Abstracts and Biographies of Participants

Abstracts and bios reflect the language in which the participant is presenting in. The conference will be passible bilingual and French and English translators will be on hand to facilitate questions.

Les descriptions et biographies des participants ont reflecté leur languge. Le colloque va être bilingue satisfaisante avec Français et Anglais traducteurs disponibles pour les questions. 

Information on the Keynote Speakers/Informations sur les Conférenciers

Keynote: Beth Coleman, Waterloo University 

Title: Always Crashing in the Same Car: Privacy, Precarity, and Resistance

Abstract: In an age of digital computing, big data, and the concomitant threat of a surveillance society, how do we understand the citizen's "right to the city" and how is that right manifested? This talk frames ideas of privacy, precarity and resistance with an analysis of civic big data systems in relation to "small data" knowledge of activist interventions. Instead of citizens increasingly seeing themselves as the object of state surveillance or instrumentalized as data sources, this talk investigates alternative models of 21st century citizenship.

Bio: Beth Coleman is Associate Professor of Experimental Digital Media at the University of Waterloo where she directs the City as Platform Lab and is an executive committee member of the Games Institute. Coleman's research addresses networked media technology and new data publics, focusing on Smart City, IoT, and Smart Citizens initiatives. Her book Hello Avatar is published by the MIT Press.

Keynote: Amalia Ulman, Artist

Title: Privilege

Bio: Amalia Ulman is an Argentinian born Spanish artist. As an artist, she works across mediums, including poetry, graphic design, video, iOS mobile uploads, painting, and installation. Raised in Spain, she graduated in 2011 from Central Saint Martins in London. Her work deals with issues of class, gender, and sexuality. In 2014 Amalia Ulman started "Excellences & Perfections," a four month durational performance taking place directly on her personal Instagram. In "Excellences & Perfections" Amalia Ulman fabricated a fictional character whose story unfolded in three different episodes. The three different episodes was acting as a cute girl, then as a sugar babe, then as a life goddess (fashion and style blogger). In 2016 "Excellences and Perfections" was selected to be included in the group exhibition, "Performing for the Camera" curated by Simon Baker at Tate Modern, London. Through Amalia Ulman's Instagram-based project "Excellences and Perfections", social media is examined in the art historical context of photographic performance.


Information on Conference Presenters (Listed Alphabetically by Presenter’s Last Name/Les résumés et biographies de les participants en ordre alphabétique de non de famille)

Presenter: Antonopoulos, Alexander
Title: Patronymic border crossings: Reflections on Greek-Canadian identity, transmasculine IDs and time travel, 1955-2015

Abstract: Disrupting “pharmaco-pornographic” webs of soft, gelatinous, biomolecular technologies of the body and digital information technologies of surveillance that ensure bio-political control and normalization of transsexual bodies and IDs, I offer my techno-living body as bio-political archive that displaces the patronymic logics of identity. My personal trajectory of immigration, naturalization, and transition, 1955-2015, exposes the risks, challenges, bureaucratic dilemmas, that occur while attempting to live the sex-political status of Greek-Canadian transmasculinity on my own terms.

Bio: Alex Antonopoulos is a Greek born, Canadian trans man, teaching courses in Women's Studies, Sexuality Studies, and Philosophy at Concordia University in the departments of Philosophy, Political Science and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute. Current work in progress includes revising the interdisciplinary doctoral thesis on gender, hearth culture and the ancient patriarchal cult of the dead under the title The Biopolitics of Patriarchal Life: An Ancient Greek Genealogy. He is editor with Mark Roberts of the anthology High Culture: Reflections on Addiction and Modernity (SUNY Press, 2003).

Presenter: Bailey, Carolyn
Title: “The Space of Refusal: Hito Steyerl’s How Not to be Seen

Abstract: If the digital realm is now all encompassing, how does one go ‘offline’ in the age of the virtual? This paper reflects on the failed premise of the Internet offering a safe haven for feminism, radical activism and other marginalized communities, instead becoming co-opted by the very power structures it promised to subvert. The idea of digital resistance is explored a close reading of Hito Steyerl’s How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File (2013), an instructional film on how to avoid recognition in the era of digital surveillance. Reflecting on the contemporary status of the individual under global surveillance and communications technologies, Steyerl’s work conceptualizes the digital media landscape as an instrumental tool in shaping both individual and mass subjectivity.

