In this issue: 1. Message from the Director | 2.Upcoming IGSF Events | 3. Report on Events last year | 4. Visiting Scholars | 5. Report on Sexual Diversity Studies | 6. Staffing changes | 7. Courses offered this academic year
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)).
2. Upcoming IGSF Events
Please register for events at: IGSF Events
Seminars and Special Events
A Conversation With Natalie Zemon Davis
Uneasy Boundaries and Shifting Borders in Gender and Women's Studies
Thursday, February 14th, 4-6pm, in Leacock Room 232, reception to follow
Annmarie Adams, William C. Macdonald Professor; Director, School of Architecture
Elizabeth Elbourne, History and Classical Studies
Brian Lewis, History and Classical Studies
Organized by the Department of History and Classical Studies, in collaboration with IGSF, with support from the Mini Beatty Memorial Fund
IGSF Social Hour
Tuesday, February 19th, <>5à7, at IGSF
Are you a graduate student, post-graduate, or a faculty member whose research engages with issues of gender &/ sexuality &/ feminist studies? Join us for this monthly social event. Meet other academics on campus with similar research interests over refreshments!
Off-Side: The Edgy Women Colloquium/Hors de Jeu: Colloque Edgy
Thursday, March 7th, 10:30am-3:30pm, in the ring at the Blue Cat Boxing Club, 435 Beaubien West, 4th Floor
Free and Open to the Public!
For the first time, Edgy Women invites academics, artists and other free-thinkers to participate in an afternoon of exchange in an unconventional setting. The Edgy Colloque invites featured guests into the ring of the Chat Bleu Boxing Club to lead a series of conversational, performative lectures about sport, art and gender politics. Among other presentations, competitive boxer, anti-oppression champion and genderqueer activist Janaya Khan will be discussing boxing and gendered expectations of competition. Kristin Grey/Justin Credible, a genderqueer artist and storyteller will deliver Out of Bounds, a performative lecture about sporting bodies in the media and public eye. Boxer and “theatre chick” Savoy Howe will combine her two vocational loves by performing The Flower Garden, a 10 minute performance piece about planting the seeds of female aggression. She is the head coach and owner of the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club, Canada’s only all-female and trans-positive boxing association.
The Colloquium is part of the week-long Edgy Women Festival (March 1-10). This year’s theme is Art/Gender/Sports: We live in a world that promotes a rhetorical opposition between art (sensitivity/subculture/femininity) and sports (strength/mainstream/masculinity). Let's see what happens when we mix it up! For details about the colloquium and more information about the festival, check out http://www.edgywomen.ca.
WMST 602 Colloquium
Tuesday, March 26th, 9-5 pm, at IGSF
Followed by an IGSF Social Hour (refreshments will be served)
IGSF Social Hour
Tuesday, March 26th, 5à7, at IGSF
Are you a graduate student, post-graduate, or a faculty member whose research engages with issues of gender &/ sexuality &/ feminist studies? Join us for this monthly social event. Meet other academics with similar research interests over refreshments!
Radical Formations: Sex, Race, Trans
Friday, April 12th, 4-5:30pm, in Leacock Room 232, the panel discussion will be followed by a reception sponsored by IGSF
Sharon Cowan, School of Law, University of Edinburgh
Roderick Ferguson, American Studies Department, University of Minnesota
Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law
How do social movements resist and react to new measures for legal equality? This interdisciplinary panel tackles this question by looking at resistance to intersectional state violence, the legal consciousness of transgender people, and radical formations’ potential.
Organized by Robert Leckey, Faculty of Law, in collaboration with IGSF, funded by a SSHRC Grant
IGSF’s very popular lunch-time series completes its third year with an exciting line-up for the winter term! As in the past, lunch will be provided and registration is limited and mandatory.
