2013-2014 Events

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Zombies, Gender and World-Ecology: Ana Lydia Vega’s and Mayra Montero’s Feminist Eco-Gothic Narratives

The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) presents a talk by visiting scholar Kerstin Oloff: “Zombies, Gender and World-Ecology:  Ana Lydia Vega’s and Mayra Montero’s Feminist Eco-Gothic Narratives”

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013; 12:30-2:30 pm

Kaneff Tower (formerly York Research Tower), Room 626

Registering the impact of the ecological revolutions through which the capitalist world-system unfolded, the figure of the zombie sits at the fault lines of racial, class, gender and environmental violence. The classic zombie figure toiling on the plantation fields thus may be read as a cultural response to capitalism’s development through the ruthless exploitation and commoditisation of labor and nature. Further, the figure of the white female zombie, a staple of the imperial imagination, registers on the level of what one might term the work’s ecological unconscious the imbrications of nature-society relations. In their more recent texts from the last decade of the twentieth century, Ana Lydia Vega and Mayra Montero employ the female zombie figure to reflect on various forms of structural, environmental and symbolic violence and to formulate a critique of the imperial gothic. Their texts may thus be read to speak to, and perhaps help to bring together, eco-feminist and world-ecological strands of thought.

Kerstin Oloff is an Assistant Professor at Durham University. She is the co-editor of Perspectives on the Other America (Rodopi, 2009), and has published articles and interviews in edited collections and journals such as Green Letters, Revista Hispánica Moderna, LARR, and La Habana elegante.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (DLLL), the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program (LACS), and the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR).

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Panel with artists/activists about fightback campaigns


Wednesday October 23, 2013 at 12:45PM – 2:15 PM

Venue: Crossroads Gallery, FES Building, York University.


Chris Ramsaroop, Justicia for Migrant Workers

Farrah Miranda, No One Is Illegal

Min Sook Lee, Migrant Dreams

Sponsored by the Community Arts Program (CAP), the Centre for Feminist Research and the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC)

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Ohrni (hosted with the Centre for Feminist Research)

Art Gallery of York University, November 21st 2013, 12:30-2:00pm

Event Date: November 21 at 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: Art Gallery of York University

The Centre for Feminist Research and Art Gallery of York University are pleased to host "Ohrni," the concluding Preview of Andil Gosine's WARDROBES, an art object and performance series that explore the intimate legacies of indentureship.  For "Ohrni," he will be joined by GAIUTRA BAHADUR author of the acclaimed new book "Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture" in a dialogue on labour, sex and home.  The event will also feature presentations of a new video and object from WARDROBES.

Attendance is strictly limited to 25 attendees, who must give advance confirming participation: cfr@yorku.ca A reception will follow.

Refugees, IDPS and Citizenship Rights: The Perils of Humanitarianism in the African Great Lakes Region

Graduate Student Round Table Conversation


Thursday, November 28, 2013

With Dr. Patricia Daley, Oxford University, UK

Many of you may be familiar with her work and this is an opportunity specifically for graduate students to engage with Dr. Patricia Daley in a small-group setting. Please see the attached poster for details.

Lunch will be provided. Space is very limited and is offered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Please RSVP to leev@yorku.ca if you will attend.

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 An Analysis of Trafficking in Persons in Guyana: Unravelling the Issues

 With Audrey Enid Benn, Visiting Scholar from the University of Guyana

 Monday, January 20, 2014, 1:00-3:00pm.

Kaneff Tower, Room 857


The precious gold metal has historically attracted a range of mining activities to Guyana’s interior, including multinational corporations as well as local businesses and individuals. But this rush has also given rise to a problem that was by and large ignored by most persons - human trafficking mainly for sex work. Many women and children are smuggled into Guyana’s interior unnoticed mainly for sexual servitude.

Using Guyana as a case study, this talk will identify the social and legal issues that hinder an accurate assessment and response to the problem. It will also focus on the basic features of human trafficking in Guyana, offer critical policy-based responses and suggest appropriate methods for limiting the problem and assisting victims.

About Audrey Enid Benn:

Benn is currently the visiting scholar at the Centre for Feminist Research and head of the Women’s Studies Unit, University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus.   For over two decades Audrey has been championing the causes of women and girls, and has been working tirelessly developing educational and empowerment programmes for disadvantaged communities.

