Message from the CFR Director, Alison Crosby

December 2015

Dear friends, colleagues and associates of the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) at York University,

Welcome to the Centre for Feminist Research. CFR was founded in 1991, as a part of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Currently, CFR hosts more than 200 faculty and graduate Associates. CFR Associates are world-renowned scholars who continue to advance feminist research in a wide range of feminist scholarship. CFR also hosts visiting scholars, visiting post-doctoral students and visiting graduate students.

We live in a challenging time to be working on feminist issues. Racism in the post 9/11 period, the crisis within financial institutions, repeated recessions, changes in economic, immigration and refugee policies, and global conflicts continue to create significant challenge in people’s lives. In this context, intersectional feminist research is even more vital as its insights point to the impossibility of investigating such conditions without an analysis of gender, race, sexuality, ability and class. Through its interdisciplinary strengths and diverse perspectives, CFR is well positioned to advance feminist perspectives on these and many other topics. Indeed some of the recent projects, as profiled in this site, address the myriad of ways in which government policies, global recessions, racism, the changes in the post 9/11 period, immigration and refugee polices and militarisation and violence shape race, gender, sexuality, class and ableism.

As I begin my second year as Director, I would like to profoundly thank CFR coordinator Julia Pyryeskina, who started her position in September 2014 and who has been an invaluable and steadfast colleague in what was a challenging and exciting year. I would also like to acknowledge outgoing Director Professor Enakshi Dua for her tremendous work in fostering the CFR as a site of dynamic, multifaceted feminist research over the past five years, and in steering the Centre to a new five-year Charter in 2013. It is a privilege to be able to build on her work and to learn from the leadership example she set, and I look forward to having her continue to actively engage with the Centre as an Associate.

Over the past year, CFR worked with our Associates in developing research grants, raising a total of $383,026 in external funding. Congratulations to Professor Barbara Cameron for her SSHRC Connection Grant Shifting Paradigms, Enduring Legacies: Reflections on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, to Professor Jin Haritaworn for their SSHRC Insight Development Grant Marvelous Grounds: Queer of Color Imaginaries of the Toronto Gay Village, to Professors Sonia Lawrence and Ena Dua for their IDRC grant Study for Judicial Education for Family Law Professionals in Morocco, to Professor Nancy Nicol for a grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario for her project Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, and to Professor Sheila Cavanagh for her SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Transgender and Performance Ethnography.

CFR signed on to be a research partner in a successful SSHRC Partnership Grant Letter of Intent headed by Professor Carla Rice, Canada Research Chair in Care, Gender, and Relationships at the University of Guelph and Dr. Eliza Chandler, Artistic Director, Tangled Arts + Disability, entitled Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. A number of York faculty (many of whom are CFR Associates) are participating in this initiative, and CFR will serve as the York hub, coordinating faculty and graduate student participation, and providing support to knowledge mobilization activities.

We have created a new Activist Scholar at Risk program, raising $35,000 from five international organizations, as well as the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies and the Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security at Osgoode Hall Law School here at York, to bring Fahima Hashim, an internationally renowned feminist activist from Sudan, as our inaugural Visiting Scholar to CFR from April to August 2015 (see our profile in this newsletter).

As a requirement of our new Charter, we worked with the Executive to create an External Advisory Group, whose mandate is to provide input and advice to the Director on strategic planning, outreach and partnerships. The EAG was approved by the CFR Council in May 2015, and I am delighted to welcome the following inaugural members: Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London; Dr. micha cárdenas, Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington | Bothell; Dr. Paloma Mohamed, Senior Lecturer in the Faculties of Social Sciences and Health Sciences, University of Guyana; Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, Professor of Adult Education and Women's Studies at OISE/University of Toronto; Dr. Carla Rice, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Care, Gender, and Relationships in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph; and Dr. Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj, Maya K’iche’ anthropologist and journalist in Guatemala. More information about the EAG can be found on our website.

In addition to hosting several lectures, talks and workshops, we worked with our Associates to organize three main events: Professor Kamala Kempadoo’s workshop Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies Transnationally: A Caribbean-Canadian Dialogue (July 2014); Professor Barbara Cameron’s symposium Shifting Paradigms, Enduring Legacies: Reflections on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (April 2015); and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA) conference, Sovereignties and Colonialisms: Resisting Racism, Extraction and Dispossession (May 2015). The CESA conference, held in Canada for the first time, was led by Research Associates Professor Jin Haritaworn and Professor Rachel Gorman, Graduate Associate Nadia Kanani, and Professors Mona Oikawa and Sailaja Krishnamurti, in collaboration with an extensive network of deeply committed activists, scholars and community organizations who made this event possible.