Bio: Carolyn Bailey is an MA candidate in Cultural Studies at McGill University. Her research focuses on performance theory, film & new media, architecture and digital technology. Additionally, she has researched with both the Moving Image Research Laboratory at McGill University and the Senselab at Concordia University.

Presenter: Barnett, Chelsea
Title: Imaging The Faulty Rape Victim: An Autoethnographic Viewing of Emma Sulkowitcz?s Ceci N'est Pas Un Viol

Abstract: In a harrowing conclusion to her renowned performance piece, Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), emerging artist and sexual violence advocate Emma Sulkowicz produced an eight minute self published video and accompanying text based website entitled Ceci n'est pas un viol (2015). Mirroring the description of Sulkowicz's own experience of rape, the video depicts a sexual interaction that begins as consensual, but subsequently foments into an image of violent assault. This paper suggests that by using the aesthetic of security footage in her video, Sulkowicz provides an institutional critique that draws attention to the power of the university to surveil and regulate its students, especially those living in university housing, and the simultaneous failed promise of surveillance to protect the students it monitors.

Bio: Chelsea Barnett’s master’s research combined phenomenology of the image with autoethnographic methodologies to synthesize a theoretical approach to sensory understandings of the visual culture of sexual violence and rape. Her work attempts to bridge the epistemological gap between emotional responses to and critical appraisals of video art practice. Outside of her studies, Chelsea is engaged in the sexual assault support network. She presently works for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Presenter: Belmer, Stephanie
Title: “Surveillance as Love Story: Intimate Exposures in Jill Magid’s ‘Evidence Locker’”

Abstract: The artist Jill Magid has made a practice of infiltrating systems of power. From the Dutch Secret Service to the US Army to the Liverpool Police, Magid’s infiltrations are complex seductions, each system eventually exposing itself to her in a most intimate, human form. While many have placed Magid’s artistic subversions within a tradition of institutional critique, I argue in this paper that the elements of intimacy, desire, vulnerability, seduction, and romance in Magid’s work complicate any such positioning. As she puts it in one of the letters forming part of her work “Evidence Locker:” “I did not critique your system; I made love to it.” This paper asks how such a ‘love story’ – in the case of “Evidence Locker” between a woman artist and a set of male CCTV observers – acts as a subversive gesture that does not fit within traditional forms of ‘critique’. “Evidence Locker,” more than a critical interrogation of security systems, turns a space of surveillance into a stage for intimate negotiations between the private and the public, the visible and the invisible, the displayed and the withheld.

Bio: Stephanie Belmer holds a Master’s Degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art and recently completed a PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University. She currently teaches at Vanier College in the Humanities and Philosophy Departments.

Presenter: Coding Rights (Felizi, Natasha + Shirawaka, Fernanda) 

Title: Workshop

Abstract: Since the leaks of nudes and numerous cases of revenge porn started to become everyday news, we've witnessed all kinds of narratives about it. The vast majority of them are paternalistic, patronizing pieces that ultimately state that sending nudes is irresponsible and unsafe. In this workshop, we will try to confront this narrative and introduce the "Send Nudes!" project, a guide to digital security for sharing intimate images that does not base itself on slutshaming, but on a pro-sex attitude. This project aimed to call the attention to how learning to send nudes through the internet in a safer way can be a practice of self-determination for us as sexual bodies and internet users. More than protection, we need to spread knowledge about daily practices and actions that can work towards shifting perspectives about gender roles and digital rights. This proposal uses a fun approach to spread the word about digital security practices. We are aiming especially towards that can be moreeasily targeted for digital harassment due to gender and sexuality. The workshop proposes a flash Digital Security training of one hour that will follow the techniques and tools presented in the zine "Sexy guide to Digital Security". Some topics that will be addressed: main vulnerabilities when we use the internet and share digital files; what is metadata and why we should care about it; what is cryptography and how can we protect our devices; how to use multiple identities and get anonymous; and examples of anonymous sensual bodies and pos-porn aesthetics.

