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The CFR at Congress 2023

Congress is coming to York University May 27 - June 2, 2023. Here's what the CFR Associates have planned!

To feature your Congress activities on this page, please fill in this form.

Feminist scholars are welcome to drop-in at the Nellie Langford Rowell Library lounge space during Congress. The library is located at 204 Founders College.

MAY 27, 2023

10:30 AM | IKB 1004

Hate Speech, Far-Right Extremism, and Social Media: Is Legal Regulation of Free Expression Possible in Canada?

Paper by Arunita Das

Presented at CLSA

Social media has proven to be a significant medium that encourages far-right activism, the spread of misinformation, the circulation of online hate, and the organizing of far-right activist networks. In the last ten years, Canada has witnessed an insurgence of far-right extremist (FRE) groups motivated by white nationalism. Through the spread of misinformation, FRE promote a version of nationalism that is rooted in xenophobia and “white power,” and is predicated on excluding perceived threats posed by groups such as non-Whites, immigrants, 2SLGBTQ+ communities, and feminists. Informed by critical race theories, semiotic theories, and a mixed-method qualitative approach, my project asks: How do FRE use social media to garner support? And, can law balance the need to regulate online FRE and hate speech, and the protection of free expression in Canada? Often, online posts by known Canadian FRE constructs themselves as the “victim,” and they normalize hate and difference by bringing in false, unsubstantiated claims that appeal to individuals wanting to find answers to their problems. In serious cases, online hate can lead to racial violence offline, as far-right extremist organizations spread their philosophies, expand their influence, and attract supporters across Canada. The ultimate goal of this project is to learn more about the dangers and consequences of online hate, as well as the challenges and possibilities for the legal regulation of online far-right extremism and hate speech in Canada.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM | ACW 206

Queer Coolie-tudes

Film by Michelle Mohabeer

Presented at the Film & Media Studies Association of Canada

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM | ACW 303

Queer Coolie-tudes
Roundtable with Michelle Mohabeer, Natasha Bissonauth and Andil Gosine; Moderated by Malini Guha

Presented at the Film & Media Studies Association of Canada

MAY 29, 2023

9:00AM - 10:30AM | FC 305

Futurities of Remembrance: Transnational Feminist Reflections on the Memorialization of Violence

Roundtable with Alison Crosby, Amber Dean, Chandni Desai, Karine Duhamel, Heather Evans & Honor Ford-Smith

Presented at WGSRF

This roundtable brings together contributors to an edited volume (Crosby & Evans, forthcoming) that explores what a transnational feminist lens can reveal about memorialization practices that emerge in the aftermath of colonial, imperial, militarized, and state violence, their travellings and contestations, and their capacity to generate radical futurities. Centering community-led and creative memorial initiatives that contest hegemonic narratives of violence and resistance, we examine how racially gendered histories, ideologies, subjectivities, and imaginaries shape questions of who and what gets remembered or forgotten, whose loss mourned and grieved, and how some memorialization processes are assigned cultural value and others made absent. Our transnational feminist framework invokes a broad, critical, and intersectional understanding of the transnational that attends to the particularities of place-based struggles as the grounds from which to explore coalitional possibilities within, across, and through borders and contexts. We ask: How do memorialization processes not only formulate within but move through complex transnational flows and circuits, and what transpires as they do? How does memory activism in seemingly unconnected remembrance landscapes speak to, with, and through each other in a world order inflected by colonial, imperial, and neoliberal logics, structures, and strictures? What methodological approaches can attend to these dynamics without reifying racialized epistemological hierarchies? Roundtable participants draw on Indigenous, feminist, and queer remembrance practices (ceremony, performance, multi-media art, novels, paintings, etc.) and anticolonial, anti-imperial memory activism in Canada, Jamaica, and the Palestinian diaspora in Jordan to reveal the transnational and diasporic underpinnings of memorializing initiatives that challenge the white heteropatriarchal status quo, refusing nation state-bound contextualization of political violence, and complicating notions of agency within neoliberal memory landscapes. The roundtable foregrounds how attenuation to non-Eurocentric onto-epistemologies of memory, remembrance, and resistance is essential to enacting futurities that can effectively unsettle the backlash of the contemporary moment.