Please send your RSVP to Vivian Lee, CFR Coordinator, at leev@yorku.ca

The event is free. Refreshments will be provided.

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LGBT Rights in India: The Naz Foundation case in the Indian courts

Panel presentation


Monday, January 27, 12:30 - 2:30 pm

Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), York University

Room 1001, 1st floor

The event is wheelchair accessible.

On December 10, 2013, the Indian Supreme Court upheld a colonial-era criminal law, Section 377 of the Penal Code, which serves to criminalize homosexuality.
The Supreme Court overturned the historic “Naz” decision of the Delhi High Court, which had struck down Section 377 in 2009. That far-reaching judgment had upheld LGBT equality under the constitution. It was hailed in India as a landmark in equality litigation, and celebrated by activists in other countries as a model for constitutional challenges.


Andrew Pinto will provide a summary of the Supreme Court 2013 Kaushal v Naz ruling. He will compare the constitutional arguments in Kaushal v Naz with those of the 2009 Delhi High Court ruling Naz Foundation v Union of India and others. Andrew Pinto is a partner at Pinto Wray James LLP.

Vivek Divan will speak about the 'back story' of the Naz case - its origins, the context within which it was filed, the strategies considered, parallel processes, and community mobilization. He will discuss the implications of this history and the judgments of 2009 and 2013. This will include an overview of critiques and debates that were generated within LGBT activism in India on the Naz petition, the opposition that formed against it, and how this led to a strengthened social movement against Section 377. Vivek Divan is Policy Specialist at the United Nations Development Programme's HIV, Health and Development Group.

Nancy Nicol will speak about the background of the Naz Foundation case against s 377 and show excerpts from her documentary in progress, "No Easy Road to Freedom,” which examines the history of the LGBT movement in relation to the 377 challenge.  Nancy Nicol is an Associate Professor in Visual Arts at York University and the Principal Investigator of Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights.

Vijaya Chikermane will address the significant ramifications of the 2009 Delhi High Court decision for the South Asian diaspora community in Toronto and responses to the ruling. In 2013, the Indian Supreme Court’s conflicting decision also evoked a strong response from the diaspora in which ASAAP was at the forefront. She will consider implications for diaspora activism on issues pertaining to home countries. Special attention is placed on how racialization impacts and influences our responses. Vijaya Chikermane is Executive Director of ASAAP: Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention.

Sponsored by: Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights; Institute for Feminist Legal Studies, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University; Osgoode OUTLaws; South Asian Law Students Association

For more information, see the website www.envisioninglgbt.com, or email envision@yorku.ca

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights is a 5-year international research and documentary film project working to advance social justice and equality for LGBT people. Envisioning is a partnership of mutual learning bringing together 31 LGBT organizations based in Africa, India, the Caribbean and Canada to research and document criminalization, resistance and flight from persecution. Envisioning is housed at the Centre for Feminist Research, York University and supported by a Community University Research Alliance Grant, SSHRC.

Panelist Bios:

Andrew Pinto is a partner at Pinto Wray James LLP, practicing in the areas of civil litigation, employment and labour, administrative and human rights law.   He has appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada, before all levels of court in Ontario and before numerous administrative tribunals. Andrew has been active in representing LGBT clients throughout his career including in Vriend (SCC decision), Jane Doe (Ont. C.A. – assisted reproduction) and Smitherman (Ont. S.C., same-sex prom date).  He is a former Board Director for the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP). Andrew has taught Administrative Law as an Adjunct Professor at the U of T Faculty of Law.  In 2011-12, Andrew was appointed by the Attorney General of Ontario to review changes made to the Ontario human rights system and author a major report. Andrew is a Governor of the Law Commission of Ontario and a member of the Osgoode South Asia Advisory council. Andrew’s parents were born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. 

Vivek Divan is Policy Specialist on Key Populations & Access to Justice at UNDP’s HIV Practice in New York. His work focuses on providing advisory and technical support on the intersections of law and human rights in the context of key populations affected by HIV. He is a lawyer from Bombay and has worked extensively on issues of LGBT people, law and human rights in India and globally. As Coordinator of Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit in India (2000-2007) he oversaw and was involved in the legal aid, advocacy, research, capacity-building and legal literacy work of the Unit. In that time he was part of the team that drafted legislation on HIV/AIDS for India and strategized campaigns and lobbying on law and human rights related to sex work and treatment access. He was centrally involved in the public interest litigation related to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, including legal research and strategy and leading extensive community mobilization around the case. He served on the Secretariat for the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and as a member of its Technical Advisory Group from 2010-12.

