Photo of William Hébert

William Hébert

Assistant Professor

Degrees:B.A. (Concordia University), M.A. (Concordia University), Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 8853
Office:C465 LA (Loeb Building)

Trained as a social-cultural anthropologist, I am an interdisciplinary researcher with interests in critical criminology, prison studies, gender and sexuality studies, and legal and medical anthropology. My research attends to the conditions of and limits to ‘inclusion’, broadly defined, with a focus on ‘vulnerable’ populations and their everyday experiences, demands for social change, and relationship to institutions that shape and govern their lives. Over the past decade, I have approached such topics through two streams of qualitative inquiry: conducting long-term ethnographic fieldwork and collaborating on community-based research projects.

I am currently working on a book manuscript from my dissertation research (funded by Trudeau Foundation and SSHRC doctoral scholarships), which traces the conditions of possibility and effects of recent trans correctional reforms in Canada. The book is based on 24 months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork involving participant-observation, case law and policy analysis, as well as interviews, focus groups, and informal conversations with more than 100 participants, including trans prisoners and correctional staff in federal correctional institutions. Prior to joining Carleton, I was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Memorial University, where I launched a new ethnographic project on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the Canadian criminal justice system.

I am also Principal Investigator for a community-based study investigating trans people’s experiences of serious legal problems. Funded by the Department of Justice Canada, this project is co-led in partnership with Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec (Montreal) and the Community-Based Research Centre (Vancouver), where I am an Affiliated Researcher. Previously, I collaborated on projects examining trans people’s legal needs, elderly trans people’s access to health care and social services, trans youth’s wellbeing, and the implementation of addiction services in public health centres. I have also co-organized multiple events designed to foster conversations between researchers and community experts, such as the symposium On the Margins of Trans Legal Change (McGill, 2019) and the first edition of the Canadian Prison Law Conference (Dalhousie, 2018).