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Home » Connect » Events » The 2021-2022 York Circle @ Home Lecture Series

The 2021-2022 York Circle @ Home Lecture Series

Hosted by Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell, Academic Chair of The York Circle, this virtual lecture series will showcase York's leading faculty members engaging in lively panel discussions and Q&A sessions on key themes related to this year's topic: "Oh Canada! The True North Strong and Free? A historical journey through Canada’s transgressions of individual and community rights."

The series will be held over four sessions throughout the year.

Registration is required. You can register now by using the buttons below for each session. We'll send you a reminder closer to the event date.


Panel 1: Not Canadian enough. The realities of race, gender and sexual identity politics in immigration.

Date: Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 | 10-12pm ET 

Ali Kazimi
Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

Professor Ali Kazimi (pronounced Ka-Zim-E) is a filmmaker, writer, and visual artist whose work deals with race, social justice, migration, history, memory and archive. In 2019 he received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts, as well as a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from the University of British Columbia.

Presentation: Systemic legacies of the Komagata Maru and its encounter with White Canada

Systemic legacies of the Komagata Maru and its encounter with White Canada. In 1914, the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying 376 would be immigrants from British India was turned away from Vancouver. The courts ruled that Canada could turn away fellow British subjects based on race. The presentation will connect this historic event with the indefinite incarceration of refugees and migrants that continues to this day.

David A.B. Murray
Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS)

Drawing on theoretical interests in culture, nationalism, colonialism, representation, performance and queer theory, Professor Murray has conducted fieldwork in the Caribbean, New Zealand and Canada examining sexual and gender minorities and their relations to local, national and transnational social, political and economic forces. 

He is the author of Opacity: Gender, Sexuality, Race and the Problem of Identity in Martinique (Peter Lang 2002), Flaming Souls: Homosexuality, Homophobia and Social Change in Barbados, (University of Toronto Press, 2012) and Real Queer? Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Refugees in the Canadian Refugee Apparatus (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015). He is the editor of Homophobias: Lust and Loathing Across Time and Space (Duke University Press, 2009) and Queering Borders: Language, Sexuality and Migration (John Benjamins Publishing, 2016). Professor Murray is currently engaged in a research project focusing on how people living with HIV/AIDS are navigating 'end of the AIDS' discourses in Toronto, Canada and Bridgetown, Barbados.

Presentation: The Right Way to Be Gay? Canada’s LGBTQ+ bias in refugee and immigration policy.

Canada is viewed as a global leader when it comes to accepting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees, that is, people who are claiming refugee status due to persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) status. However, Professor Murray's ethnographic research with SOGI refugee claimants in Toronto reveals that many struggle to successfully navigate the Canadian refugee determination system, and must learn to tell their stories in a particular way in order to successfully persuade refugee claim adjudicators their claim is true. This leads to the question:  How fair and impartial is our refugee determination process? How and why might this process favour some SOGI claimants over others?  What do these SOGI refugee experiences reveal about the gate-keeping processes of the Canadian nation-state?

Luin Goldring
Professor, Department of Sociology

Luin Goldring is a Professor of Sociology at York University. Her research interests include non-citizenship, citizenship and belonging; differential inclusion; and im/migrants and precarious work. Currently, she is involved in collaborative research on the relationship between precarious immigration trajectories and precarious work, and the experiences of illegalized migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presentation: Being Legal:  Examining Racial Bias in Immigration Decision-Making

How do refugee claimants, those who seek asylum in Canada, fit into the broader picture of Canadian policies regarding refugees, immigrants and temporary workers and residents?  This presentation will use the concept of “precarious legal status trajectories” to unpack and situate refugee claimants, and to consider a question that came up in Professor Goldring's research – namely, how precarious legal status trajectories become racialized and gendered. 

Panel 2: Francophone in Canada: Negotiating minority and majority rights

Date: Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 | 10-12pm ET 

Dr. Emily Laxer
Assistant Professor, Sociology, Glendon College

Dr. Emily Laxer is Assistant Professor of Sociology at York University’s Glendon College. Her research bridges the sociological study of politics, nationalism, immigration and gender to examine how contests for political power shape the incorporation of ethno-religious minorities in largescale immigration countries. In previous work, Dr. Laxer focused on the impact of party political debates over Islamic religious coverings in circumscribing the boundaries of nationhood in France and Canada (including Québec). As of June 2020, she is principal investigator of the SSHRC Insight Development Grant “Politicians Against the Law: Populist Representations of Rights and Legality in Contemporary Canadian Politics”.

Presentation: When majority values meet minority rights: Québec’s Bill 21

In 2019, Québec’s government cited secularism, the French language, and other national “values” to pass Bill 21, prohibiting certain public sector employees from wearing religious signs on the job. Since then, the bill has been challenged in the courts by groups claiming it infringes fundamental rights and disproportionately targets veiled Muslim women. This presentation will review key debates surrounding Bill 21, assess its impacts for Québec’s Muslim communities, and underscore the pitfalls of advancing majority “values” through minority rights restrictions.

Dr. Francis Garon
Associate Professor, Professor, Political Science, Glendon College

Presentation: Obstacles and challenges of Francophone immigrants in the GTA

Canada has two official languages, French and English. Both the federal and the Ontario governments are committed to increase the number of Francophone immigrants in the province, and both are also committed to facilitate their integration. However, numerous obstacles and challenges remain for Francophone immigrants coming to the GTA. This presentation addresses some of these obstacles and challenges through the work of community organizations serving Francophone immigrants in the GTA.

Dr. Marcel Martel
Professor, History, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS)

Marcel Martel (F.R.S.C.) is a Professor of History and the holder of the Avie Bennett Historica Canada Chair in Canadian History. A specialist in twentieth-century Canadian history, he has published on nationalism, relations between Quebec and the French-speaking minorities of Canada, public policy and counterculture, moral regulation, deviance, drug use, and RCMP surveillance activities.

Presentation: Where were you on Black Friday in 2018?

The Ford government announced that the Université de l’Ontario français would disappear in November 2018. Franco-Ontarians and their allies forced the provincial government to reverse its decision. However, the battle is not over. French-language colleges and universities in Alberta and New Brunswick face an uncertain future. The presentation will review recent political battles to protect French-language institutions in Canada.

Panel 3: Enslavement in Canada

NEW DATE: Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022 | 10-12pm ET

Full list of panelists and event description will be shared shortly.

Panel 4: Parenting while Indigenous

NEW DATE: Saturday, June 4, 2022 | 10-12pm ET

Full list of panelists and event description will be shared shortly.


Ideas for Life, Living and the World Around Us

Since 2009, York Circle has showcased the ideas and research being generated by York University’s community. Topics come from every faculty and have included discussions around gender issues, brain function, mental health, international aid, sports injuries, financial policy and many more evolving subjects. Learn more about our past lectures and the distinguished speakers who presented them, and then sign up to hear about our upcoming presentations.

Join The York Circle! Membership is free! Once you’ve joined, we’ll invite you to each event where you can learn about current research on key topics from York’s professors.

Please note: Current students and faculty of York are not eligible to join The York Circle but can attend as a guest of a registered member.

For more information on The York Circle, call us at (416) 650-8159 or email us at yorkcircle@yorku.ca.