Nancy Nicol is a documentary filmmaker and the Principal Investigator of Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, which researches and documents LGBT rights and social movement histories. Nicol teaches video art, documentary and art and activism at York University. Her films include the documentary series From Criminality to Equality, on the history of lesbian and gay rights organizing in Canada.  Nancy is currently working on a documentary shot in India that examines queer organizing and the legal challenge to s. 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the first of the British colonial laws that criminalized ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature.’ The film's working title is No Easy Road to Freedom, and expected completion is spring 2014.   Nancy is also working on a documentary on the contemporary movement for LGBT rights in Botswana, and on a number of participatory video projects with Envisioning partners in Africa and the Caribbean.

Vijaya Chikermane has been an avid collaborator in the fields of HIV/AIDS, sexual health and gender equity in Toronto and internationally for over ten years. She is Executive Director at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre and also a Board member at Springtide Resources. Vijaya studied Political Science at the University of Waterloo and completed her MSc in Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Vijaya is involved in a number of health and equity related projects in Toronto through her participation with Community Based-Research, project advisory committees and networks. After spending the first 15 years of her life between India and Dubai, Vijaya migrated to Canada with a deep and personal investment in social equity and its intersections with race, class, gender, violence and ability.

View Event Poster: LGBT Rights in India poster

Queering Urban Justice

Seminar Series


With Che Gossett, Rio Rodriguez and Syrus Marcus Ware

York University, January 21, 2014; 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

York University 2.30-4pm, York, Faculty of Environmental Studies, HNES 140

The Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) annual Equity Seminar Series is launched this time with a panel on race, sexuality and the city. Queer of colour and other intersectional approaches are often missing from dominant accounts of the city, yet they are essential in understanding who pays for and who benefits from urban development. The speakers are activist scholars who have been part of struggles against gentrification, police violence, racism, disablism, classism and transphobia in the criminal justice system, and queer and trans of colour community building in cities like Toronto, Berlin and Philadelphia.


Che Gossett is a black gender queer and femme fabulous writer and activist. They are a contributor to Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (eds. Nat Smith and Eric Stanley) and The Transgender Studies Reader v. II (eds. Aren Azuira and Susan Stryker). This past summer they had the honor of being part of a phenomenal delegation of archivists and librarians to Palestine. They are currently working on a biography of queer Japanese American AIDS activist, Kiyoshi Kuromiya.

Río Rodríguez is a Toronto-based Latin@ queer educator who believes in the power of art and culture to empower our queer, trans and POC communities. Río is a border-crosser, hails from the Dominican Republic, and has been doing radical community-based education on everything from the prison-industrial complex, free post-secondary education to queer empowerment for over 10 years. Río has recently developed engaging curriculum for OUTWords, an award-winning 6 month long arts and leadership program for LGBTQ2SIA spectrum young people. This curriculum empowers young queer people with the tools to go far beyond simple "tolerance", and begin to understand the cultural and historical roots of homophobia and transphobia, practice self-care and self-love, and create meaningful art and expression for social change. Today, Río is a U of T Student, is hosting radical queer history tours of Toronto's Church-Wellesley village, and is also busy exploring the possibilities and limitations of queer liberation through community based urban education.

Syrus Marcus Ware is a black, disabled and queer visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth-advocate and educator. He is a prison abolitionist. Syrus worked for a few years at PASAN, and while there helped to write Responding to the Epidemic Recommendations for a Canadian Hepatitis C Strategy. He is a former member of Friends of MOVE Toronto, and is one of the organizers of Toronto’s Prisoners’ Justice Day events. Syrus is a member of the Gay/Bi Trans Men's HIV Prevention Working Group for the Ontario AIDS Bureau and one of the creators of “Primed: A Back Pocket Guide for Trans Guys and the Guys Who Dig ‘Em”, the first sexual health resource for trans MSMs in North America. Syrus’ chapter in Who's Your Daddy?: And Other Writings on Queer Parenting (Sumach Press, 2008) entitled, “Going Boldly Where Few Men Have Gone Before: One Trans Man’s Experience of Fertility Clinics” and his co-authored chapter, “How Disability Studies Stays White and What Kind of White it Stays” are part of curricula at several colleges and universities. He is currently co-editing a book chapter (with Zack Marshall) about disability, Deaf culture and trans identities in the forthcoming Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (2013).

