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Brown Bag Series in Honour of Roxana Ng


All presentations will take place at the CWSE in room 2-227, OISE, 252 Bloor St W, Toronto, 12-2pm. They are all free and you are encouraged to bring your lunch.

Roxana Ng, 1951-2013, was Head of the CWSE from 2009-2013 and a professor in OISE’s Adult Education Department, University of Toronto.
Roxana was a prolific and dedicated feminist whose work focused on globalization, migration, & labour relations; immigrant women & Canadian institutions; Institutional Ethnography; anti-racism; Qi Gong & alternative holistic health & healing; embodied learning; & critical feminist pedagogy. 

Download the flyer for the Autumn sessions here (PDF)

Download the flyer for the Winter sessions here (PDF)


Part 1: Autumn Events


Session 1: A screening and discussion of the film, “Journey to Find Myself Again: Experiences of South Asian Immigrant Women in the Canadian Labour Market” 

with Srabani Maitra, Tania Das Gupta, Heejoo Yoon, Rana Khan, Poonam Saksena, and Minara Begum

“Journey to Find Myself Again” is a short documentary film that presents the employment trajectories of three highly educated immigrant women from South Asia, one of the largest sources of new immigrants in Canada today. The documentary provides a personal window into these women’s many adjustments, struggles and courage as they go through transitional phases in their lives, having to deal with various forms of socio-economic insecurities. Looking at the Canadian labour market from their perspective(s) and through a race/gender/class lens, the documentary aims to present how the complex interplay of racial and gendered processes affect immigrant women’s employment trajectories and produce complex relations of domination and subordination.

October 16, 2013

Srabani Maitra received her PhD in Adult Education and Community Development from OISE in 2011, followed by a year in the Department of Equity Studies at York University as a Post-Doctoral fellow (funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2010-11).  Currently, she is working at York University as a Research Coordinator for a SSHRC funded project entitled, “Transnational Migration Trajectories of Immigrant Women Professionals in Canada: Strategies of Work and Family”. 

Dr. Tania Das Gupta is a professor cross-appointed to the Department of Equity Studies and Sociology at York University. She is also the Director of the Undergraduate program in the Department of Equity Studies and Coordinator of HREQ and MIST programs. Her publications and research interests include South Asian diaspora, race and racism, anti-racism, immigration, and tate policies. 

Recording of the event: 


Session 2: Putting Intersectionality to Work: Theory, Research, and Praxis

with Ken Yuynh, Marissa Largo, Sophia Papastavrou, David Pereira, & Fritz Pino
Facilitated by Roland Coloma

The presenters will address the ways in which race, gender, sexuality, and migration constitute each other and are imbricated within dynamics of power, subjectivity, and social relations. They will engage questions focusing on arts and activism, education and at-risk youth, war and international resolutions, and aging and wellbeing. They draw on research with participants including artists of color, ethnoracialized students, displaced women in militarized zones, and gay seniors. They utilize qualitative research methodologies, such as ethnographic participant-observation, oral history interviews, visual culture analysis, and policy analysis. What sutures this diverse set of inquiries is a critical attention to the significance and use of intersectionality as it applies to the conditions and subjectivities of their research participants.

October 23, 2013
Panel Presentations:
Embodied and Hidden Discomforts: Power and Marginality in Intersectionality
Rendering Difference: Identities in Pilipino Canadian Contemporary Art
Performativity in the Classroom: Constituting the “At-Risk” Subject
United Nations Resolutions: A Conversation on Gender, War and Intersectionality
What Difference Does It Make?: An Intersectionality Perspective in LGBT Aging Studies

Roland Sintos Coloma is Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice Education (HSSSJE). Ken Huynh, Marissa Largo, Sophia Papastavrou, David Pereira, and Fritz Pino are PhD students in HSSSJE.

Recording of the event: 


Session 3: Mothering, Embodiment and Adult Learning

with Jasjit Sangha

In this interactive presentation Jasjit weaves together three themes: mothering, embodied forms of knowing, and transformative adult learning. Drawing inspiration from the work of Roxana Ng and related literature, she explores her experience as a mother and stepmother and how she was able to recapture a sense of wholeness and live closer to her authentic self. Audience members will be encouraged to participate in this conversation, experientially, through short guided activities. 

Nov 5, 2013

Jasjit Sangha is an author and adult educator whose work focuses on themes related to transformative adult learning, culture and diversity, and creativity. She has published two books with Demeter Press, a work of creative non-fiction titled “Stepmothering A Spiritual Journey” and a co-edited collection titled “South Asian Mothering: Negotiating Culture, Family and Selfhood”. She is also a regular columnist for the award winning blog masalamommas.com. For more information visit www.jasjitsangha.com.