9:00AM - 10:30AM | CLH H

Counterhegemonic Feminist Art in Sex Workers’ Activism

Paper by Kathleen Cherrington

Presented at SSA

In response to hegemonic systemic violence, sex workers utilize transferable creative skills from professional erotic labour to produce counterhegemonic feminist art for social justice activism. My memoir shares first-hand historical accounts of working in frontline sex worker advocacy, including an analysis of several sex workers’ art activism events. Some of these events include, the “ON OUR BACKS: The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work” exhibit in New York, the “Sex Worker Fest - San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film & Arts Festival”, and the book launch in Toronto for “Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers Poetry.” I also explore events I attended and/or coordinated such as "Exotic Dancers for Cancer" hosted by "The Naked Truth" in BC, and the annual commemorative, “December 17th: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers” where sex workers performed poetry, songs, drag shows, fetish fashion shows, BDSM demonstrations, and other artistic expressions as a mode of resistance. The resistance-based feminist art by sex workers includes nude modeling, photography, films, poetry, literature, along with many other art forms.

9:00AM | FC 202

Resisting Destruction or Collective Survival: The Future of the Maternal Body

Panel with Elena Rahman, Katrina Millan & Thea Jones

Presented at WGSRF

This panel will analyze and trouble representations of maternal futures and the impact those projected futures have on both community and bodily levels. Moving from the macro to the micro, we wish to question and confront the growing responsibilities of motherhood and maternal bodies in this historic moment of global crisis. Our work is informed by several vital questions: how are normative motherhood practices, rooted in biologism and conceptions of nature and what is “natural,” reinforced and propagated through imagery of climate crisis? How might mothering instead become a site of resistance across cultural and community contexts? How might we begin to locate a maternal subjectivity between the poles of essentialisation and immateriality? Our aim is to discuss maternal futurity and its possibilities as they exist across spaces of cultural imagination, community settings, and bodily reality. First, we will situate the figure of the mother saviour in the context of anxieties surrounding climate crisis in Western media; second, we will explore resistance to the normative maternal future within racialized communities found in Palestinian film; lastly, we will confront avenues of destruction, salvation, and resistance in maternal bodies that do not conform to reproductive normativity. Maternal theory is an often misunderstood and underrepresented field, even within feminist academia and practices. In this panel, we hope to spark diverse and compelling conversations surrounding maternal myths, and the implications that normative motherhood has on our bodies and our world. If we see people who perform acts of mothering as those who shape every one of us, what kind of future could we possibly imagine without taking them into account?

10:30AM | VC 001

Aliveness: The Poetics of Black Canadian Women’s Refusal

Paper by Shanique Mothersill

Presented at BCSA

10:45AM -12:15PM | FC 104

From Failure to Refusal: Queerness, Migrancy and other Improper Subjects of Racial and Colonial Capitalism

Panel with Jin Haritaworn, Fatemah Gharibi, Mengzhu Fu & Rhiannon Cobb

Presented at WGSRF

What forms of change can we dream up that do not diversify the status quo - that do more than animate further murderous inclusion? This is a question that has been asked across radical scholarships - from Black studies to Indigenous studies, critical race studies and critical gender studies. Examples include Wildersen’s description of minoritarian subjectivities - in whom we might include not only non-Black migrants but also homonormative or transnormative queers - as white supremacy’s ‘junior partners’, Sunera Thobani’s proposal that citizenship claims in settler colonial ‘Canada’ are contingent on performances of an ‘exalted’ subjecthood that reinscribes the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous peoples as rightful, and critiques of homonationalism, homonormativity and queer necropolitics. On a movement level, too, activists against racism and cis-heteropatriarchy, and for migrant, gender/sexual, housing, urban and other forms of justice, have had to reflect on how our actions politically correct or dismantle the bigger pictures of racial capitalism and settler colonialism. From urban development to struggles against violence and against borders, displacement, dispossession and property relations more generally occur in the blueprints of a capitalism that has always been racial and colonial, as succinctly conceptualized in Glen Coulthard’s ‘urbs nullius’.

Building on these interventions, this panel reflects on activist figures - from queer international students to activism against “anti-Asian hate crime” - that are treated as failed or improper without being interpellated as white, masculinized or propertized. Conversing with writers on abolition, existentialism and Indigenous resurgence, we ask what it takes to harness desires that leave behind dominant moulds of murderous inclusion, and prefigure safety and liberation for all.

Please wear masks when attending our panel.

1:00PM | Virtual

Moving Beyond Taboos and Shame: Transforming Family Law Narratives around LGBTQ+ Rights in India

Paper by Lovepreet Kaur

Presented at CSASA-ACESA

This paper examines the issue of transforming family law narratives around LGBTQ+ rights in India. The main object of this research is to focus on the transformation of family law narratives to move beyond taboos and shame towards more inclusive and accepting attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community. The problem addressed in this study is the persistence of discriminatory attitudes and practices towards the LGBTQ+ community in India, which are often perpetuated by family law narratives that reinforce heteronormative and patriarchal values. The question being explored is how these narratives can be transformed to promote LGBTQ+ rights and equality within families and society at large.