Chair: Jin Haritaworn

Co-organizers: Ronak Ghorbani and ACE (Accessibility, Community and Equity at FES). ACE is a student-led space that was launched in 2011 to build discussion, awareness, and action around issues of equity, diversity and social and environmental justice at FES and beyond. http://aceatyorku.wordpress.com/

Co-sponsor: OPIRG York.

The venue is wheelchair accessible. Sadly we weren't successful in raising funds for ASL interpretation for this event but we are hopeful for the rest of the series.

Disputing Gender: Evolutionary Psychologists and their Feminist Critics in Public Controversies on Gender Inequalities 

Wednesday, February 12, 1:00-3:00pm

Kaneff Tower 626

Nora Ruck, Visiting Scholar from the Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology


Biological theories of gender differences have gained momentum in both the sciences and public discourse over the last two decades. Evolutionary psychology, in particular, has been so ubiquitously applied to every controversial and hot topic that it stirs debates in the cocktail circuit and academic halls alike. Ruck will analyze some of the major controversies that have revolved around evolutionary psychological gender theories in U.S. media, focusing on the main opposition between evolutionary psychologists and feminists and its media portrayal. She will reconstruct the discursive frameworks guiding these debates and contextualize them within transformations of the social order.

About Nora Ruck:

Nora Ruck is a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Feminist Research, the History and Theory of Psychology Program, and the Institute for Science and Technology Studies at York University as EC Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow. She is a psychologist specializing in the feminist critique of science.

Please send your RSVP to Vivian Lee, CFR Coordinator, at leev@yorku.ca

The event is free. Refreshments will be provided.

Troubling Territories:  Poetics, politics and the queerness of place

A lecture & dialogue on racialized geographies, visual and performance art, and activism


With Professor Katherine McKittrick, Gender Studies, Queen's University

TUESDAY 25th FEBRUARY 2014   12:45 pm - 2:30 pm

Health, Nursing, Environmental Studies Building (HNES), Room 140

York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario

Presented by  Accessibility, Community and Equity@York and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, as part of its on-going Equity Seminar Series

Prof. McKittrick will present a talk titled “ On Recursive Racial Codes and the Poetics of Black Science 

*** ASL interpretation will be provided ***

*** The venue is wheelchair accessible. ***

Professor McKittrick’s talk will be followed by responses from  Farrah Miranda (Migrant Justice activist, artist and MES candidate) and  Camille Turner , Performance Artist and Adjunct faculty, New College, University of Toronto.

This event is presented with the generous support of the Centre for Feminist Research, Graduate Program in Gender Feminist and Women's Studies, the City Institute at York University, and the Departments of Geography and Sociology.

Katherine McKittrick is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at Queen’s University. She researches and teaches in the areas of black studies, anti-colonial studies, cultural geographies and gender studies. Her research is interdisciplinary and attends to the links between epistemological narrative, social justice, and creative texts. Her forthcoming monograph, Dear Science, supported in part by a SSHRC Insight Grant, will look at the promise of science in black poetry, music, and visual art. Part of her ongoing research program is on the writings of  Sylvia Wynter. She is also editor at  Antipode.


Paul Bailey, MES Candidate, pbailey@yorku.ca

Honor Ford-Smith, FES, hoperoad@yorku.ca

Darren Patrick, PhD candidate, FES, thisisdarren@gmail.com

Women in the Niqab Speak

A Study of the Niqab in Canada


Friday, February 28, 2014; 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Executive Dining Room, Schulich School of Business, York University

This study from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women is the first study to give voice to Muslim women in Canada who wear the niqab. Conducted by Dr. Lynda Clarke and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the results are based on 129 responses to a survey, focus groups and personal interviews with women who wear the niqab.


Alia Hogben, Executive Director of Canadian Council of Muslim Women

Dr. Lynda Clarke, Associate Professor of Religion and Islam, Concordia University


Hulya Arik, PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography, York University

Roshan A. Jahangeer, PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science, York University

All are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

This event is hosted by the York Centre for Asian Research and the Centre for Feminist Research. For more information: ycar@yorku.ca.