Bio: Fernanda Shirakawa is a designer that develops online communication projects and web programming fopr activism campaigns since 2008. Highly interested in research about infoactivism, cyberfeminisn and women empowerment through technology, she works with Escola de Ativismo and participates in projects such as MariaLab hackerspace and Coding Rights.

Natasha Felizi has a literature background, but has always worked in the intersection between technology and arts. She worked as the local editor of The Creators Project in Brazil and helped to organize several events such as Festival CulturaDigital.Br, Electronika fest, and Arte.Mov. She currently develops and coordinates projects regarding gender, technology, activism and surveillance at Coding Rights and other organizations.

Presenter: Dodge, Alexandra
Title: The Digital Witness: The Role of Digital Evidence in Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Violence

Abstract: Sexual violence victims’ histories and post-assault behaviours have long been used against them within the criminal justice (CJ) process. However, this issue must now be understood within a digital world wherein records of victims’ online and digital interactions may be particularly useful tools for shaming and blaming victims and invalidating their complaints. While the existence of digital evidence has allowed for sexual violence to come to the surface at times when it would have otherwise been ignored, victims of sexual violence have also had digital evidence used against them within the CJ system. For example, CJ officials often misconstrue common online phrases to invalidate victims’ complaints or utilize evidence of online sexual expression to blame and shame victims. My conference presentation will analyze how the issue of digital evidence is affecting CJ responses to sexual violence and variously reasserting and challenging modes of victim blaming.

Bio: Alexa Dodge is a PhD student in the Legal Studies program at Carleton University. She is presently researching legal and extra-legal responses to online sexual violence (such as non-consensual intimate image sharing). She is interested in how these responses both reassert and challenge traditional responses to sexual violence. Her article “Digitizing rape culture: Online sexual violence and the power of the digital photograph” was recently published in Crime, Media, Culture.

Presenters: Driver, Susan & Zoë Newman
Title: Talk Intimately/Intimacy to Me

Abstract: We offer a queer feminist dialogue on the complexities of sexual intimacy within our hypermediated digital times. Engaging with the emotional and affective impacts of shifting relational contexts and technologies, we ask each other a series of questions about a range of interwoven issues including sexting, polyamory, loneliness, privacy, kinky networked publics, mediated attachments, selfhood, feminist porn, and neoliberal constructions of sexiness. Whereas disciplinary knowledges separate issues such as online privacy and bodily desire, our approach is to explore their messy imbrications. And just as institutionalized knowledge production imagines authorship by individual, rational subjects, our approach insists on relationality and vulnerability. Framed through the ongoing emotional and intellectual engagements of our friendship, we enact criticality through a conversation based on caring, intimacy, and reflexive learning, in the hopes of offering one another comfort and companionship, while insisting on new modes of the sexual and the emotional, and self and other.

Bios: Susan Driver is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies at York university.  Her work is on youth, media, affect, and digital cultures.  She has published books on youth and popular culture including Queer Youth Cultures, Queer Girls and Popular Culture, and also co-edited a collection on politics, art and cultural practices titled Engaging Affects/Thinking Feelings.

Zoë Newman’s research and teaching investigate places where constructions of gender, race, and sexuality shape each other and meet up with ideas about citizenship, neoliberalism, and public space. She is engaged in ongoing work on public celebrations like Pride and Caribana/Carnival and the multiple and ambivalent meanings of spectacle. Her most recent publication is “The Spectacle of Public Sex(uality): Media and State Surveillance of Gay Men in Toronto in the 1970s,” a chapter in Expanding the Gaze: Gender and the Politics of Surveillance, edited by Emily van der Meulen and Robert Heynen.

Presenter: Grebmeier Forget, Nadège 

Title: Performing social media: About--Hier est Aujourd’hui

Abstract: My art practice generally provokes a reflection on the act of looking's implicit consumption and the power dynamics within which the gaze operates. Characterized by a preoccupation with re-appropriation and actively exploring the role of documentation and digital technologies in mediating access to my performing body. --Hier est Aujourd’hui. continues this research on ways of mirroring and blurring fiction with intimacy. Produced as a performative exhibition for the artist run center VU (Qc) and presented as part of the Mois Multi Festival, this durational performance of the self unfolded from February 11 to March 13, 2016 following the opening hours its venue (12pm-5pm, Wednesday-Saturday). During the course of this time, approximately 120- hours of Livestream video was visible within the space of gallery and over 1,800 images were produced and posted simultaneously, to every action, taking its course online via Instagram (#mirrorspapillon).