3:00PM | FC 104

Revisioning Feminist Engagements with Madness

Panel with Sarah Redikopp, Jordan Hodgins, Sarah Smith & Erin Tichenor

Presented at WGSRF

This interdisciplinary panel revisits feminism(s) as framework(s) through which to research and theorize feminized forms of madness, with particular attention to self-harm, self-injury, and borderline personality 'disorder'. How have feminists continued to grapple with the gendered, racialized, classed, and colonial dimensions of madness? How have insights from intersectionality, feminist disability theory, Mad studies, and more enriched and challenged feminist accounts of madness, and what frictions and possibilities do these coalitions generate? Ultimately, this panel asks about the challenges, possibilities, and futurities of a feminist critique of madness.

MAY 30, 2023

9:00AM - 10:30AM | CLH K

Critical Femininity Studies: Current Questions and Future Directions

Roundtable with Andi Schwartz, Jade Da Costa, Laura Brightwell, Hannah Maitland, Cassie Osei, Jessie Taieun Yoon & Lindsay Cavanaugh

Presented at SSA

In 2012, Ulrika Dahl began to define the field of critical femininity studies. Calling for an analysis of femininity beyond its ties to femaleness and its critique as a source of oppression, Dahl suggested we consider femininity as a genre “in all its variations, representations, and materializations (p. 61).” Dahl argued considering femininity’s many genres enables us to theorize affective and power relations between femininities, especially as demonstrated in antiracist and postcolonial inquiries on femininities. For example, many scholars in these fields have considered femininities that diverge from white norms, in particular with regards to racialization, colonialism and transness (Aizura, 2009; Cheng, 2019; Huang, 2022; Keeling, 2007; Panuska, 2019; Reddy, 2016; Zuo, 2022). Now, ten years after Dahl’s initial sketch of the field was published, this roundtable will illuminate the directions the field has already taken—and where it still needs to go.

At York University’s annual Critical Femininities conference, emerging scholars continue to develop the field. Drawing on traditions in femme theory that weave together theory, art, life-writing, and cultural production (Brightwell & Taylor, 2021; Brushwood Rose & Camilleri, 2002; Nestle, 1992; Scott, 2022), these scholars have highlighted questions of epistemology as foundational to critical femininities. Such questions similarly cut across fields like Indigenous studies and Black feminist theory. Centering Dahl’s call to consider relationality, the roundtable will bring together emerging scholars that have participated in the Critical Femininities conference to discuss the importance of recognizing shared goals and approaches across these and other fields, as well as the potential of nurturing alliances with them. Panelists will discuss their own critical femininities approaches as they intersect with abjected femininities, pedagogy, queer of colour critique, trans studies, performance studies, girlhood studies, feminist epistemology, and more. In bringing these perspectives together, this roundtable table will invite panelists to consider what the critical femininities field has already reckoned with and re-imagined, as well as what it must still investigate and potentially reshape.

10:30AM | VC 104

Untold Stories of Doing Research In the Periphery: Reflections from the Global South

Paper by Ruth Murambadoro & Miriam Murambadoro

Presented at CAAS

The terms ‘periphery’ and ‘margins’ have been interchangeably used in most scholarship on and about rural Africa to denote a space and locality that is less civilized than the “center”. Though considered underdeveloped, less modern, and innovative in comparison to urban settings, these normative depictions of the ‘periphery’ have proven problematic for critical scholars who challenge the bias of studying African societies from a Western gaze. In this paper, we draw from our experiences of performing participatory research with communities in rural South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe to provide new ways of thinking about the ‘periphery’ aside from the ‘core’. We borrow from Glückler et al’s (2022) relational definition of periphery as position as opposed to locality, to distinguish the positionality of the researcher and research community in shaping meanings derived from interactions within space. While the absence of amenities common in urban settings may make the ‘periphery’ a less desirable site for research and much is assumed about rural life in Africa, the paper highlights the complexities of conducting research with communities in the ‘periphery’ as well as opportunities. We conclude that doing research with peripheral communities requires building strong relationships, exercising compassion, mutual respect, and trust to ensure for a meaningful research process.