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Centre for Feminist Research Public Lecture Series: trans* politics, trans* materialities: producing space/time”

With reese simpkins

Tuesday, March 4 2:30 Public Lecture Vari Hall 3006

What is the relationship between trans*, politics, and the material? How do trans* embodiments produce time and space? How does trans* produce new frameworks for politics?

Situating the argument in the context of the shift from trans to trans‐/trans*, simpkins theorizes trans* outside the normative boundaries of subjectivity and identity/identification. He argues that trans* both produces and is a product of creative evolution, where individually embodied, biological processes of self‐organization at the cellular level are linked directly to self‐organizing processes at the socio‐political level. Here, trans* politics take place not in terms of identities/identification or subjectivity, but in terms of a fundamental politics of materiality that generates both space and time.

About reese simpkins:

reese simpkins is a Visiting Scholar at the CFR and in the Sexuality Studies Program. His PhD is in Political Science (York University 2012) and his book, trans* matters, trans* assemblages: becoming and politics, based on his dissertation is forthcoming. His current research project is “trans* selforganizing (autopoiesis): material embodiment and the production of space/time.”

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The U.S. Studies Program invites you to: “Perverted Justice: (Homo)Sexuality and Female Juvenile Delinquency in U.S. Popular Culture, 1920-1940″

With Anastasia Jones
6 March 2014; 11:30 am -1:00 pm
Vari Hall 2183

Anastasia Jones is a Toronto-based historian who earned her B.A. at Concordia in 2006 and her Ph.D. at Yale in 2013. In 2009, she designed a web exhibition on lesbian pulp fiction for the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. In 2010 she was a recipient of the John Money Fellowship for Scholars of Sexology at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana. Her 2013 dissertation is titled “‘She’s Like That’: Female Same-Sex Intimacy and the Growth of Modern Sexual Categories in the U.S., 1920-1940.” She is currently working with the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Berkshire Conference on Women’s History.

This event is cosponsored by the Centre for Feminist Research; the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies; the Graduate Program in History; the History Department (LAPS); and the School of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

International Women's Day Ceremonies with MP Olivia Chow

Please join the CFR and the York community at the York University International Women's Day Ceremonies tomorrow. MP Olivia Chow will be in attendance for the celebration.

The celebration will take place Thursday, March 6, from 12:30 to 2:30pm in the Senate Chambers, 940N Ross Building, Keele campus. Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The event is co-sponsored by Osgoode Hall Law School, the Centre for Refugee Studies, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode, the School of Public Policy & Administration, McLaughlin College, the Centre for Human   Rights, the Department of Political Science, York Centre for Public Policy & Law and the York Centre for Feminist Research.

To RSVP, contact Lorraine Myrie at 416-736-2100 ext. 33825 or lmyrie@yorku.ca.

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Health, Disablement, Environmental Racism and State Violence 

ACE Seminar Series event


Everyone is welcome!

Date: March 11th

Time:  2:30-4:00pm

Location: Room 140, Health, Nursing, Environmental Studies Building (HNES)

Disability is rarely treated as an important issue in environmental studies. Yet, resource extraction and other forms of environmental violence are clearly disabling. They must further be understood in conjunction with settler colonialism and imperialism, and the regimes of exploitation and dispossession that have arisen in their architectures. This seminar places into conversation key themes including health, disability, disablement, environmental racism, state violence and reproductive justice.


Kim Abis, Rachel Gorman, Nadia Kanani and Krysta Williams

Kim Abis is a member of the Revolutionary Student Movement. Kim will discuss disaster imperialism, climate injustice, as well as disablement and anti-imperialist/anti-capitalist responses in the context of Philippines.

Rachel Gorman is an Assistant Professor in the Critical Disability Studies program at York. Rachel will discuss mental health campaigns, climates of distress, and paramilitary terror.

Krysta Williams is the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Krysta will discuss the Native Youth Sexual Health Network's organizing around Line 9, environmental violence, and reproductive justice.

Nadia Kanani is a student in the graduate program in Gender, Feminist and Women's Studies, and community organizer. Nadia will introduce the panel conversation and will discuss state violence, histories of migrant labour and disablement.

