Trans Studies Conference 2018 Keynotes

Keynote SpeakersDr. Jin Haritaworn and Gwen Benaway

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The Centre for Feminist Research Presents:
TRANS MATTERS Interdisciplinary Trans Studies Graduate Student Conference Keynote Lecture

Marvellous grounds:
Remembering futures where we might survive

Dr. Jin Haritaworn

Date: June 21, 2018
Time: 12:15-1:45PM
Location: OISE Library, 1st floor, 252 Bloor St West

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As the longer history of murders of trans women and cis-men in and around the Church-Wellesley village, many of whom were people of colour, hits the mainstream news, these questions once again arise: Whose lives are worth missing? Whose disappearances from spaces imagined as gay or LGBT are worth reporting and investigating? How are notions of innocence and violence, and horizons of redress and transformation, complicated when the perpetrator is both a gay man associated with the degenerate/regenerating urban space of the “gay village,” and a white cis-man whom dominant voices in the village, and to some extent the media and police, register as “one of us”? And how do our activist scholarly practices of archiving, curating and programming serve to unmap or reinscribe these practices?

This talk draws on the work of the Marvellous Grounds collective (Choi ed 2017, Haritaworn, Moussa, Ware and Rodriguez forthcoming, Haritaworn, Moussa and Ware forthcoming, Kaur Panag and Rodriguez eds 2016), a queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour mapping and archiving project coming out of York University. In this archive, the successful territorialization of the “gay village” becomes apparent as an effect of a carceral city that is not only neoliberal, but also racial and colonial, and that treats low-income trans women of colour in particular as excessive. To queer urban justice in a lethal environment that is fluent in the languages of diversity, and to prefigure futures that go beyond these murderous inclusions, means to remember differently, and to step into the unfinished legacies of those who are rarely missed, and whose removal has been constitutive of urban and academic spaces designated “gay,” “LGBT” and, increasingly, “trans”.


Choi, Alvis (ed) (2017), Bodies as Archives: QTBIPOC Art and Performance in Toronto, issue 2, UTP:

Kaur Panag, Amandeep and Rodriguez, Rio (eds) (2016), QTBIPOC Space – Remapping Belonging in Toronto, issue 1, UTP:

Haritaworn, Jin, Kaur Panag, Amandeep, Moussa, Ghaida, Rodriguez, Rio and Ware, Syrus Marcus (2016), in Lorinc, John et al (eds), “Marvellous Grounds: QTBIPOC counter-archiving against imperfect erasures,” Any Other Way, Toronto: Coach House Books.

Haritaworn, Jin, Moussa, Ghaida and Ware, Syrus Marcus, with Rodriguez, Rio (eds) (forthcoming), Queering Urban Justice, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Haritaworn, Jin, Moussa, Ghaida and Ware, Syrus Marcus (eds) (forthcoming), Marvellous Grounds, Toronto: Between the Lines.

Dr. Jin Haritaworn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Jin locates their research and teaching in a tradition of activist scholarship. In this tradition, we attempt to put our energies and resources in service of the communities we are allied to. We seek to divest from the competitive, hierarchical, individualistic and exploitative values of the neoliberal University, while also sharing tools to survive and build community in it.

Jin’s research deals with landscapes that are shaped by racial and colonial capitalism. There, celebration and incorporation exist alongside pathologization and criminalization. For example, in their first two books, Ambivalent Desires and Queer Lovers and Hateful Others, Jin explores the new desirability of certain mixed-race and LGBT subjects in a context of war on terror and the neoliberal city in London and Berlin.

Jin’s research has received several awards, including the York University Research Leader Award, the Early Researcher Award, a SSHRC IDG, an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship and a University of California Humanities Research Institute fellowship.
Faculty profile: 

The Centre for Feminist Research Presents:
TRANS MATTERS Interdisciplinary Trans Studies Graduate Student Conference Keynote Lecture

Holy Wild

Gwen Benaway

Date: June 22, 2018
Time: 11AM-12:30PM
Location: OISE Library, 1st floor, 252 Bloor St West

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Holy Wild is a critical reflection on the embodied experience of Indigenous Queer and Trans subjects. Drawing on critical Indigenous and Trans scholarship, Holy Wild explores the contradictions, complexities, and impossibilities of being Indigenous, Trans, and Queer. I argue that mainstream Western Queerness is an extension of the colonial project, rooted in colonial thought and transmisogyny. Liberation for Indigenous and Trans subjects cannot arise from Queerness without a sustained engagement with the colonial past as well as the sexual economies of Queer desire. Using Indigenous storytelling and worldview, I interrogate the ways that Queerness does not hold Indigenous and trans experiences in their fullness. Holy Wild is a theoretical rupture of generative resistance. Unwilling to perform apology nor productiveness, this talk is intended to challenge the non-Indigenous Queer subject to a dialogue with their colonial depression.

Gwen Benaway is a trans girl poet of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published two collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead and Passage, and her third collection, Holy Wild, is forthcoming from BookThug in 2018. She has been described as the spiritual love child of Tomson Highway and Anne Sexton. She has received many distinctions and awards, including the Dayne Ogilvie Honour of Distinction for Emerging Queer Authors from the Writer's Trust of Canada. Her poetry and essays have been published in national publications and anthologies, including The Globe and Mail, Maclean's Magazine, CBC Arts, and many others.