1:00PM | ATK 005

Forking the Narrative: Twine as an interactive and collaborative tool to reckon with and re-imagine Empire (Part I & Part II)

Workshop by Aparajita Bhandari, Sarah York-Bertram, Anna Lee-Popham, Sarah Choukah, Alison Harvey, Laurence Butet-Roch

Presented at Canadian Communication Association

Following the focus of Congress 2023 on "new reckonings for how to live in non-hierarchical relationships that respect our human differences," in this two-part workshop participants will explore Twine as an interactive – and collaborative – tool to engage in nonlinear, non-normative creative expression as a way to reckon with the narratives of Empire. Part I, geared to those with limited to no experience with Twine, will introduce participants to the tool and explore its interdisciplinary applications. Part II will focus on Twine as an interactive tool through collaboratively developing narratives. Taken from the vernacular of open source software development, the term "forking" implies that "anyone can take [...] code and create their own unique mutant mashup version of it any time they feel like it" (Atwood). In Twine, we see ways to bifurcate from libertarian normalizations of individualism, and instead posit "forking the narrative" as a prompt to collectively reckon with, re-imagine, and co-experiment with burgeoning forms of digital expression. From a feminist perspective, Twine is particularly interesting as a nonlinear narrative-building digital tool as it is accessible and free to use, and, by having a low learning curve (Anthropy, Evans), “challenges mainstream standards by subverting the celebration of difficulty, in both production and play” (Harvey). These workshops will explore Twine as a tool for otherwise thinking and for shaping future possibilities, guided by the question: how might more low-tech publication alternatives to editing suites or apps explore feminist collective diary practices in Twine as alternatives that look away from platform capitalism and towards greater collaboration? We aim to facilitate exploration into how non-linearity can be reflective of Black feminist, anti-colonial, and plural forms of futurism and design. Throughout the two-part series, the focus will not be on positioning Twine as a technological fix, but rather as a tool to generate expansive, non-linear thinking; engage in collaborative digital scholarship; and craft new meanings through spontaneous co-writing opportunities.

3:15PM | TBA

NIMBYism in Mid-Size Cities

Paper by Jessica Braimoh & Erin Dej

Presented at CPSA

This presentation offers initial insights from our research project, From NIMBY to Neighbour: Brokering a Dialogue about Homelessness Among People Experiencing Homelessness, Law Enforcement, and the Community, which explores community perceptions of, and responses to, homelessness in three midsize Ontario cities. While homelessness has always been present across different types of communities, its visibility and the subsequent pressure for midsized cities to act quickly has come up against their ability to adapt to the changing needs of the community and to respond in a way that leads to long-term stability and equity for everyone. At the core of these contentions is NIMBYism, which is deeply rooted in the idea that people who are homeless ought to be removed from public spaces. Mid-sized cities are especially fraught with these debates their access to resources and funding are not consistent with major urban centres, yet the visibility of homelessness has become more prevalent. In this presentation we discuss the preliminary findings from this research, which consists of 86 interviews with people with lived experience of homelessness, service providers, community members, business owners, and first responders. Specifically, we consider how public space is used, managed, and experienced by people who are homeless, and how community complaints drive these experiences. Instances of dehumanization, judgement, criminalization, and in some cases violence, make clear that there is a “dark side” to communities generally perceived to be small, tight-knit, and amicable.

3:30PM - 5:00PM | Osgoode Hall 1001

Reckoning with & Re-Imagining Settler-Indigenous Relationships in Canada

Panel with Amar Bhatia, Angele Alook, Enakshi Dua, Genevieve Fuji-Johnson, Desiree de Jesus, David Koffman; Chaired by Elaine Coburn

Open Session

How did Jewish, Asian, South Asian, and Black people enter into relationships with Indigenous lands and Indigenous peoples in Canada? How do we take into account the actual racial diversity of non-Indigenous people on these lands in reckoning with settler colonial past and present? And how do we re-imagine the relationships between Indigenous peoples and racialized settlers—or arrivants—in ways that are liberatory and that respect our obligations to each other and to the lands that sustain all of us?

MAY 31, 2023

8:30AM | MC (Hybrid)

Re-Imagining Justice Research Towards a Desire-Based Approach

Panel with Jessica Braimoh, Alan Santinele Martino, Kristin Lozanski

Presented with CSA

Damage narratives are the only stories that get told about me, unless I'm the one that's telling them (Tuck & Ree, 2013, p. 647). Sociological research can, at times, fall into the trap of portraying communities and lived experiences solely through a damage-centered framework, one that frames communities as “damaged, “defeated,” and “broken” (Tuck, 2009, p. 412). A desire-based framework, on the other hand, can serve as “an antidote, a medicine to damage narratives” by “documenting not only the painful elements of social realities but also the wisdom and hope” (Tuck, 2009, p. 416). This session features papers that consider the potential of a desire-based approach to sociological research.

