Karen Bird is Associate Professor of Political Science at McMaster University. She specializes in comparative politics, with particular attention to gender and ethnic diversity. Dr. Bird teaches teaches courses in Comparative Politics, the Politics of Multiculturalism, Research Design and Methods...
Karen Bird is Associate Professor of Political Science at McMaster University. She specializes in comparative politics, with particular attention to gender and ethnic diversity. Dr. Bird teaches teaches courses in Comparative Politics, the Politics of Multiculturalism, Research Design and Methods. She has been a visiting research fellow at several European research centres, including the Centre d’Informatisation des Données Socio-Politiques (CIDSP) in Grenoble, France, the Academy for Migration Studies in Aalborg (AMID), Denmark, and the Unité de Recherches Migrations et Société (URMIS) in Paris, France. She has also taught political science courses at the Instituts d’Etudes Politiques in Grenoble and Lille.
Dr. Bird’s research addresses the descriptive and substantive representation of women and ethnic minorities across parliamentary democracies. She has explored these issues through two research streams. One concerns women’s representation, and includes work on the role and impact of gender parity laws in France. The other addresses modes of political incorporation, mobilization, and representation of immigrants and ethnic minorities—in particular, examining variations in the opportunity structure for minority representation across different political systems. Combining these two streams, she has sought to develop conceptual and practical insights on including women and minorities in research and in political arrangements for more inclusive forms of representation and governance.
Dr. Bird was awarded an SSHRC research grant (2009-2011) for her project “Comparing Ethnic Minority Representation Across Parliamentary Democracies.” She has recently published a book from that project (co-edited with Thomas Saalfeld and Andreas Wüst): The Political Representation of Immigrants and Minorities: Voters, Parties and Parliaments in Liberal Democracies (Routledge 2010). She is a co-investigator in the “Welcoming Communities Initiative” which is an SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) investigating immigrant and minority integration in smaller and medium-sized cities in Ontario. Among her current research projects is a study that looks at the causes of under-representation of women and visible minorities within municipal politics in Ontario. Methodologically, Dr. Bird’s work combines comparative historical analysis that is principally qualitative (archival research, interviews, focus groups), more quantitative approaches (including experiments and large-sample surveys).