Recording of the event: 


Session 4: Investigating the Social Relations of Community Service Provision: Scholarship for Change

with Naomi Nichols

Inspired by Roxanna Ng’s early Institutional Ethnographic work on the social organisation of community service provision, Nichols will share findings from her forthcoming book, "All my life I've slipped through the cracks." The Social Coordination of Youthwork (University of Toronto Press, 2014). She will describe how this research influenced her subsequent research about safe schools processes and her current efforts to understand how young people’s transitions between programs and between systems (e.g., education and youth criminal justice) influence their own experiences of safety and their connections to their neighbourhoods, to community-based organisations, and to mainstream institutions.

Nov 20, 2013

Naomi Nichols has worked as an Applied Social Scientist in the Learning Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children, a Research Associate and Sessional Instructor at York University, and an Adjunct Professor in the Queen’s-Trent Concurrent Education Program. She is currently the Post-doctoral Fellow for the Canadian Homelessness Research Network in the Faculty of Education at York University and the Principal Investigator on a five-year SSHRC project on youth and community safety. Her research interests span the areas of youth homelessness, human service provision for marginalized communities, educational processes and “youth at risk,” health equity, community-academic research collaborations, and knowledge mobilization and research impact. 


Part 2: Winter Events


Session 5: Creating Women’s Spaces: Feminist Organizing in the Academy

with Yidan Zhu, Angela Lytle, & Jamie Ryckman

This presentation reviews the creation of spaces for women and feminist scholarship in higher education institutions in Canada since the 1980s, using the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education and the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute as examples. How is neoliberalization impacting these spaces, and what is the future of women’s spaces in universities?

January 15, 2014

Yidan Zhu is a PhD student at OISE. Her research interests lie in Chinese new immigrants’ identity construction, citizenship education, and learning practice. She also worked closely with Roxana Ng for several years, researching feminist organizing in North American universities, and has worked closely with the CWSE in different roles.

Angela Lytle is a PhD student at OISE. Her research interests focus on embodied learning and women’s human rights education and activism. She is the Director of the international Women’s Human Rights Education Institutes (WHRI), a program for international human rights defenders run at CWSE in collaboration with the Gender Justice Foundation of Costa Rica.

Jamie Ryckman is the Coordinator of the CWSE. Her interests focus on women’s sensory and embodied experiences in sacred and institutional spaces. She has a Master’s in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, and has curated feminist exhibits around the city.

Recording of the event: 


Session 6: Image Theatre and Embodied Approaches to Immigrant Labour

with Adam Perry

In this presentation Adam Perry discusses the use of an embodied approach to qualitative research with migrant farm workers. He explores how he engaged with the practice of "Image Theatre" to facilitate counter-discursive stories shaped by workers’ invitation to play in the space between aesthetic representation and social reality. Expect to move around a bit during this presentation.

January 27, 2014

Adam Perry is a doctoral candidate in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE.

Recording of the event: 


Session 7: 'Borders are no longer at the border': Immigrants’ labour market integration and the enactment of exclusionary nationalism in Canada

with Soma Chatterjee

In this presentation Soma Chatterjee discusses the Canadian state’s contradictory practices of welcoming immigrant labour as crucial for its prosperity and simultaneous construction of that very labour as skill deficient. Soma argues that this simultaneous welcoming and expulsion of immigrant labour ensures a form of ideological bordering through which Canada continues to procure exploitable labour, and at the same time, constructs itself as a nation with ‘naturally’ superior standards.

February 4, 2014

Soma Chatterjee is a PhD candidate at OISE.

Recording of the event: 



Session 8: Embodied Writing and Decolonizing Knowledge Production: The Social Production of Pain in Lata Mani's Interleaves

with Susan Ferguson 

Susan explores the possibilities of embodied writing for social research and its implications for decolonizing knowledge production about and of the body, bringing together disability studies, feminist autobiography, phenomenologically-informated interpretive sociology. Through a close reading of Lata Mani's memoir of pain and disability, Interleaves, Susan explores the potential for transnational health knowledge to shape embodied knowledge production that treats the experience of pain as a social activity. 

February 25, 2014

Susan Ferguson is a researcher, writer, and educator with an interest in interpretive social inquiry, autobiography, and innovative writing pedagogies. She has a Master's degree in Sociology and Equity Studies from OISE/UT and has published and presented on disability, gender, and equity in higher education. 