9:45AM | MB G101

Disrupting Homogeneity of the Term ‘International Student


Presented with CSSE

International students carry their previous intersectional oppressions and privileges while suddenly entering a new set of structures—new forms of racialization and racism oppress them, while the settler colonial system privileges them over Indigenous people. The promise of future citizenship shadows the discrimination they experience in the present because of their temporary status and invites them to assimilate in silence. In this research, I draw on my own experience to study queer international students of colour’s complex experiences in university spaces. I ask:
How do queer international students of colour navigate the university spaces? How do they share—and not share— stories about queerness, racialization, temporary status, and relationship with the land in Canada?
To answer this question, I use satirical performance autoethnography. The product of this research will be a performative piece of writing, where the page is seen as the stage to gain a different quality of writing that values embodiment and reciprocity over observation (Denzin, 2003; Hamra, 2018). I share my stories of arrival but also reflect on those stories that remain unspoken. More than other genres, comedy and satire give voice to the unspoken, silenced, and disavowed (Reed, 2011). It will create a shift from “damage” to “desire” in Eve Tuck’s (2009) words.

11:00AM | DB 1016

Frictionless Voices: Problematizing The “Natural User Interface

Paper by Alex Borkowski

Presented with CCA

As smart technologies are becoming an ever-more common feature in North American households, consumers are developing increasingly conversant relationships with computers, with Amazon in particular leading the charge in developing voice-based ambient intelligence networks. The increasing uptake of vocal, as opposed to haptic or textual, input and output has been called a “paradigm shift” in the way users engage with technology, such that a “conversational internet, mediated not by a web browser but by a machine that listens and talks like a person” is poised to replace familiar visual and haptic interfaces (West et al. 2019). This turn to voice is described by tech companies, commentators, and researchers alike as a revolutionary shift in computing. This paper therefore interrogates the work that voice is called upon to do within these interfaces, and in the rhapsodic discourses that surround them, in order to unpack the promises of unmediated mediation (Bolter and Grusin 2000, Phan 2017) upon which such technologies are predicated. In order to consider what definitions and assumptions about voice are mobilized in the construction and promotion of smart technology, this paper conducts a critical discourse analysis of Amazon’s public-facing documentation regarding their research and investments in voice technology, including online reports and presentations from industry conferences (Re:MARS and Alexa Live) and website content pertaining to the Alexa Fund, which offers venture capital funding to start-ups advancing innovation in the field. Taking up Alexander Galloway’s (2012) suggestion that interfaces “tell the story of the larger forces that engender them,” I contend that claims regarding voice as a more organic, transparent or frictionless mode of engaging with digital technology (West 2022, Natale and Cooke 2021) are invested in ideological presumptions regarding the universal traits of voice as such. Attending to perspectives in sound and voice studies that problematize the presumption that voice is an innately human form of expression or marker of agency and unmediated self-presence (Eidsheim 2019, Meizel 2020, Pettman 2017) makes a politics available that might unravel the vocal imaginaries upon which smart devices are predicated, thereby disrupting the encroachment of auditory surveillance (Neville 2020, Woods 2018) into domestic spaces under the guise of natural user interfacing. This paper will also attend to the ways in which the audible vocal characteristics of smart interfaces, in the form of voice assistants such as Alexa, are addressed (or not) in Amazon’s public-facing literature. While both scholarly and journalistic accounts have identified the ways in which Alexa’s voice connotes femininity and middle-class whiteness (Phan 2019, Schiller and McMahon 2019, Woods 2018), gender and racialization function as an absent presence within the corporate discourse. I will therefore examine latent connections between Alexa’s unacknowledged gendering and the conflation of voice with personhood, as well as the exclusions that such figurations thereby enact.

12:00PM | CLH

“I feel you”: The risks and potentialities of bearing (virtual) witness in feminist self-harm research

Paper by Sarah Redikopp

Presented at CSA

How do we bear witness to moments of intense vulnerability in virtual research? What are the risks, promises, and potentialities of virtual witnessing for intersectional feminist, mad, and affect-based research paradigms? This presentation reflects on my experiences interviewing folks of marginalized genders about their lived experiences with self-harm via Zoom. Locating myself as a mad, queer researcher with lived experience of self-harm, I conceptualize my doctoral fieldwork as deeply felt. My interviews were peppered with chills, goosebumps, sweaty hands, and tears in my eyes - to put it plainly, my fieldwork interviews were saturated with feeling. At the same time, my participants and I were often kilometers apart, in different rooms, different cities, even different time zones. Drawing on Rice et al.’s (2021) articulation of “difference-attuned witnessing” in the research encounter, which involves “haptic and kinaesthetic engagement (igniting a witness’s sense of touch and movement), whereby the viewer/listener/receiver’s body is connected to the dynamics of attending to” (Rice et al., 2021, p.347), I reflect on the ways in which “difference-attuned witnessing” – particularly its embodied and affective components – is complicated by the parameters of virtual research. While I reflect on what was “lost” in the process of virtual research, I ultimately am more interested in what emerged in the wake of virtual interviewing. Drawing on several standout moments from my fieldwork, I theorize the virtual interview encounter as an affectively charged container of vulnerability co-created between myself and my participants. I submit that, although my participants and I were not physically “present” with one another, between the space of my office where (on my end) the interview took place, and the spaces where my participants “took” the interview, a third space emerged - a co-created and affectively saturated container, characterized by a practice of virtual, yet deeply embodied, witnessing.