Opening prayer by Laureen Blu Waters

Chair: Jin Haritaworn (FES)

Organizers: Nadia Kanani and Accessibility, Community and Equity (ACE)

Sponsored by: CUPE 3903 and the York University Accessibility Fund.

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Accessible and gender neutral washrooms are located on the same floor.
ASL interpretation will be provided.

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Koerner Speaker Series in Neotropical Conservation

With Noel Sturgeon, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Featuring Judy Baca in association with the York University’s Community Arts Practice

Join us for an evening discussion on “Excavating Land and Memory through Public Art” with Judy Baca, world renowned moralist

Tuesday, March 18, 2014; 6:00- 8:00 p.m.

Robert McEwan Auditorium, Schulich School of Business

York University, 4700 Keele Street

RSVP by March 4, 2014

You can rsvp to fes.yorku.ca/koerner or visit

Reception to follow the lecture

If you are not already familiar with the work of Judy Baca, I excerpt this excellent summary of her approach:

"Baca is at the top of a distinguished list of artist creators.  What sets her apart from many other artists is an inspired ability to teach and a creative pursuit of relevancy in developing educational and community based art methodologies. Through a lifetime of achievement, Baca has stood for art in service of equity for all people.  She is a lesson for us on the integration of one’s ethics with creative expression, never compromising and never flagging in her devotion to a practice that is committed to public education for all and to pedagogical process for its participants."

"Baca is a world-renowned painter and muralist, community arts pioneer, scholar and educator who has been teaching art in the UC system for over 28 years (15 years at UCLA Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies). She was the founder of the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into a community arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) which was has been creating sites of public memory since 1976. She continues to serve as its artistic director and focuses her creative energy in the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab, employing digital technology to co-create collaborative mural designs."

For more information on Baca, see www.judybaca.com.

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Professor Prem Misir’s International Book Tour 2014

HIV and AIDS Knowledge and Stigma in Guyana

Sponsored by York University in collaboration with Sexuality Studies Program and Centre for Feminist Research

Tuesday, March 25, 2:30 – 4:30 pm

Founders College, Room 305, York Keele Campus, Toronto

RSVP leev@yorku.ca

About the book:

This cross-sectional study used a purposive sample of 379 high school students from fifteen urban and rural high schools in Guyana and assessed their HIV and AIDS knowledge and stigma-related attitudes, and the relationships among gender, age, religion, and race/ethnicity and HIV and AIDS knowledge. Most of the high school students displayed an overall moderate level of HIV and AIDS knowledge. The students understood the modes of HIV transmission; they recognized the symptoms of HIV and AIDS; nearly half of them believed that a blood donor was at risk of contracting HIV; and about one-fifth of the students embraced myths and misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS.
There was no statistically significant difference in the knowledge scores of male and  female students. Knowledge scores, nevertheless, differed significantly between the 13 to 15 and 16 to 18 age groups, and among the religious and ethnic groups.

Stigma-related attitude scores did not differ significantly for gender and age, but differed significantly for religion and ethnicity among students. The study showed fissures in HIV/AIDS knowledge and substantial stigma-related attitudes. Limited understanding of the myths and misconceptions of HIV and AIDS demands a new focus on how HIV is not transmitted through moving beyond conventional

About the author:

Professor Prem Misir is the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, and Professor in Public Health at the University of Central Lancashire in England. In addition, he is with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Guyana, teaching Research Methodology and Biostatistics. He was also Visiting Professor at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and Anton de Kom University of Suriname.

Professor Prem Misir is the holder of the Ph.D (University of Hull, England); MPH (University of Manchester, England); M.Phil (University of Surrey, England); and B.S.Sc. (Honours) (Queen’s University of Belfast, United Kingdom); FRSPH and Postdoctoral program in Public Health (Columbia University, New York).

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The Inhabitance of Loss: A Transnational Feminist Dialogue on Memorialization

Centre for Refugee Studies & Centre for Feminist Research invites you to join us on THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014 - 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  519 Kaneff Tower, York University

With Alison Crosby, Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University & Malathi de Alwis, Independent Scholar, Open University, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Ena Dua, Director, Centre for Feminist Research
Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University

In this talk, de Alwis and Crosby discuss the beginnings of a new collaborative research project that uses a transnational feminist lens to examine memorialization practices in Sri Lanka and Guatemala. Both countries have endured decades of armed conflict that have had and will continue to have devastating effects on generations. How these wars are remembered and memorialized—through such devices as memorials, monuments, tombstones, archives, photographs, murals and art installations—are sites of constant contestation and anxiety. Memorialization practices are embedded in postwar relationships between and among individuals, communities and the state that are fraught and fractured, and laced with grief and anger about the lived experiences of violence and loss, victory and defeat. The talk will explore how memorialization practices present an opportunity for survivors to (re)inhabit loss, and to mobilize grief to create new forms of political community within and across national borders.