Bio: Actively engaged in Montreal's visual and live art community as an interdisciplinary artist, project coordinator and curator, Nadège Grebmeier Forget has organized and participated in numerous events, festivals, panels, residencies and exhibitions in Canada and Europe. Daughter of a runner-up 1950s California Beauty Queen, she is mainly recognized for her intimate, baroque and decadent performances. Amongst others, her work has most recently been exhibited at: Musée régional de Rimouski, au Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, à VU - Centre de Diffusion et de production de la photographie, à la Maison des Arts de Laval, à la galerie She Works Flexible (Huston, TX), à la Friche la Belle de Mai (Marseille, FR) et au centre d’art Mains d’Œuvres (Saint-Ouen, FR). Upcoming events in Montreal include: a durational performance at CIRCA art actuel, a solo exhibition at Espace Projet and a group show at Optica.

Presenter: Hoffmann, Anna Lauren
Title: Data, Tech, and Trans Lives: Towards a Conception of 'Data Violence'

Abstract: The experiences of trans people and other gender minorities challenge our understandings of “big data,” gender, and technology in important ways. In particular, they lay bare the limits of rigid or fixed categories for capturing fluid or multifaceted identities, urging further examinations into the ways data subjects are constrained by biases and assumptions in scientific and technological development. In addition, they challenge conventional ideas around privacy and anonymity, as many trans people are forced to disclose their trans status by information systems and processes that seem to have few privacy implications for other groups. To account for these challenges, the author draws on work in information ethics, privacy theory, and critical trans politics to articulate a conception of “data violence” that captures the harm inflicted on trans people and other gender minorities by not only by state-run systems, but by the many information systems that permeate our everyday social lives.

Bio: I am a trans woman and scholar working at the intersections of data, technology, culture, and ethics. My research considers the ways in which the design and use of information technology can promote or hinder the pursuit of important human values like respect and justice. In particular, I am interested in how the standards and categories imposed on the world by informational and technological systems can discriminate by supporting the development of self-respect for some and hindering its development for others. In addition, I employ discourse analysis to explore the values and biases that underwrite understandings of technology, privacy, and ethics as promoted by various stakeholders.

Presenter: Karaian, Lara
Title: Mind Fuck: Revenge Porn as Privacy Violation or Virtual Rape?

Abstract: What are we to make of the increasingly common claim that “revenge porn”—the non-consensual redistribution of once private sexts—constitutes a privacy violation that is experienced as “virtual rape”? In an effort to answer this question I first map how individuals, the media, anti-RP advocates, and legal scholars frame revenge porn as virtual rape. I then examine the ontology of virtual rape in relation to two privacy tort cases that address revenge porn: Wood v. Hustler (1985) and Doe v. ND (2016). Drawing on feminist, queer and cultural posthumanist theories of embodiment and sexuality; porn studies; affect theory; communication and technology studies; and, legal scholarship I analyze how cyber sex/ual assault constitute a "mind fuck" with implications for sexual assault law and the creep of carceral culture into our intimate relations. (Revised, 132 words)

Bio: Lara Karaian is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University. Her research interests include the pursuit of a positive theory of pleasure and sexuality in law; critical gender, race, and sexualities theory; critical and cultural criminology; and transformative justice; civil, criminal and constitutional law. Her recent Social Science and Humanities Research Council funded project examines how crime prevention and public education efforts simultaneously produce teenage sexting and sexters as objects of thought and as sites of social and legal regulation.