Jon Soske, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies, started the winter semester’s offerings off with his talk entitled The Family Romance of the South African Revolution. The IGSF seminar room was packed; the questions and discussion were lively. Register now to join us for upcoming talks:
Laura Secord and the Body of Evidence
Wednesday, February 27th, 12:30, at IGSF
Elsbeth Heaman, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Excessive Presences? Class, Gender, Sexuality and the 'Fit' to Place
Wednesday, March 20th, 12:30, at IGSF
Yvette Taylor, Professor, Social and Policy Studies, London South Bank University, UK
IGSF Visiting Scholar
3. Report on Events last year
Symposium: Girlhood Studies and the Politics of Place: New Paradigms of Research
From October 10-12th, IGSF brought together Canadian government representatives and non-profit advocates with academic researchers from Australia, Canada, and the U.S to talk about some pressing issues in the field of Girlhood Studies. Dr. Christopher Manfredi, Dean of Arts, opened the symposium with a few words of welcome. Over the course of the symposium attendees were addressed by Holly Hendershot, UN Women Canada and Sébastien Goupil, Director General, Policy and External Relations, Status of Women Canada.
The symposium also featured several internationally renowned scholars of Girlhood Studies, including McGill University’s own Claudia Mitchell, Prof. Catherine Driscoll from the University of Sydney in Australia (whose talk was supported in part through the Mini Beatty fund), Prof. Marnina Gonick, a CRC at Mount Saint Vincent University, and Prof. Sarah Banet-Weiser from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In addition to two days of panel discussions, on October 11, in recognition of the very first UN International Day of the Girl Child, IGSF hosted the event “Hearsay, Heresay, Hersay: A Photovoice Odyssey of Girl Identity” with 10-12 year old girls from the Girls’ Media Club. Using their own photographs and narratives, several members of the Club talked candidly with attendees about their work, revealing their own interpretations of place and how it shapes their experiences, relationships, and identities. The exhibit of their photographs and captions was on display at IGSF through December 15th, 2012. A report on the event by Girls Action Foundation can be found here: Girls Action Foundation e-newsletter, and photographs are available here: Girls Action Foundation photos. McGill doctoral student, Cora-Lee Conway has written a blog posting about her work with the Girls’ Media Club. It can be read here.
Photographs from the event as well as a more extensive write-up on the symposium’s activities can be found at: www.mcgill.ca/igsf/igsf-news and Facebook Girlhood photo album.
The symposium was made possible by a Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Mini Beatty Memorial Fund, the Dean of Arts Development Fund, Media@McGill, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC), the Departments of Art History and Communication Studies and English as well as Myriam Gervais, Adjunct Professor, IGSF, Dr. Claudia Mitchell, James McGill Professor on Youth, Participation, and Social Change and Dr. Carrie Rentschler, William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies.
Reception with Raewyn Connell
On Wednesday, October 31st students, faculty and friends gathered at IGSF for a Social Hour and the chance to meet and talk with Prof. Raewyn Connell, sociologist and University Chair at the University of Sydney, Australia, and renowned scholar of gender, masculinity, sexuality and class. What could have simply been an occasion to visit and chat became a rare and exceptional opportunity as Raewyn Connell spoke, sharing generously of her extensive research and study. Thanks to Prof. Peta Tancred, colleague and former Director of the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, for her work as liaison in enabling this encounter to occur.
Graduate Student Conference: Whose Business is Risk?
For the second iteration of the now annual graduate student conference IGSF collaborated with Media@McGill, The HTMlles 10 and Studio XX for what became a day-long graduate and post-graduate conference, associated with The HTMlles 10 RISKY BUSINESS feminist festival of media arts + digital culture November 10 - 18, 2012. The conference “Whose Business is Risk?” took place on November 16th and critically responded to current deployments of risk, the notion of risk society and the conceptualization of “at risk” populations, with panelists from New York, Turkey, Tasmania, Montreal and other parts of Canada. The event was a fascinating, interdisciplinary exploration of themes related to risk and business by academics, activists and artists alike. The four panels provided attendees the opportunity to review efforts to provide safer sex education in Quebec (Valerie Webber); explore the possibility for a feminist risk politic in landscape photography by Edward Burtynsky (Sabine Lebel); riffle through the shipwreck of North American capitalism in a presentation on paraphernalia by Tasmanian artist and academic Nancy Mauro-Flude; and to investigate the current realities within Canada’s prison industrial complex (Rae Rosenberg, Emily Field and Ardath Wynacht).
