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Jessica Vorstermans

Assistant Professor, School of Health & Policy Management
Undergraduate Program Director, School of Global Health 

354A Stong College

Jessica Vorstermans (she/her) is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health at York University. As a white woman settler scholar, living, working and caring in what is now known as Toronto, on treaty 13 lands, I work to enact equity as a set of social relations, equity as relational, in all sites of my work.

I am an interdisciplinary scholar with plural threads of inquiry rooted in relationship with transnational communities and activists doing equity, anti-racism, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist work and resistance. My research is guided by multiple lines of inquiry that, together, work to understand how the processes of colonization and disablement have organized, and continue to organize, our world and the ways this is hidden, erased and pushed out of our systems of knowledge. My teaching is embedded in this understanding of the world, asking students to engage with critical understandings of ways that oppressions are produced and reproduced and how communities are intervening and building new worlds. My research programme is rooted in community engaged participatory research, which is predicated on building meaningful, reciprocal and messy relationships. This is highly involved and multi-faceted work and is an integral part of producing research. My research is transnational, and in community with those experiencing extreme marginalization and poverty. Specifically, my research examines two substantive sites to take up questions of inequity, disability, disablement, and social change: (1) Transnational transformative education (with a major focus on transnational service learning) and (2) Community development, mutual aid and solidarity in the Global South. I work to do research that is reciprocal and not extractive, research that is led by community for their benefit, engaging co-PIs in the co-construction of research questions, methodologies and knowledge mobilization plans.

You can find my research and writing in academic spaces: Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, Journal of Global Citizenship and Equity Education, International Experiential/Service Learning Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Journal of Teaching Disability Studies as well as public spaces: the Conversation and University Affairs, and on her collaborative hub Transnational Service Learning.

I supervise and teach in our Critical Disability Studies graduate program and Health Equity graduate program.

I am open to supervising students engaging in the areas of/with: disability and health, transnational disability theory, transnational solidarity, transnational service learning, community development and global health, disablement, disability justice, community engaged research, participatory action research and activist research.