Presenter: Loader, Alison
Title: Public Sights and Private Dirt: Viewing Women and the Splendid Camera Obscura

Abstract: In early histories of spectacle and surveillance, women are generally relegated to positions on view, sometimes in the audience, but rarely, if ever, where they control the scene. Yet my archival study of the splendid cameras obscura of nineteenth century Edinburgh reveals women at the helm of an optical device that is itself marginalized in studies of old media. Accounts of the camera obscura abstract its countless sizes and configurations, presenting technical and discursive histories that ignore its life as an exhibition apparatus, especially in relation to gender, class, race and space. The Edinburgh Camera Obscura, where sightseers still marvel at its panoptic projection of live city views and the ability to spy on its inhabitants unseen, boasts extraordinary but forgotten origins that will be analyzed in this presentation.

Bio: A PhD Candidate in Communication Studies at Concordia University, Alison Reiko Loader studies old optical technologies and makes media installations—playing with insects, lenses, plants, projectors and assorted ephemera. With a past that includes game design in Tokyo and directing at the National Film Board of Canada, she teaches in Concordia’s Design, Computation Arts and Film Animation programs, as well as the 3d Animation and CGI program at Dawson College.

Presenter: Macdonald, Isabel
Title: Privacy, exposure and the emergent form of comics journalism

Abstract: Journalists, and particularly investigative journalists, often speak of their work as an activity of "exposing" social injustices. Yet standard journalistic practices of citation can undermine the privacy of the people journalists interview as part of their work, which raises particular concerns when journalists are working with marginalized individuals who may face particularly high risks if their identities are divulged. What opportunities and challenges might comics journalism, which combines traditional journalism methods with the drawn visual medium of comics storytelling, present for addressing these problems? In this paper, I take up this question by reflecting critically on my own process of writing, illustrating and designing an experimental work of comics journalism that draws on the findings of my SSHRC-funded fieldwork in Haiti in a camp for people displaced by the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Bio: Isabel Macdonald is a PhD candidate in Communication Studies at Concordia University whose research focuses on the social, political and ethical implications new and emerging forms of journalism. In addition to her academic work, which has been published in various academic books and journals including Race & Class, Journalism Studies and the Canadian Journal of Communication, she writes and produces multi-media investigative journalism pieces for publications such as The Nation Magazine, The Guardian and Colorlines. Her work has also been featured on Al Jazeera, the BBC, Good Morning America and Democracy Now!

Presenter: Marchetti, Florencia
Title: Intimate materialities: exploring embodied memories of terror through creative photographic practices

Abstract: What does it mean to follow the documentary precept 'to show rather than tell' in a feminist auto-ethnographic project? What risks are involved in exposing the self (or the many dimensions/ perceptions of a self) within and beyond academic contexts? This presentation will discuss the photographic work produced as part of a long term anthropological inquiry about, with/in and in response to public works of memory in contemporary Córdoba, Argentina (my home town). My attempt with these photo series has been to explore, provoke and evoke the affective and material traces of the military dictatorial regime (1976-1983) that I was born into, investigating how certain affective atmospheres and cultural repertoires have been inscribed/ performed on my body and the intimate materialities that surround me.

Bio: Florencia Marchetti is an ethnographer and documentarian currently pursuing a PhD in Humanities at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture in Concordia University, Montreal. Born in Cordoba, Argentina, during times of political upheaval, she has focused her recent work on the politics and practices of cultural memory, investigating the affective traces of violent pasts in present day lives and environment, including her own. Her documentary photo work has been filed as part of the Cordoba Provincial Memory Archive and widely used by grassroots groups and activists. Her creative and documentary video works have been showcased internationally in academic research, art and community-based contexts.

Presenter: Maynard, Robyn
Title: misogynoir and the hyper/invisibility of black sex workers

Abstract: black sex workers in canada exist in a strange catch-22: in the so-called ‘feminist wars’ regarding the harms or benefits of the criminalization of sex work; they do not exist. even the fact that terri-jean bedford, of bedford v. canada, is a black woman has been universally ignored by media, as well as advocacy on both sides. cast neither as victims requiring rescue, nor as precarious workers requiring decriminalization, black sex workers have been, for all intents and purposes, rendered invisible even in an era of public debate, consultation, and law-making. indeed, the canadian landscape is marked only by all black sex workers' relative absence. privacy, however, is not protection, when it acts to insulate state violence against black women’s bodies. hyper-sexualized and vilified within the criminal justice, black cis and transgender sex workers, and those mistaken for them, remain highly visible to the lens of law enforcement; subject to astronomical rates of brutality and violence. this presentation explores the risks of hyper/invisibility, misogynoir and the criminalization of sex work.

