Allyson Mitchell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Women’s Studies. Her research addresses topics such as unruly bodies, feminist performance, contemporary craft and ‘third wave’ activism as they relate to popular culture and urban space. ‘Deep Lez’, Mitchell’s ongoing aesthetic/political project advocating a strategic return to the histories of radical and lesbian feminisms, forms the crux of her work on sexuality. ‘Deep Lez’ acknowledges the urgent need to develop inclusive liberatory feminisms while examining the strategic benefits of maintaining some components of a radical lesbian theory and practice. This project is concerned not simply with holding on to history, but rather with examining how we might cull what is useful from lesbian herstories to redefine contemporary urban lesbian (and queer) existence.
Many of these same themes are taken up in Mitchell’s art practice, which melds feminism and pop culture to play with contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography and the body, largely through the use of reclaimed textile and abandoned craft. Her works have exhibited in galleries and festivals across Canada, the US, Europe and East Asia, including the Textile Museum of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, The British Film Institute and Walker Art Center.
Mitchell is currently completing a book entitled Corporeographies of Chub: Fat Women in Urban Spaces, which examines the bodies of fat women in relation to notions of space, identity and power.
Mitchell, A, L. Rundle and L. Karaian, eds. 2001. Turbo Chicks: Talking Young Feminisms. Toronto:
Chapters in books:
Mitchell, A. 2009. A Call to Arms. In When Women Rule the World: Judy Chicago in Thread. Toronto, ON: The Textile Museum of Canada, 2008.
Mitchell, A & L. Karaian. 2008. Young Feminisms. In Feminist Issues, 4th Edition, edited by N.
Mandell. Toronto: Pearson Education.
Mitchell, A. 2004. Porky. In Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession, edited by D. Kulick and A.
Meneley. New York: Penguin.
Mitchell, A. & A. Slone. 2002. Fat and Femme, Or Squeezing a Whole Lot of Identity into One Pair of
Control Top Nylons. In Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity, edited by C. Brushwood Rose and A. Camilleri. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.