Mary McEwan Memorial Award

2016-17 Award Guidelines

Named in honour of Dr. Mary McEwan, a feminist psychiatrist, this annual award of $1,000.00 will be awarded to one PhD dissertation produced in 2016-17 at York University in the area of feminist scholarship. An Awards Committee of faculty affiliated with the Centre will choose the winners.
If you have dissertations that were recommended for awards in 2016-17 (dissertations defended between September 2016 and August 31 2017 are eligible), please consider putting them forward for this award.  The submission deadline is November 20, 2017.
1. Must be a graduate student who has successfully defended a dissertation during the 2016-17 academic year.
2. The nominee's dissertation must concern feminist theory and/or gender issues.
3. The examining committee for the dissertation must unanimously recommend it for an award.
 Each nomination must include:
 1. A copy of the dissertation and no more than a one-page statement from the nominee about the contribution the dissertation makes to feminist scholarship.
 2. A letter of recommendation from the student's Supervisor commenting on the nominee's dissertation or thesis.
 3. A statement from the Graduate Program Director noting that the nominee's dissertation was recommended as one that should be considered for a prize.
4. A copy of the external examiner’s report.
Nominations must be received by Julia Pyryeskina, Coordinator, Centre for Feminist Research, 611 York Research Tower no later than November 20, 2017.
Submissions and questions can be made via email to


Dr. Helene Vosters

“Good Mourning Canada? Canadian Military Commemoration and its Lost Subjects”

Using the Highway of Heroes as a point of departure, “Good Mourning Canada? Canadian Military Commemoration and its Lost Subjects” interrogates the role of Canadian military commemoration in the construction of nationalist narratives and gendered and raced hierarchies of grievability. Extending the work of feminist historians I argue that the displacement of women—as gender-marked bodies—from their historical role as the primary public mediators of mourning, left its new mediators conveniently unmarked. Unlike the invisibility of the marginalized or disavowed “other,” the privileged invisibility of military commemoration’s unmarked mediators is a powerful one that naturalizes the gendered and racialized essentialisms produced by processes of militarism, colonialism, and nationalism.

The theoretical and historical labour of Dr. Vosters' research is done in concert with a process of embodied inquiry in the form of three durational memorial performance projects—Impact Afghanistan War; Unravel: A Meditation on the Warp and Weft of Militarism; and Flag of Tears: Lament for the Stains of a Nation. Following performance and queer studies theorist José Esteban Muñoz, each of these projects engages a disidentificatory and intersectional feminist embrace of the gendered lexicons of violence, war, and peace as a mechanism for resisting the violent essentialisms of militarism and nationalism. As with my examination of the history of women’s lament, through the use of this disidentificatory performance approach my intention is to make strange military commemoration’s normalizing elegiac narratives by drawing attention to their construction and their performances of in/visibility.

Bio: Helene Vosters is an artist, scholar, and activist. She holds a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies (York University) and is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Manitoba). Helene’s work explores issues of state violence, the politics of its transmission into social memory, and the role of performance and aesthetic practices in mobilizing resistance. Helene’s scholarly contributions include articles in Canadian and international peer-reviewed academic journals (Performance Research, Theatre Research in Canada, Canadian Journal of Practice-based Research in Theatre, and Canadian Theatre Review), and book sections in Performance Studies in Canada (forthcoming), Performing Objects and Theatrical Things and Theatre of Affect.


Dr. Veronika Novoselova

“Networked Publics, Networked Politics: Resisting Gender-Based Violent Speech in Digital Media”

This dissertation is a qualitative study of digital media that identifies and analyzes feminist responses to violent speech in networked environments across Canada and the United States between 2011 and 2015. Exploring how verbal violence is constitutive of and constituted by power relations in the feminist blogosphere, Dr. Novoselova asks the following set of research questions: How do feminist bloggers politicize and problematize instances of violent speech on digital media? In what ways are their networked interactions and self-representations reconfigured as a result of having to face hostile audiences? What modes of agency appear within feminist blogging cultures? This work engages with feminist theory (hooks, 2014; McRobbie, 2009; Stringer 2014), media studies (boyd, 2014; Lovink, 2011; Marwick 2013) and their intersections in the field of feminist media studies (Jane 2014; Keller, 2012). Drawing on interviews with the key players in the feminist blogosphere and providing a discursive reading of selected digital texts, Dr. Novoselova identifies networked resistive strategies including digital archiving, public shaming, strategic silence and institutional transformations. Dr. Novoselova argues that feminist responses to violent speech are varied and reflect not only long-standing concerns with community building and women’s voices in public context, but also emerging anxieties around self-branding, professional identity and a control over one's digital presence. This research underscores the importance of transformative capacities of networked feminist politics and contextualizes agentic modes of participation in response to problematic communication.

Bio: Dr. Veronika Novoselova holds an MA and a PhD from York University. In 2016 she completed her doctoral research in the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies. Her dissertation identifies, contextualizes, and analyzes responses to verbal violence on digital media platforms across Canada and the United States. Located at the intersections of media studies and feminist theory, her most recent research explores how digitally mediated confessions reveal negotiations of privilege and difference in feminist blogging cultures. In addition to teaching and research, for the past four years Veronika have been serving as a Social Media Coordinator at Feral Feminisms, a peer-reviewed multimedia journal based in Toronto.


For a list of past recipients of the award, please see the following link:

Mary McEwan Memorial Award – Past Winners