Open hearts and open access for immigrant professionals: Chinese immigrant engineers” (Ph.D. committee)

Feng Zhang 2007 “Attitudes in Chinese villages” (Ph.D. committee)

Benjamin Cushing 2007 “Dreaming we walk: CIPO-Van and the search for resistance and creation” (M.A. committee)

Lily Farris 2007 “Attitudes toward immigration in three nations” (M.A. supervisor/with Neil Guppy)

Elliey Hobouti-Fard 2006 “Citizenship, nation, and identity: a study of the framing of the Maher Arar case in Canada’s two national newspapers, 2002-2004” (M.A. supervisor)

Jerilee Valenzuela 2005 “The gender of job applicants: different standards for lack of competence?” (M.A. committee)

Thea Berretta 2004 “Media and activism at the Woodwards site” (M.A. committee)

Jay Fiddler 2003 “Factors affecting blood donation” (M.A. committee)


President-Elect, Canadian Sociological Association (2017-2018)

Executive Editor, Canadian Review of Sociology  (2013-2016)


Ph.D., M.A. Sociology, University of Toronto
B.A. Sociology, Queen’s University