Bio: Robyn Maynard is a Black feminist writer, educator and organizer. She is the author of the forthcoming book Policing Black Bodies: State Violence and Black Lives in Canada (Fernwood 2017); a ground-breaking work which examines historical and contemporary forms of state violence against Black communities in Canada. She has been involved in community organizing and advocacy against racial profiling, the criminalization of sex work, and police violence for over a decade. Her voice has been featured in local, national, and international media; and her writing may be found at

Presenter: McLeod, Dayna 
Title: Inside Uterine Concert Hall  

Abstract: Intimacy as a method of connecting with an audience is central to my performance practice. My presentation focuses on Uterine Concert Hall, a new vaginal media project that features my uterus as the scene of the performance and the instrument of its production. Equipped with an internal speaker, my vaginal canal acts as the stage with my cervix as proscenium for the audience of my uterus. In this piece, external concertgoers are invited to eavesdrop via stethoscope, on the faint echoes of the recital through the very flesh of my body. Like showing up to a concert and listening from outside, this piece purposefully excludes listeners while engaging with feminist performance practices of intimacy.

Bio: Dayna McLeod is a video and performance artist whose work has shown internationally. She has received funding for video projects from the Canada Council and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. In 2014, she was the recipient of Le Prix Powerhouse, an award presented by La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse that celebrates mid-career women artists who have significantly contributed to the cultural life of Montréal with determination and without compromise. Dayna is currently at The Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture at Concordia University pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Humanities.

Presenter: Olszanowski, Magda
Title: Prurient Maternal

Abstract: In the battle to re-orient misogynist, racist and patriarchal discourses around the woman’s maternal body we have obfuscated its sexual potential. Prurient Maternal foregrounds the sexual and queer potential on my terms like feminist self-imaging artists such as Carolee Schneemann and Hannah Wilke have done with their bodies. I also situate this work alongside Natalie Loveless’s three-year scholarly and artistic project, Maternal Ecologies (2010-2013). Like Loveless (2014) argues for her work, Prurient Maternal is also a “conception of mothering as an affective, social, cultural, and material thinking-practice at odds with conceptions of motherhood that see it as a training relation organized around the social good”.

Bio: Born in the 80s in communist Warsaw, Poland. Lived on a dead end street with a morgue across her flat. Taken to Canada as a child to escape from threat. Grew up on rap videos, French films & literature. She was also kinda internet famous in the mid90s with a website outlining, in image & text, the quotidian repertoires of a queer drug-addled teenage model in the suburbs. Currently pursuing a FQRSC/SSHRC-funded Communication Studies PhD at Concordia University in Montreal like an obsessive lover. She often makes art with lovers.

My work deals with themes of media production, self-imaging, internet histories, feminist subjectivities, digital traces, trauma, violence, the transmission of affect in desire, the multiplicity of the body in relation to others and space, sexuality, motherhood and love. I believe that marginalizing women's experience through shame and ridicule is a losing strategy that serves to reinforce a parlous neo-liberal, classist, ableist, sexist, racist, heteronormative status quo.

Presenter: Parker, Zachary Thomas
Title: Who's 'Looking'? Surveillance and Queer Digital Relationality

Abstract: The characteristic activities of queerness—finding romance, sex, and desire in places and bodies deemed unacceptable by heteronormativity—are rarely public. Stymied offline, queer relationality has increasingly become a digital phenomenon. Because dating apps have been used to entrap gay men in countries where homosexuality is criminalized, and even by predators seeking to harm queer individuals, users must consent to a potentially deadly degree of exposure in order to gain access to an economy of digital queer relationality. Such apps portend visceral affirmations that others are ‘like you,’ thrills of potential hookups and romance, as well as risks intimate violence. This paper seeks to theorize the interplay between queer digital relationality and surveillance, arguing that the surveillance entailed in queer online dating constitutes a conditional acceptance of both danger and pleasure. Accordingly, surveillance must be understood as the condition of possibility for increasingly online enactments of queerness as such.

