Mary McEwan Memorial Award: Past Winners

The following scholars have been honoured for their excellent dissertations:

2017 - 2018:

Dr. Nael Bhanji

Dr. Nael Bhanji is the 2018-2019 Visiting Scholar in Sexuality Studies at the Centre for Feminist Research at York University and a lecturer at Carleton University. Drawing upon critical race theory, trans studies, psychoanalysis, and affect theory, his research explores articulations of necropolitics, racialization, surveillance, and counter-terrorism within an increasingly globalized trans movement. Nael's work appears in Transgender Migrations: The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition, The Transgender Studies Reader 2, Trans Studies Quarterly 4.1, Canadian Ethnic Studies, and The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities. He is presently working on his monograph entitled “Trans Necrointimacies: Race and the Chalky Affects of Trans Memorialization.”

Dr. Bhanji's dissertation, Trans Necrointimacies: Affect, Race, and the Chalky Geopolitics of Trans Memorialization, explores the centrality of the memorialization of racialized trans death in structuring whiteness as emblematic of contemporary trans(normative) life. Taking his point of departure from the chalk outlines of dead bodies that frequently appear during rituals of trans memorialization, he analyzes how the affective circulation of racial decay and necropolitical violence—a phenomenon he has termed transnecrointimacies— is central to the securitization of both whiteness and trans-homonationalism within the nation-state. In tracing the affective worldings that occur through the spectacularization and consumption of ‘ordinary’ racialized trans death, this dissertation animates the seemingly disparate narratives of counter-terrorism and trans politics, the trans body and the terrorist body, and vigilant reactions and the vigil that re-acts ordinary violences.

Dr. Anna Rodrigues

Dr. Anna Augusto Rodrigues has a PhD in Education and a specialized graduate diploma in Language and Literacy Education, both from York University. As an interdisciplinary educator, her research interests include exploring issues of equity, diversity and inclusivity in education, researching alternative and digital literacies, and incorporating artistic practices into curriculum. Underpinning the above research is an intense commitment to social justice issues and interest in community-driven scholarship. She is also a visual artist who uses photography, digital media and collage to engage with issues of social equity. Dr. Rodrigues is currently a contract instructor at Trent University.

Pop-Up Pedagogy: Exploring Connections between Street Art, Feminist Literacy Practices and Communities investigated the potential of feminist street art to create informal spaces of learning on the streetscape while considering its pedagogical significance as a feminist literacy practice that could assist women, and those who identify as women, to participate in the shaping of community and global conversations. For this research, Dr. Rodrigues analyzed data from various sources which included interviews with feminist street artists, social media feeds, online articles and her own personal journal entries. In addition, she analyzed over 1400 images of street art she photographed over a period of five years while conducting fieldwork in Montreal and Toronto. In her dissertation, Dr. Rodrigues argues that feminist street art, as artifacts, and the actions associated with its production, can be considered a form of feminist public pedagogy that facilitates informal learning outside of traditional educational systems and also encourages women to contribute to the conversations happening in their communities, both online and in real life.

2016 - 2017:

Dr. Funké Aladejebi

Dr. Funké Aladejebi is an Assistant Professor in the Gender and Women's Studies department at Trent University. She is currently working on a manuscript titled, ‘Girl You Better Apply to Teachers’ College’: The History of Black Women Educators in Ontario, 1940s – 1980s,' which explores the importance of Black Canadian women in sustaining their communities and preserving a distinct black identity within restrictive gender and racial barriers. She has published articles in Ontario History and Education Matters. Her research interests are in oral history, the history of education in Canada, black feminist thought and transnationalism.

“Girl You Better Apply to Teachers’ College” examines the role of black women educators in Ontario from the 1940s to the 1980s. In an attempt to contribute to historical analysis on black identity, citizenship and racial difference in Canada, this dissertation investigates the ways in which black Canadian women confronted and navigated socially constructed boundaries of racial alienation, limited institutional support and inequality within Ontario school systems.

Largely using oral interviews, school board minutes, newspapers, yearbooks, and community records, “Girl You Better Apply to Teachers’ College” argues that black women educators’ sense of belonging in the professional sphere circumvented subtle and overt forms of racial and social exclusion in Ontario schools. In an effort to locate themselves within the Canadian national narrative, black female educators navigated concepts of citizenship and created a new kind of belonging that was parallel to and, at times, intersected with concepts of Canadian statehood.