This event is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

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Trans Toronto: Reflections on the Practice of Oral History


With Dr. Darryl B. Hill

Co-Sponsored by the Department of Psychology and the Centre for Feminist Research

Friday, March 28th; 10:00 am

BSB 163, York University

Traditional oral history is a method that records life stories, told by the storyteller in their own words. More modern oral historians often use theory and perspective to interpret the life stories, framed by cultural and historical context, and sensitive to the needs of narrators, often taking precautions to avoid misrepresentation and exploitation. It is difficult to authentically represent the complexity of a person’s life, but oral history promises to capture complexity and paradoxes in life, providing psychologically valuable and interesting data, especially for those who are oppressed or marginalized in society. Feminist oral histories, for instance, collect stories on gender with an eye toward those who are disadvantaged by gender. This paper reflects on the potentials and problems of feminist oral history practice in a study with Toronto’s trans community called Trans Toronto: An Oral History (Hill, 2012). The focus will be on themes related to: problems in the truth and authenticity of life stories, researcher appropriation and representation of other people’s stories, how to deal with memory and storytelling problems, and the role of new technologies in oral history. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of positions and solutions for the challenges posed by the practice of modern oral history.

Dr. Hill is a Canadian-American Associate Professor in Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York where he teaches and researches the psychology of sex and gender and the history and philosophy of psychology.

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Compromised Brides: Examining the links between Neoliberalism in India and cross-region marriages


With Reena Kukreja, Film Studies, Queen's University

Monday, April 7th; 1:00 pm-3:00 pm; 626 Kaneff Tower, York University

Bride deficit in North India from mid 1990s has led bachelors ‘source’ wives from economically marginalised provinces of India. Current scholarship in India views these non-customary ‘cross-region’ marriages as an epiphenomenon of changes in marriage practices leading to national ‘assimilation’ and caste ‘integration’. This talk will instead frame these marriages within contemporary material economy in India, in particular, the adoption of neoliberal reforms from early 1990s onwards that have created the enabling push and pull factors for these alliances. ‘Accumulation by dispossession’ under current capitalist expansion in India that includes land grabs and expropriation of agricultural land has led to large scale evictions, dispossession and displacement of rural families. Unsurprisingly, majority of cross-region brides hail from regions that have witnessed large-scale dispossession.

On the other hand, in North India, the accumulative process that involves land deals and real estate speculation has led to the emergence of land-rich caste groups of Jats and Yadavs as rural elites. These very asset-rich ‘new’ elite caste groups have, both, high rates of female deficit and high percentage of ‘sourced’ cross-region brides. The talk will argue that predatory market growth in India has led to hyper-commodification of the female body; increased their vulnerability to new forms of gender-based violence; and compromised them into ‘voluntarily’ entering into long distance non-customary marriages with North Indian men.

About the Speaker:

Reena Kukreja divides time between filmmaking and research in India and Canada. As an independent documentary film-maker, she has been making films over the last 25 years on women’s issues and child labor, amongst others. Her documentaries, over 50, have been used as tools for grassroots activism and have been also screened extensively in film festivals around the world.

Apart from filmmaking, Reena is also teaches in the Departments of Film and Media Studies at Queen’s University and in the Centre for Conflict and Peace, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Currently she is also pursuing a PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. Her present research examines the link between cross-region marriages, neoliberal capitalism and new forms of gender subordination in India.

The event is free. Refreshments will be provided.

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A Symposium in Honour of Bettina Bradbury


The symposium celebrates Bettina’s upcoming retirement and recognizes her and her students’ outstanding contributions to gender, feminist, and historical scholarship.

Thursday, April 17, 2014; 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Symposium: 305 Founders College
Luncheon: Founders Assembly Hall
York University (Keele Campus)

Please RSVP (lunch/symposium/both) to leev@yorku.ca

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