IGSF also took a field trip to Studio XX, where artists Zach Blas and Micha Cardenas led us in a talk and tour of some of the festival exhibits. Featured artists Lindsay MacDonald and Pamela Lamb were also in attendance and we were privileged to hear them talk about their work. The HTMlles is an international platform dedicated to the presentation of women’s, trans and gender non-conforming artists’ independent media artworks from all facets of contemporary technological creation. A more complete review of the festival can be found in the Studio XX newsletter. Photographs from the conference and gallery tour can be found on our Facebook page. Many thanks to Prof. Alanna Thain, Abi Shapiro, Media@McGill and all the staff at Studio XX and The HTMlles for their work on this collaborative event!
Public Talk and Panel Discussion: The Future of Feminist Theory
IGSF was very fortunate to be able to organize an event in collaboration with the Feminist Theory journal this fall thanks to our Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Scholar, Prof. Stacy Gillis. On November 28th graduate students, post-graduates, and faculty members were treated to a panel session on the future of publishing in feminist theory. Attendees were regaled by Prof. Anna Feigenbaum’s stories of balancing “academic hoop jumping” with creative and playful space-making; made privy to lessons learned by Prof. Stacy Gillis, self-proclaimed “feminist self-doubter and good girl”; and challenged by the “optimistic ranter” Prof. Ann Braithwaite who dished out hope along with her musings on thriving amidst temporality and transition. Part biographical reflection on career trajectories, part how-to guide for up-and-coming feminist theorists; this panel discussion was a not-to-be-missed event for graduate students at McGill. Details of Anna Feigenbaum’s presentation can be found in a post on her blog: Passion Pitchforks and Pinecones: Navigating academia in precarious times.
The panel was followed by a lecture by Myra Hird of Queens University. A “woman in love with bacteria, in the Foucaultian sense” Myra Hird took the audience on a wild romp through her own research trajectory: from differentiating between sex and reproduction, through sociology and environment studies, from the macrocosmic through to the microcosmic, and on to waste and Canadian landfills. Through all these linked and varied lines of enquiry, Hird’s recurrent affirmation was that “feminist theory gives me the most powerful tools and has asked the most provocative questions.” The barrage of questions and throngs of students that followed her talk were a clear indication that Myra Hird’s wide ranging research is timely and resonates with emerging scholars today.
Many thanks to Stacy Gillis and the Feminist Theory journal for this opportunity to explore research theory and methods with this engaging group of scholars and writers. Photos can be viewed on our Facebook page.
By Stacy Gillis, Professor, Modern and Contemporary Literature, Newcastle University, UK;
IGSF Muriel Gold Senior Visiting Scholar (Aug 15 to Dec 15, 2012)
I am writing this report on my time at IGSF now that I am back in the UK, and my general sense of my autumn term at McGill is now - particularly as I am back into the throes of the semester - one of bliss! It is increasingly difficult to find time for sustained research in an academic career, as the exigencies of audit culture creep into all facets of the job. So to be able to spend time away from one's institution, and to have access to a really great library, is, in many ways, a gift. The bonus of being at IGSF is that it has such a welcoming and supportive atmosphere - to find a space in which everyone is genuinely interested in helping one spend time reading, thinking and writing, is truly exceptional. Whilst at IGSF, I was bringing together a number of years' research on the rise of the British detective novel, and turning this into a monograph. There is a corner of the Arts and Architecture library to which this project owes a great deal - perhaps the icy wind in northeastern England is colouring this, but the hours I spent in that corner reading and writing seem to be imbued with sunshine and warmth.
