Message from the Director
Carrie A. Rentschler, Director, IGSF
Welcome to the New Year! As December turned to January, and media outlets were rolling out their rankings of the “top 10s” and “best ofs” for 2012, I began to reflect on what constituted the best of Fall 2012 for IGSF. The short answer: a lot of things!
To start with, IGSF achieved another first when we hosted and organized an international symposium in Girlhood Studies October 10-12, 2012, in honour of the first UN International Day of the Girl Child. With the support of a SSHRC Connection Grant, the Dean of Arts, several McGill departments and institutes and two research chairs, and a group of international presenters and participants, we staged a series of important conversations about the status of girls in Canada and beyond. We worked closely with the Girls Action Foundation in Montreal, where a media group at a local school produced an amazing exhibit about girls’ experience of place and identity. IGSF is proud to have hosted the exhibit this fall. Click here to learn more.
Thanks to Prof. Peta Tancred, our colleague and former Director of the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, IGSF hosted an intimate reception with renowned scholar Prof. Raewyn Connell on October 31st, who spoke with a group of gender studies scholars about her important social research on gender, masculinity and sexuality. This was a rare opportunity for some of us to meet Connell and share time with her on a short stopover in Montreal during a major international tour.
At IGSF, to build and strengthen our intellectual community we are constantly looking for new ways to contribute to key areas of debate in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. This year we created a new series of events geared toward putting graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty in dialogue about their research activity and issues of professionalization. Each month we host a social hour that draws an inter-disciplinary group of researchers into conversation about their work in gender, sexuality and feminist studies. The next social hours will be held on Tuesday February 19 and March 26, 5@7. No registration is required.
Building on informal conversations we started in our social hours, in November IGSF joined forces with IGSF’s Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Scholar, Prof. Stacy Gillis, and the U.K.-based journal Feminist Theory to host an afternoon symposium on the future of feminist theory and the process of getting published. The event featured 3 star-powered panelists: Anna Feigenbaum; Stacy Gillis; and Ann Braithwaite, followed by a talk by Queen’s University professor Myra Hird on the role of the non-human in feminist theory. There was much excitement in the air at the reception afterwards. I hope those conversations encourage more students and faculty to seek out publication opportunities in feminist theory.
This fall, IGSF continued its now annual tradition of organizing a graduate conference. This year’s conference was organized in conjunction with Studio XX and The HTMlles; a feminist digital art and new media festival on the theme “Whose Business is Risk?” Fourteen graduate scholars from New York, Turkey, Tasmania, Montreal, and other parts of Canada convened for a focused cross-disciplinary set of panels on topics ranging from AIDS activism and queer subcultural practice to gender and the financial crisis and prison abolition. I thank our presenters and our faculty chairs; McGill Professors Alanna Thain, Nathan Smith, Jon Soske, and Concordia Professor Krista Lynes for their participation.
One of the greatest pleasures of being Director of IGSF is spending time with our visiting scholars. This past fall, Stacy Gillis shared copious amounts of time with me, IGSF staff and students, as well as other scholars around campus and at other Montreal universities. In the midst of all those meetings, Prof. Gillis still found time to go to the library, give two talks, and write her next book on gender, genre and detective fiction. Her time at IGSF was productive for her and us, and we wish her the best upon her return to Newcastle University.
This spring, from March through May, visiting scholar Prof. Yvette Taylor joins us from London South Bank University in the U.K. Professor Taylor’s work spans issues of sexual citizenship, working class lesbian life, lesbian and gay parenting, queer-identified religious youth, class and gendered geographies, and educational diversity. We are excited to host such an interesting, inter-disciplinary researcher. We also look forward to exploring opportunities for research collaboration with her and her colleagues at the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research. You can hear Taylor talk about her research in IGSF’s Esquisses work-in-progress series on Wednesday March 20th. You can register here to attend.
There is always a lot of activity and planning under way at IGSF. We hope you will join us at our many events and we encourage you to follow our twitter feed (@IGSFMcGill) and Facebook page (IGSF, McGill) to stay up-to-date on the latest IGSF happenings. If you would like to support our efforts in any way, please get in contact with us info [dot] igsf [at] mcgill [dot] ca ((click here)).