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Tonya Callaghan's doctoral dissertation receives top honours


May 14, 2012

by Eileen Thomas

Tonya Callaghan, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary, is the recipient of the prestigious Canadian Association for the Study of Women and Education (CASWE) Doctoral Award for Outstanding Dissertation. Tonya began her doctoral studies in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE in 2006, successfully defended her thesis in 2011, and will graduate on June 7, 2012.

“This work offers a significant contribution to innovation in scholarship. It is an incredibly well written testament to the power of inquiry and research and offers new insights, and challenges  the status quo, the normative boundaries of scholarship, and gender alike," said Dr. Catherine McGregor, President of CASWE.

Tonya's postdoctoral work, funded by SSHRC and the Killam Scholarhip and Prize Program, is a comparative study of resistance to homophobia in Catholic school systems focusing on case analyses of systems in Atustralia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom vis- à-vis sexual minority groups. The study broadens the parameters of her research to a global discourse of resistance to heterosexist oppression and aims to uncover the causes and effects of clashes between Catholic canon law and the common laws of these countries regarding sexual minorities that are increasingly being played out in Catholic schools.

Tonya will receive her award following the CASWE Queer Studies in Education and Culture SIG session (2.12), Contesting Closets, Building Schools as Counter Public Spaces where she will present a paper, Holy Homophobia: Doctrinal Disciplining of Non-Heterosexuals in Canadian Catholic Schools on May 27.

CASWE promotes the status of women and education in formal, informal and non-formal contexts, and encourages submission of theses that draw upon feminist conceptualizations and methodologies, or have at their centre research on women and education.