1:15PM | FC 108

What Girls Want: An Affective Reading of Activist Girls and Their Relationships with Their Mothers and Mother-Figures

Paper by Hannah Maitland

Presented at WGSRF

Sara McClelland and Michelle Fine (2008) describe girls as subjects with “thick desire” who, despite often being overlooked or misunderstood by adults, “seek lives of pleasure and responsibility, strength of mind and body, alone and with community" (p.84). Girls exist in complex and contradictory webs of expectations, obligations, aspirations, and desires that shape their relationships and political actions. This tangle of what girls want from the world and what it wants from them is the central subject of this study, which explores how an intergenerational lens can be critically applied to the actions and motivations of activist girls and asks how contemporary girls negotiate and feel about their activism, their relationships with their mothers and communities, and their imaginings for a feminist future. From September 2021 to May 2022, I conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with ten activist girls (aged 11-20) and their mothers/mother figures, and I applied a combination of one-on-one and paired interviews with daughters and mothers. This paper reflects on the affective landscape that emerged when interviewing girls not only about their mothers but with their mothers. Specifically, I engage with how daughters and mothers negotiate and express wanting in the context of the paired interviews when mother-daughter relationships are highly contoured by competing social, familial, and personal expectations. Drawing from feminist affect scholars such as Sara Ahmed, Jessica Ringrose, and Michelle Fine and Sara McClelland, this paper is a critical reflection on the fieldwork and analysis stage of my dissertation project on activist girls that explores not only what daughters and mothers want for the future and each other but what the research wants from them. McClelland, S., & Fine, M. (2008). Rescuing a Theory of Adolescent Sexual Excess: Young Women and Wanting. In A. Harris (Ed.), Next wave cultures: Feminism, subcultures, activism. Routledge.

3:00PM - 4:30PM | FC 108 (Hybrid)

Nuancing Feminist Ryan Gosling: A Retrospective

Paper by Mackenzie Edwards

Presented at WGSRF

9:00AM | FC 106

Feminist XResistance

Project Showcase with Sara York-Bertram, Galit Ariel, Aparajita Bhandari & Kacie Hopkins

Presented at WGSRF

Feminist researchers turned to digital methods and digitally mediated collaborations out of necessity due to the pandemic and remote/hybrid work. The 2022 open access Feminist Digital Methods (FDM) Events and Conference, hosted by the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR), aimed to address gaps between increased demand for digital acuity and decreased ability to gather, troubleshoot, or discuss ideas and projects. The Feminist Digital Methods Research Cluster (FDMRC), hosted by the CFR and supported by York University Libraries Digital Scholarship Centre, flows from the communities of practice fostered by the 2022 convenings. In this virtual project showcase we feature the Feminist XResistance project.
The Feminist XResistance project responds to the favouring of the white cis-male experience of immersive computing (Stanney et al., 2020; Lopez et al., 2019). We propose an immersive space solution that subverts cis-male ideological, cultural, and material representations and interactions while also resisting exploitative modes of digital research (Cowan & Rault, 2018). The Feminist XResistance immersive space will center critical representation, encounters, and discussions for the typically marginalized by drawing from inclusive design, community connections, and existing resources at York University. This project cultivates revolutionary digital space to experiment, co
create content, and co-generate ideas and projects through trans-feminist practices and speculative design methodologies (Floegel and Costello, 2022; Cowan 2012).
In this virtual showcase on Zoom, we will explore the project to date and invite feedback from our audience. Using Zoom suits the presentation as the project has been facilitated by Zoom meetings and through the support of York University Librarians. On campus attendees could join the virtual showcase in a space at Scott Library or the CFR. If WGSRF accepts our proposal, we are happy to facilitate the room booking if needed.

Cowan, T.L. “GLITTERfesto: An Open Call in Trinity Formation for a Revolutionary Movement of Activist Performance Based on the Premise That Social Justice Is Fabulous.” Canadian Theatre Review 150 (2012): 17–21. Web.

Cowan, T.L., and Jasmine Rault. “Onlining Queer Acts: Digital Research Ethics and Caring for Risky Archives.” Women & Performance 28.2 (2018): 121–142. Web.

