Teaching to Transgress

Teaching and Learning Speakers Series Logo: venn diagram with 3 circles overlappingA Teaching & Learning Speaker Series

This speaker series is inspired by scholar, educator, and activist bell hooks’ critical work on liberatory practices and pedagogy. In her book “Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice for Freedom,” bell hooks encourages us to think of the classroom as a space to transgress boundaries, a space that connects “the will to know with the will to become.” To her, engaged education was a practice for freedom, and the classroom, a space where liberatory practices can be imagined and rehearsed.

Inspired by her work and her legacy, the Teaching to Transgress Speaker Series seeks to feature radical thinkers, practitioners, and pedagogues, and to foster the exchange of critical and innovative pedagogies and teaching practices. With a focus on I-EDIAA (Indigenizing- Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Anti-racism, Accessibility) the invited speakers will enrich existing programming at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Queen’s University and engage the teaching community in emerging, effective, and novel approaches to teaching and learning.

Winter 2024

Leela ViswanathanThe Deliberate Doctorate: A Conversation with Leela Viswanathan

Guest Speaker: Dr. Leela Viswanathan, Author The Deliberate Doctorate: A Values-Focused Journey to Your PhD

Date and Time: Tuesday January 16, 2024; 1:30 – 3:00pm EST  
Location: Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 202  

The Deliberate Doctorate book coverNOTE: Novel Idea will be onsite to sell copies of The Deliberate Doctorate for $25 (including tax). Dr. Viswanathan will be available to sign your copy at the conclusion of the event.

Our first Teaching to Transgress session of 2024 is a conversation with Dr. Leela Viswanathan on her recent monograph, The Deliberate Doctorate, in which she reflects on her academic journey through her PhD, and her experiences as an associate professor and graduate supervisor. This session will be of particular interest to graduate students, and anyone interested in pursuing a doctorate, as well as graduate mentors and supervisors.  
At the time she embarked on her PhD, Dr. Viswanathan had already spent a decade as a community planner and policy analyst. She earned her doctorate in 2007 from York University, and in 2015, obtained tenure as an associate professor at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON). A lifelong learner, Dr. Viswanathan is an accomplished and innovative educator, mentor, and researcher. Currently, the founder and principal of Viswali Consulting, a planning and advisory firm that supports individuals, organizations, and institutions to change systems and practices through policy, research, and planning, Dr. Viswanathan is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s, and Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University. She is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) in Ontario and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2021.

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Past Speakers

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein and the cover of her book on a backdrop of spaceHomo Narrans Through the Looking Glass of Dark Matter

Guest Speaker: Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Date and Time: November 9, 3.30-5.30pm  
Location: Humphrey Hall, Auditorium

On the award-winning The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred: In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter—along with a perspective informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek. One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly nontraditional, and grounded in Black and queer feminist lineages. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, misogyny, and other forms of oppression. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society, beginning with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe.

people sitting in rowa in a lecture hall with their backs to the cameraAcademic Ableism: A Conversation with Jay Dolmage  

Facilitated by: Emma McCallum, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 3, 2023; 1:30 – 3:00pm
Location: Zoom

Jay DolmageJay Dolmage is the Chair of English at the University of Waterloo, and author of three books, Disability Rhetoric, Academic Ableism, and Disabled Upon Arrival. He is also the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, which is an open-access journal. He is committed to disability rights in his teaching, working to bring together writing, rhetoric and critical pedagogy concerning disability.  

His first book Disability Rhetoric discusses the ways we talk about disability through popular culture such as movies and how disability shapes attitude, values, and social structures. In his second book Academic Ableism, he looks at the relation between higher education and disability. Higher education has been constructed as the opposite of disability and has formed itself to be a place where students work hard and not admit weakness. Academic Ableism pushes the reader to rethink higher education as a place that can accommodate anyone who walks into the classroom and where listening to disabled people and seeing their value makes higher education a radically better place for everyone.

Access the Open Access version of Jay Dolmage’s book Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education (2017)

Watch the Webinar on YouTube

people sitting aroung a tableKitchen Table Conversations: Truth & Reconciliation with BIPOC Educators

Collaborators: Nasrin Himada, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Misty Underwood, Office of Indigenous Initiatives, and Yasmine Djerbal, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Date and Time: Monday, September 25, 2023; 3:00 – 5:00pm
Location: Agnes Etherington Art Centre
As we approach National Day for Truth and Reconciliation let us take this opportunity to reflect on our individual and collective responsibilities to fulfill the TRC’s recommendations as educators and to support the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. In this event dedicated to Black, Indigenous, and educators of colour, we want to create space for conversations and shared reflections on Indigenous and BPOC solidarities, struggles, and futurities. The kitchen table here acts like, in the words of Juliane Okot Bitek, “the kitchen we grew up in, the heart of the house, the place where all nutrition comes from, both food & story” (2022, 265). It is a space for conversation, and of nourishment of the body and the soul.