Dr. Rebecca Hall

Dr. Rebecca Hall holds a PhD in Political Science from York University. She takes a feminist political economy approach to questions related to Indigenous/Canadian State relations, resource extraction, and gender-based violence, and has published peer-reviewed pieces on these topics. Hall’s research interests come out of her community work in the Northwest Territories, and she is grateful to the workers at The Native Women’s Association of the Northwest Territories and to the communities in and around Yellowknife for their teachings and their generosity. This summer, Dr. Hall will take up an appointment in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University.

Dr. Hall’s dissertation, entitled Diamonds are Forever: a decolonizing, feminist approach to diamond mining in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, takes a feminist political economy approach to the impact of the northern diamond mining industry on Indigenous women. It reveals the ways in which Dene, Métis, and Inuit women’s labours that contribute to the social reproduction of their kin and communities have been both a site of colonial restructuring towards the demands of extractive capital, and of decolonizing resistance. Woven through this analysis is an examination of the relationship between structural and embodied racialized and gendered violence. Dr. Hall argues that the gendered structural tension between the extractive regime and the reproduction of place-based social relations contributes to disproportionately high levels of embodied violence against Indigenous women in the NWT.

2015 - 2016:

Dr. Veronika Novoselova

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.

2014 - 2015:

Dr. Helene Vosters

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.

2013 - 2014

Dr. Julie Dowsett - "Feminism for Sale: Commodity Feminism, Femininity, and Subjectivity"

2012 - 2013

Dr. reese simpkins - Making Trans Multiple: Movement, Materiality, Becoming"

2011 - 2012

Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae - "(Re)Positioning Myself: Female and Black in Canada"

2010 - 2011

Dr. Lee Wing Hin (Vivian) - "I’m Not Homophobic, I’m Chinese”: Hong Kong Canadian Discourses of Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, and Multiculturalism in Same-Sex Marriage Debates, 2002-2006

2009 - 2010

Dr. Ruth KnechtelThe Mother and the Androgyne: Comparative Strategies of the New Woman

2008 - 2009

Dr. Jennifer Johnson - All's Fair in Love, War and Negotiations': Gender, Nation and Spaces of Corporate Capital at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

2006 - 2007

Dr. Sharon Beckford - (Un)recovered Persephones: The Gendered Quest for Individuation in a Selection of Literature by Black Canadian Women Writers

2005 - 2006

Dr. Madelina Sunseri - Theorizing Nationalisms: Intersections of Gender, Nation, Culture and Colonialism in the Case of Oneida’s Decolonizing Nationalist Movement

Dr. Ilya Parkins - Material Modernity: A Feminist Theory of Modern Fashion

Dr. Heather Milne - Rites of Passage: Women’s Travel Writing in Canada, 1885-1914

Dr. Angela Failler - Edible Interpretations: From Melancholy Feminisms to Mourning Anorexia

2004 - 2005

 Dr. Jacqueline Petropoulos - Women Writing Race: The Politics of Identity and Theatrical Representation in Canada during the 1980s. 

2003 - 2004

Dr. Candida Rifkind - Labours of modernity: The literary left in English Canada, 1929-1939

Dr. Carla Rice - Becoming women: Body image, identity and difference in the passage to womanhood.

2002 - 2003

Dr. Carol Ricker-Wilson - Textual Fantasies: Urban High School Women as Critics and Narrators of Popular Romance

2001 - 2002

Dr. Sherilyn MacGregor - Beyond Mothering Earth: Ecological Citizenship and the Gendered Politics of Care.

2000 - 2001

Dr. Ruth Fletcher - Post-Colonial Legal Forms: A Feminist Critique of Irish Abortion Law

1999 - 2000 

Dr. Verna Linney - The Flora Delanica: Mary Delaney and Women’s Art, Science and Friendship in Eighteenth Century England

1998 - 1999

Dr. Christine Ramsay - Masculinity and Processes of Intersubjectivity in the Films of David Cronenberg

Dr. Maja Korac - The Power of Gender in the Transition from State Socialism to Ethnic Nationalism, Militarization, and War: The Case of Post-Yugoslav States

1997 - 1998

Dr. Marietta Messmer - "I have a vice for voices": Reconstructing Emily Dickinson's Epistolary Subject Positions

1996 - 1997

Dr. Andrea O'Reilly - Ship and Harbor: Inn and Trail: Toni Morrison on Motherhood

1995 - 1996

Dr. Greg Malszecki - ‘He Shoots! He Scores!’ Metaphors of War in Sport and the Political Linguistics of Virility