Floegel, Diana, and Kaitlin L. Costello. “Methods for a Feminist Technoscience of Information Practice: Design Justice and Speculative Futurities.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 73.4 (2022): 625–634. Web.

Latzko-Toth, Guillaume. “Users as Co-Designers of Software-Based Media: The Co Construction of Internet Relay Chat.” Canadian Journal of Communication 39.4 (2014): 577–596. Web.

Lopez, Sarah et al. “Investigating Implicit Gender Bias and Embodiment of White Males in Virtual Reality with Full Body Visuomotor Synchrony.” Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2019. 1–12. Web.

Stanney, Kay, Cali Fidopiastis, and Linda Foster. “Virtual Reality Is Sexist: But It Does Not Have to Be.” Frontiers in Robotics and AI 7 (2020): 4–4. Web.

JUNE 1, 2023

8:30AM | MC

Desire and Diagnosis: Lacanian psychoanalytic culture and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)

Paper by Sheila Cavanagh

Presented at CSA

This paper analyzes the difference between psychoanalytic culture, as practiced by Canadian clinicians schooled in the tradition of Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Ontario provincial legislation informed by psycho-psychiatric diagnosis. There is an impasse between the teachings of the late Parisian psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, which adheres to the psychoanalytic act (as particular to the desiring subject), and the legal definition of the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy enforced by the newly formed College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) (which pertains to diagnosis). This is to say that desire and psychiatric diagnosis are, from a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective, incommensurable. The controlled act of psychotherapy came into force in 2020 and has transformed the culture of psychotherapy such that it is difficult to treat client-patients outside the medical-diagnostic model. The legal act is inclusive of psychodynamic therapies and, as I will argue, at odds with the ethics of psychoanalytic treatment contesting normalization. What Lacan calls the psychoanalytic act is like a subjective revolution that is irreducible to governmental control. The controlled act of psychotherapy includes a focus on “diagnosis,” “impairment,” “outcomes,” and predetermined “goals” and “plans,” along with clear distinctions between “beginnings” and “endings.” In Lacanian praxis, the psychoanalytic act involves desire (as opposed to diagnosis), a distinction between “acting out” (for the Other in a given/repetitive scene) and a passage to the act (passage à l’acte) whereby the subject exits the Symbolic scene. The CRPO focus upon controlling the act is at odds with the psychoanalytic cure, the desire and discourse of the Lacanian analyst.

10:30AM | FC 104

The Impossible Truth and Reconciliation of Canada's Birth Evacuation Policy

Paper by Sandy May

Presented at WGSRF

The Government of Canada positions birth evacuation policy and practices as intended to reduce the deaths of Indigenous infants and mortality rates of Indigenous birthing persons by providing a base level of quality healthcare to all Canadians, yet evacuation practises have been shown to have wide ranging detrimental and everlasting effects on Indigenous women and birthing people, infants, parents, family and communities. This paper argues that removing birth, birth practices, and sovereignty over birth from Indigenous communities undermines Indigenous culture at the point of the womb and the mother-child connection in much the same way we have come to begin to understand the role of the Residential School System. I argue that Canada cannot implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (2015) or the mandate of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019) while it continues to mandate the removal Indigenous birth and birthing people from their communities, families, support, culture and traditions. This paper calls for collaborative efforts to help return birth to Indigenous communities, and argues that Reconciliation frameworks must account for birth, birthing people and Indigenous mothers moving forward.

10:30AM | FC 104

Global South feminisms, fieldwork and praxis-oriented research on social reproduction in Southern Africa

Paper by Tatiane Sant’ Ana Coelho Reis

Presented at WGSRF

As a Black Brazilian PhD student interested in Southern Africa, Global South feminisms shape much more than the theoretical framework in my investigations. This paper intends to share some reflections on how Global south feminists (especially Black intellectuals) can contribute to other young scholars to prepare themselves to challenge white supremacy in knowledge production. Two major components will structure my discussions: the role played by fieldwork in a feminist analysis at an early career stage and how Global South feminists enrich the design of a praxis-oriented research on social reproduction in Southern Africa. In this paper, I will argue that racialized Global South PhD candidates’ backgrounds come to play regarding the expectations in the fieldwork as well as their imbrications with examining social reproduction in Southern Africa. Preparing to exchange ideas with Southern African women, complexifying knowledges of women paid and unpaid labour in relation to local, regional, and global economies comprises challenges in terms of establishing meaningful connections that can also be fruitful to multiple research participants. All those aspects involve willingness to engage with groups in their varied dynamics, to expand conceptions of solidarities and leaderships especially by understanding women as workers beyond waged labour. By establishing dialogues with Amina Mama’s, Veronica Gago’s, Shireen Hassim’s, L. Ossome’s and selected African Brazilian females’ writings, I expect to engage with the conversation about praxis-oriented research on social reproduction in Southern Africa. Based on collectivity and social justice as core principles beyond academia, this piece aims at supporting non-hierarchical knowledge production as not only viable but also as a realm that can be particularly strengthened by racialized Global South young scholars.