Recording of the event: 


Session 9: Breast Cancer: Spirituality, Performance, & Representation

with M. Syed, Saeeda N. NoorIlahi, Pam Patterson, & Eva C. Karpinski

Panel Presentations:

Pam Patterson: Performative Cues for Breast Cancer Resistance
This presentation speaks to performativity as a strategy for cancer resistance and for re-situating the body-in-extremis as a transgressive site for intervention and change. Embodied-as-performance and using visual and evocative language, it sites post-cancer-distress-disorder as a performative to animate and open a feminist (s)p(l)ace where one lives-over-time with breast cancer.

Eva C. Karpinski: Contesting Breast Cancer Publics in Canadian Film documentary: Exposure and Pink Ribbons, Inc.
Karpinski focuses on public affects generated by cultural representations of breast cancer through the medium of film documentary. She analyzes Exposure and Pink Ribbons, Inc. as examples of activist and interventionist filmmaking and examines their efficacy as forms of ethico-political critique of corporatism and biopower.

M. Syed & Saeeda N. NoorIlahi: An Inquiry into the Healing Journeys of Ethnic and Minority Women
Syed & NoorIlahi explore breast cancer survivorship in ethnic minority women and examine the significance of spirituality and embodiment as it relates to ethnic identity and women’s spiritual sense of self and well-being. They also address the issues and challenges that ethnic minority breast cancer survivors face when receiving support and services.

March 4, 2014

at the CWSE, room 2-227, OISE building, 252 Bloor St W, Toronto

M. Syed is a PhD candidate and a Social Worker. Her research interests are related to anti-oppressive education, community development with multicultural women, and youth and Social Work practice with diverse populations.

Saeeda N. NoorIlahi has a Master’s of Education from OISE and a BA in Psychology and English Literature. Her research interests are in holistic education, spirituality, mindfulness, and embodied learning. She has worked in women development and health projects internationally and locally.

Pam Patterson holds a PhD from OISE and is an instructor in Art & Design Education & LIFE Studies at OCADU. She is also the director of WIAprojects at the CWSE.

Eva C. Karpinski is Assistant Professor at the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University.

Recording of the event: 

This event was originally scheduled to include M. Syed & Saeeda N. NoorIlahi, who were to give a talk on their research: "An Inquiry into the Healing Journeys of Ethnic and Minority Women". They were unfortunately unable to present because of family tragedy.


Session 10: Toward a Feminist, Ethnographic, Decolonizing Yoga: Theory and Practice 

with Judith Mintz

A feminist, decolonizing, ethnographic inquiry into yoga is long overdue. This talk examines how Western yoga practitioners exchange knowledge across cultures, give that knowledge authority, and how they define the ideal biomedical body that is their goal. Judith invites discussion about whether an anti-oppressive yoga practice is indeed possible and whether anti-racist eduction can be embodied within yoga communities.

March 11, 2014

Judith Mintz is a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist and Women's Studies at York University, where she examines the intersections and contradictions of yoga, women's health, consumerism, biopower, and cultural appropriation. Judith’s approach to academia is through embodied learning and anti-oppression strategies. 


Session 11: Racial Hierarchies, Imperial Circuits and Health Care in Canada: International and Immigrant Nurses Working in Indigenous Communities 1945-1985 

with Bonnie McElhinny & Krista Maxwell 

In this chapter, we draw on archival research at the National Archives in Ottawa and at the University of Toronto Archives to describe the experiences of international and immigrant nurses and nursing students in Indigenous communities. In particular, we analyze accounts of the experiences of nurses from newly decolonized countries who were funded by development initiatives supported by international agreements and agencies (Rockefeller Foundation, Colombo Plan, World Health Organization) who were placed in Indigenous communities for summer practicums. 

April 3, 2014 

Bonnie McElhinny is Director of the Women and Gender Studies Institute, and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. Her SSHRC-funded research focuses on historical and contemporary investigations of North American interventions into Filipino health care and childcare practices, and reactions and resistance to these. McElhinny is the founding co-editor of the journal Gender and Language, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Sociolinguistics. She has recently written a number of theoretical papers on the role of language in an era of globalization, corporatization and neoliberalization.  

Krista Maxwell has recently completed a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Ethnography, University of Toronto Scarborough. Maxwell’s 2011 dissertation (Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto) investigates the ways that health -- especially mental health -- and healing have been understood by a variety of "experts" as well as by urban indigenous people between the late 1960s and the present. She is currently engaged in research addressing current and historical relations between Anishinaabeg in Treaty Three First Nations and the Ontario child welfare system, with the support of a SSHRC Insight Development grant.



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