While at IGSF, I was privileged to give two papers - one as part of the Esquisses series and I am very grateful to all who attended and for their feedback on my project. I also helped to organise The Future of Feminist Theory event (sponsored by the Feminist Theory journal, on which Editorial Board I sit), and gave a paper, about the feminist good girl and the feminist self-doubter as part of that day. I found the audience for this to also be receptive and engaged - and on a snowy November day, it was heartening to see the number of people who turned out. This is, in part, owing to the superb organisation by IGSF - with special thanks to Carrie, Wilson and Caili. I have left IGSF with a taste for Prosecco and the wish for future collaboration - and a renewed passion for my project.
5. Report on Sexual Diversity Studies
By Dr. Lucas Crawford, Course Lecturer for SDST 250: Introduction to Sexual Diversity Studies (Fall 2012), Post-Doctoral Scholar, IGSF and Architecture
It was my great pleasure to teach IGSF’s core course for Sexual Diversity Studies in the Fall term (SDST 250). This semester took us from classic authors of queer theory such as Foucault and Butler to the leading edge of new subfields such as queer disability studies, fat theory, and rural-focused studies of sexuality. In between, our imaginations stopped in Times Square to consider the history of public sex, went to the Catacombs in San Francisco for BDSM parties, and visited transgender kink spaces of the 1990s. Throughout our journey, we scrutinized many cultural texts, including songs and videos. When blasted in our home in the Engineering Building, these tunes often drew engineering students to the back of the room to listen. (In fact, they sometimes snuck in the back to listen to our queer conversations too!)
This group of one hundred and thirty-five students delighted me at every turn. The group was incredibly verbose for a group of this size; sessions often included vigorous discussion, productive confusion, and a good number of hearty laughs to accompany our serious thinking of difficult topics. A particularly spirited group of students even offered us a drag number one day. We had visits from local genderqueer performance artists, and we also headed over to Concordia to take in the Montreal premiere of a fantastic new documentary about AIDS activist group ACT-UP. Students were spotted far from campus at queer performance events, volunteering for feminist and queer organizations, and otherwise reaching out. Many students shared their new understandings with many people in their lives; several students even reported a sharp increase in gender-related roommate arguments! I appreciated the students’ commitment to animating our course materials in their everyday lives.
We were lucky to have highly capable teaching assistants to help us along. Rachel Sandwell and Julie Moreau deserve many thanks for their adept mentorship of students and their work. The students and I wish you luck as you continue with your doctoral research.
Many students identified their desire for the possibility to major in Sexual Diversity Studies. Others indicated special interest in some of the topics we discussed (such as butch-femme gender and transgender) and expressed a desire to take full courses on these topics. Our class ranged from first-year students to fourth-year Honours students. This was a ripe situation for cross-cohort support and talk – though students also identified the creation of a 400-level SDST seminar as a possible next step for senior students. This enthusiasm assures me that SDST has a thriving future at McGill.
I am incredibly proud of this group. Many times we discussed the necessity and difficulty of allowing ourselves to become unsettled and even uncomfortable. These students pushed themselves and became vulnerable to new ideas and ways of life. They continually reminded me of how exciting it can be to open oneself to new queer thought.
There are no staffing changes at IGSF – for which we are all extremely grateful: a little stability is a welcome change!
Courses offered this academic year
Our teaching programs offer students an exciting array of undergraduate and graduate courses, including a new offering, “Theorizing Women’s Studies” being taught by Prof. Groeneveld this semester. Peruse the list of courses below, and if you have any interest, please let us know!
WMST 302 ‘Gender and Disability’ Prof. Yolanda Munoz
WMST 303 ‘Feminist Theory and Research’ Prof. Elizabeth Groeneveld
WMST 402 ‘Theorizing Women’s Studies’ Prof. Elizabeth Groeneveld
WMST 495D1&D2 ‘Women’s Studies Honours/Joint Honours Colloquium’ Prof. Elizabeth Groeneveld
WMST 602 ‘Feminist Research Symposium’ Prof. Elizabeth Groeneveld
Our mailing address is: McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF) | 2nd floor, 3487 Peel Street | Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W7 | Tel.: 514-398-3911 | Fax: 514-398-3986
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