A core part of our mandate is to support graduate student research and training. This year we created a Graduate Caucus to bring together our over 100 Graduate Associates. We supported a conference organized by two of our Graduate Associates, Jessica Chandrashekar and Emily Rosser, Feminisms, Structural Violence and Transitional Justice, hosted by the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security at Osgoode Hall Law School. We worked with two of our Graduate Associates, Toby Wiggins and Daria David, to develop a proposal for a Sexuality Studies Summer Institute. The Institute will seek to enhance graduate student research and training, with significant international student participation. This is a collaborative endeavour between CFR, the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies, and the Sexuality Studies program in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. We are currently in the fundraising phase for a pilot Institute, to be held in 2017.

I would like to thank our 2014-15 Executive for their invaluable support, advice and commitment: Sarah E. Barrett, Tania Das Gupta, Rachel Gorman, Michael Greyeyes, Jin Haritaworn, Sonia Lawrence, Gertrude Mianda, Jennifer Mussell, David Murray, Weronika Rogula, and Sandra Whitworth. And thanks also to our wonderful GAs, for their hard work and dedication: Morgan Bimm, Jenna Baraschuk-Modha, Laura Dickie, Shimona Hirchberg, Tiffany Pollock, Erika Standeven, Jack H. Vulpe, Ryan Watts, and Kathryn Weiser. And finally, many thanks to Chris Hendershot, who was interim coordinator in the Summer 2014 and also provided invaluable support to CFR over Fall 2014. We are privileged to be able to rely upon such an extensive network of people committed to fostering CFR as an engaged and collaborative space for feminist research in all its multifaceted and ever-transforming dimensions. We welcome your ideas and contributions as we move forward.

Research Clusters:

CFR hosts a number of research clusters. These clusters include: Discourses of Trafficking; Feminist Anti-Racist Interventions in the Academy; Feminist Cultural Production; Gender and Public Policy; Memory & Memorialization; Sexuality Studies and LGBT Activism. Information on all of these clusters – as well as a contact person – is posted on the website.

Annual Events Honouring the Work of Feminist Faculty:

Beginning in 2009, CFR has hosted an annual event that honours the work of feminist faculty at York who are close to retirement. This past year’s annual event honoured the contributions of Bettina Bradbury, who retired in July 2014, through a symposium that featured the work of her former graduate students, Kristine Alexander, Mary Anne Poutanen, Jarett Henderson, Judith Czapor, Sharon Stettner, Dan Horner and Magda Fahrni. The event was held in Founders College on April 17, 2014, and more than 120 people attended. The conference not only provided an opportunity to celebrate Professor Bradbury, but also for the participants to engage in the latest research in gender and history. The excellent quality of the papers is reflected in an anticipated publication, as they will be submitted to Histoire sociale – Social History to be published as a special issue.

Research Grants:

The Centre is currently administering a number of SSHRC and IDRC-funded research grants held by our Research and Faculty Associates, as well as an international conference fund in support of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association conference to be hosted by York University April 30-May 3, 2015. Details of research projects supported by the Centre are as follows:

Shifting Paradigms, Enduring Legacies: Reflections on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, Barbara Cameron (SSHRC Connection grant, 2015)

Transgender and Performance Ethnography, Sheila Cavanagh (SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, 2015-2017)

Marvelous Grounds: Queer of Colour Imaginaries of the Toronto Gay Village, Jin Haritaworn (SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2014-2016)

US Perspectives on Canadian Sexual Politics: Historical Case, Marc Stein (SSHRC Insight Grant, 2014-2019)

The Inhabitance of Loss: A Transnational Feminist Project on Memorialization, Alison Crosby (SSHRC Insight Grant, 2014-2019)

Study for Judicial Education for Family Law Professionals in Morocco, Sonia Lawrence and Ena Dua (International Development Research Centre, Canadian Partnerships Grant, 2014-17)

Transnational Capacity Building in Caribbean Gender and Women's Studies, Kamala Kampadoo (International Development Research Centre, Canadian Partnerships Small Grant, 2014-2015)

Women's Quests for Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Contestations, Complexities, Contradiction, Haideh Moghissi (SSHRC Connection Grant, 2013-15)

Queer Bathroom Monologues, Sheila Cavanagh (SSHRC Dissemination Grant, 2012-2014)

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, Nancy Nicol (SSHRC CURA grant, 2011-2016)

Racialization, Racism and the University, Frances Henry (SSHRC Standard Grant, 2010–2014)

Transnational Migration Trajectories of Immigrant Women Professionals in Canada, Guida Man (SSHRC Standard Grant, 2010-2014)

The past year has indeed been extremely productive. The work of the Centre is supported by committed staff and Associate members. It is through the involvement and commitment of these feminists that the Centre has been so vibrant.


Alison Crosby

Director of the Centre for Feminist Research


Director's Message January 2015