3:00PM | ELC X106

Bearing Witness: Hate, Harassment and Public Scholarship

Panel with Natalie Coulter, Ganaele Langlois, Marion Grant, Alex Borkowski, Eve Hague, Kris Joseph & Jake Pyne

Congress Open Program

From climate change to social equity, from gaming to critical race, more and more of the social science and humanities fields, research paradigms and issues are becoming political fodder in a highly polarized and volatile environment. It is unfortunately common for researchers engaging in risky (e.g. research into neo-fascist communities), social justice (e.g. feminist and anti-racist work), and really any kind of hot-issue research (e.g. researching vaccine during the pandemic) to experience online harassment and hatred as part of their work. Too often, universities are ill-prepared as institutions to protect their researchers (faculty and graduate students alike) while asking these very researchers to participate in community and knowledge development, putting them under even greater public attention. In this workshop, we will address:
A) Best principles for researchers to get informed, build support and develop plans of action for dealing with online harassment and hatred.
B) Strategies for raising awareness, educating and enacting new policies to deal with online harassment and hatred at various institutional levels (e.g. research ethics, research offices, IT and security).
C) Further establishing a cross-institutional network of scholars and higher education staff to track and document research-focused online harassment and hatred to advocate for sector-wide policy changes (e.g. funding agencies).

3:00PM - 4:30PM | FC 106

Decolonizing Justice: Beyond Punishment and Containment

Paper by Ingrid Bachner

Presented at WGSRF

In 2020, responding to increasingly prevalent and deadly police brutality, calls to defund the police proliferated across Canada and the United States, as have demands to arrest and prosecute the police officers involved in those cases. Similarly, the rise of violence against marginalized groups has led to social justice activists calling for stronger laws to keep those responsible accountable for their actions (through, for example, hate crime legislation). In each case, accountability, justice, healing, and closure are achieved only through punishment and containment. I question the logic of seeking carceral solutions to the oppressions against which we struggle and examine our complicity in the expansion of the prison industrial system. I suggest the police and the carceral system, being intimately linked institutions upholding a colonial criminal ‘justice’ system, must both be eliminated in favour of transformative justice. Our critique cannot be limited to the overincarceration and disproportional sentencing of Black, Indigenous, and poor individuals, nor can our advocacy be restricted to non-violent offenders – doing so perpetuates the dualistic notions of good/bad, innocent/guilty, and victim/monster onto which the carceral state depends. Under the guise of ‘care’, prison reforms justify the continued caging of those pushed to the margins by violent power structures, further entrenching a colonial carceral logic of interpreting and responding to harm. I argue in favour of non-carceral and community-based alternatives, building upon Indigenous knowledge and restorative practices which offer a pathway towards non-violent ways of relationality. The restructuring of settler-colonial societies and power structures is central to effective prison abolition, and abolition is imperative to decolonization.


Feminist Approaches to Environmental Politics

Roundtable with Sarah Marie Wiebe, Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez, Gabrielle Daoust, Katie Mazer, Rebecca Hall & Leah Levac

Presented at CPSA

This roundtable brings together scholars with a shared interest in feminist and intersectional approaches to environmental politics and the examination of environmental challenges through a gendered lens. Collectively, our approaches to these issues encompass a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, and different forms and locations of community, practice, and policy engagement. This roundtable discussion will cover themes that reflect our collective interests and ongoing work, including: 1) gendered experiences and impacts of environmental resource extraction and climate change, and of environmental protection interventions – including among Indigenous communities, and especially in relation to land and water; 2) relationships between environmental and gendered power and violence, and responses and resistances to these; and 3) conceptions of environmental care, justice, and sustainable futures that challenge extractivist, colonial and settler colonial, and gendered forms of violence. We explore these dynamics in a range of ‘localised’ contexts and across boundaries and borders, and in their ‘everyday’ and intimate as well as more public political and global dimensions. Bringing together scholars adopting feminist approaches to the study of these issues from varied perspectives and in varied contexts, the more flexible format of this roundtable will provide an opportunity to engage in deeper dialogue on our respective approaches, experiences, and understandings, and to discuss areas of shared interest as well as directions for collective and collaborative work. In turn, this supports our broader aim of facilitating community-building in this important area of research, community engagement, and political action.