Bio: Zac Parker is a 2nd year MA/PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studies the intersections of surveillance, violence, and communication.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric Studies and Philosophy from Whitman College with a thesis on the relationship between sovereignty and the United States’ drone program. Zac’s more recent work has focused on the relationships between surveillance and queerness, as well as performative strategies of resistance.  A native of the Pacific Northwest, Zac very much looks forward to returning north for the Terms of Privacy conference this year.

Presenter: Saulnier, Katie
Title: Passing “Privilege”:  Neurodivergence, Queerness, and other Secret Identities

Abstract: Given the gender bias in Autism diagnostic criteria, many Autistic women do not uncover their Autistic identities until adulthood, at which point they may have learned to pass as neurotypical, often compromising their health in the process. Meanwhile, self-identified bisexual, pansexual, and queer women in relationships that code as “opposite sex” are faced with the choice of uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous) continuous disclosure of their sexual and romantic identities, or constant mislabeling, which carries its own risks to health.

Here, I examine the concept of “passing privilege” in order to understand this tension between safety and identity erasure. Taking into account the ways in which social media now permits individuals to maintain multiple, sometimes contradictory, “public” identities, I consider how maintaining an identity may require that the private become performative, making “coming out” a process that not only requires constant repetition, but is often met with doubt, or even hostility.

Bio: Katie Saulnier is a lawyer and researcher at McGill’s Centre of Genomics and Policy, with a background in philosophy focusing on feminist ethics and autonomy, particularly in sex work. She is an activist in the queer and neurodiversity communities, and has facilitated workshops on sexual consent and communication in neurodiverse relationships for local LGBT organizations.

Presenter: Sehdev, Megha Sharma
Title: Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (India), Quilted Version

Abstract: My dissertation research, which I conducted in Delhi for the last two years was on the PWDVA, which passed in 2005, is now being used by increasing numbers of Indian women. The law encourages women to seek civil remedies for domestic abuse. For example, women can apply to inhabit the shared marital household (rather than be subject to removal), or they can petition for financial maintenance from husbands. The law is supposed to be faster and more efficient than existing criminal laws for domestic abuse, which involve police investigations, charges, and jail terms, but also lengthier court procedures that do not necessarily lead to better outcomes for women. Both husband and wife continue to attend court, file legal responses, and follow legal order while living out some version of intimate life. Yet, as the quilted art-piece will help us understand, describing this relationship requires special theoretical and narrative tools

Bio: Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Megha Sharma Sehdev has studied and moved between Detroit, Vancouver, and Montreal. She is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. As part of her doctoral work, she has conducted over two years of ethnographic research on domestic violence law in New Delhi. For this project, she was a grantee of the National Science Foundation - Law and Society Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Sciences, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. While her proper disciplinary field is legal anthropology, she also takes a keen interest in theories of photography and visuality. In her spare time, she experiments with a number of hobbies such as jewelry design, digital and alternate process photography, and textile/fibre arts and craft. Some of her hobbies have become experimental art projects.

Presenter: Sen, Pooja

Title: Invisibility for the hypervisible: Hito Steyerl, military surveillance, and the performance of identity

Abstract: For this conference, I propose to present my master's thesis work in the form of an academic talk. In the age of the ubiquitous photographic surveillance, I examine artist Hito Steyerl's satirical instructional video How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic .MOV File (2013), which claims to offer strategies of resistance and invisibility through the low-resolution, or poor, image calling for bodies to transform themselves into digital images. The political potential of the low-resolution image---the trash or debris of audiovisual production---is within its ability to widely circulate, yet remain autonomous, resistant to privatization, and invisible to global capital. Put simply, the poor image is a site of latent invisibility.

Bio: Pooja Sen recently graduated from McGill University with an MA art history. Her work focuses on contemporary digital video art, critical race theory, and media studies.

Presenter: Stevens, Yuan
Title: Revenge Porns' Victims: Private Law and Protecting Sexual Integrity as a Social Good

Abstract: How can we make sense of “revenge porn” (from a legal perspective)? How can Canadian courts meet the needs of victims of “revenge porn” through civil (rather than criminal) claims? The Ontario Superior Court recently ruled that a person who publicly posted “revenge porn” — more accurately defined as nonconsensual pornography — was liable for the tort of invasion of privacy. He was ordered to pay a whopping $141 709.03 in damages to the plaintiff. Can nonconsensual pornography be best understood as an unprecedented, digital manifestation of sexual violence? Using the previously mentioned decision as a case study, we will explore the ways in which the invasion of privacy tort in Canada needs to develop so as to effectively respond to this phenomenon. Indeed, sexual integrity and its protection can be understood as a social good. To end, we will canvas together promising solutions as Canadian jurists invariably respond to future claims.

Bio: Yuan Stevens is a law student at McGill University who is passionate about the intersections of technology, the law and human rights. She is currently a research assistant for Professor Gabriella Coleman, whose anthropological scholarship explores hacking, politics, and the sociopolitical ramifications of the free software movement. Yuan just spent her summer as a legal researcher at both the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the Centre for Internet and Human Rights in Berlin, Germany, where she worked on issues of surveillance technologies, international and European law, public policy, and internet governance. Yuan is a member of the Board of Directors for Head & Hands, an organization that offers inclusive, non-judgmental and holistic health, legal and social services to youth in Montreal. Her other passions include cats, cryptography, contemporary art, and languages.

Presenter: Vara, Celia
Title: The work of Fina Miralles: Intimate exposure as emancipatory action in the Spanish political transition

Abstract: How can we assign political valence to the visual aesthetics of the self? How can such aesthetics, inserted as knowledge into the public domain, present a possibility not only for self-exploration but also for feminist liberation? During the Franco dictatorship and the transition afterwards, artists confronted gender limitations, censorship and inequalities in ways that merit interest and close examination. With aesthetics strategies they had to tell without telling, looking for ways to say things that were not allowed. The performances of Fina Miralles (b. 1950, Catalonia, Spain) documented in video and photography, show no separation between public and personal areas. She explored the interrelation between social and personal liberation in the context of Francoism. The personal is expressed in her performances, without spoken words, she writes about her feelings and emotions and challenges the values of the dominant ideology, which I will analyze as visualizing the personal as political.

Bio: Celia Vara is a PhD candidate in Communication Studies (Concordia University), a feminist psychologist and a visual artist. Her work as a psychologist is part of a pioneering institute in Spain focused on gender-based violence. She has participated in numerous research programs on international cooperation, feminism and art in Europe, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Her master’s thesis, Early Feminist Video Art in Spain (1970-1980) won the 1st Prize Award in Gender and Research at Jaume I University, Spain. Her research interests are feminist media and culture and her current project centers on the liberatory dimensions of video and performance in the 70’s, focusing specifically in Spanish and Latin American production.

Presenter: Yu, Angela
Title: Sexual/Healing: Sex Education and Social Rehabilitation in Media Narratives of Disability and Sex Work

Abstract: Sexual/Healing situates the recent emergence of articles that detail exchanges between people with disabilities and sex workers, and traces their distinct yet intertwined histories of outlaw sexuality. Mainstream media publications, including Vice, The Guardian and CBC, depict a two-way project of rehabilitation mediated by the intimate transfer of sexual knowledge. In this public spectacle of social recuperation, sex workers are figured as healers and private educators who prepare their disabled clients for a “healthy” sex life. Tales of intimate encounters facilitate the reintegration of both sex workers and people with disabilities into the public body as (re)productive citizens to ultimately reaffirm the superiority of (hetero)normative social relations for an able-bodied audience. While this turn in media representation explicitly motions towards social progress and its own progressive politics, in doing so it inadvertently betrays that rehabilitation is an inherently incomplete project.

Bio: Angela is a graduate student in the Department of Biology at McGill, where she researches the dynamics of DNA replication. She is interested in understanding how social values inform the development of scientific research and medicine, and hopes to develop curriculum for biomedical students and researchers that explores the role of race, gender, sexuality, class and ability in modern science. She currently serves as the Equity and Diversity Commissioner of the Post-Graduate Students’ Society. Angela completed her BSc. in Biology and Women’s Studies at McGill in 2015.


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