Facilitators include Nasrin Himada (Associate Curator of Academic Outreach and Community Engagement, Agnes Etherington Art Centre), Misty Underwood (Program Coordinator, Queen’s Indigenous Pathways), Yasmine Djerbal (Associate Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning).

Quote is from: “States of Being: The Poet & Scholar as a Black, African, & Diasporic Woman”, in Nuances of blackness in the Canadian academy: Teaching, learning, and researching while Black (2022)
In partnership with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Office for Indigenous Initiatives.

Dr. Özlem SensoyMicroactions: Moves in Research, Teaching, and Service that can Shift Equity Creeds into Deeds

With Dr. Özlem Sensoy, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
Wednesday, March 29, 2023; 1:00 – 2:30pm, Zoom

Most people would agree that one does not need to become a mechanic in order to drive a car more competently, nor a chef to cook a great meal, nor a tennis pro in order to improve one’s game. Yet while many people “agree with” the core values associated with equity, and “believe in” the importance of anti-racist, anti-hetero/sexist, anti-colonial, anti-ableist action, they are hesitant to themselves engage in equity work. There are a few reasons for this, among them a fear of doing harm to already vulnerable or marginalized peoples; As well, action for equity can be difficult to imagine outside of mental images we have of activist marching in the streets, hanging from trees, or laying down in front of traffic on bridges and highways. These images of macro-actions as well as the sheer magnitude of social injustice can easily make one immobilized in the face of it all. In this talk, Özlem Sensoy will draw on her decades of academic work, teaching, and professional development in equity in educational settings to identify small things – microactions – every faculty member can incorporate into their research, teaching, and service that can result in major moves toward greater equity in our campus work life for ourselves, our colleagues, and our students.  

About Dr. Sensoy

Dr. Özlem Sensoy is professor of social justice education in the Faculty of Education, the inaugural director of the Cassidy Centre for Educational Justice, an associate member of the Dept of Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and an affiliated faculty member with the Centre for the Comparative Muslim Studies at Simon Fraser University. Her primary field of research is social justice education. Her research examines the opportunities and barriers inherent in advancing a more equitable society, through social justice education. Dr. Sensoy studies this in two ways: analyzing how inequities are reproduced in social institutions (such as schools, media, policing), and identifying constructive interventions to interrupt these inequities (such as thinking critically about knowledge, pedagogical approaches, and political activism).  Dr. Sensoy teaches courses on social justice education, critical media literacy and popular culture, and anti-oppression theories. Her research has been published in journals including Radical Pedagogy, Harvard Educational Review, Gender & Education, and Race Ethnicity and Education.

Liberatory Pedagogies and Imaginaries

With Dr. Juliane Okot Bitek, in Black Studies with joint appointment in English and Gender Studies; and Dr. Vanessa Thompson, Black Studies
Monday, March 13, 2023; 11:30am - 12:45pm, Zoom

Dr. Juliane Okot Bitek Dr. Juliane Okot Bitek is a poet and scholar. She teaches in Black Studies and Gender Studies and holds a joint appointment in English. She is the author of A is for Acholi (2022), a poetry collection, by Wolsak and Wynn. Her 100 Days, a collection of poetry on how to remember the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, won the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry and the INDIEFAB Book of the Year (Poetry) Award. It was also nominated for several writing prizes. Juliane’s most recent academic articles and contributions include: “What Choices Between Nightmares: Intersecting Local, Global and Intimate Stories of Pain in Peacebuilding” Peace Building and the Arts (Palgrave/MacMillan, 2020); and “Conversations at the Crossroads: Indigenous and Black Writers Talk”, Ariel: A Review of International English Literature (2020) and “Treachery as Colonial Intent: A Poetic Response” Critical African Studies (2022); and “States of Being: The Poet & Scholar as a Black, African, & Diasporic Woman”, Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy: Teaching, Learning and Researching While Black, edited by Awad Ibrahim et al (U of Toronto Press, 2022). She is an Assistant Professor in the Black Studies Program at Queen’s University, joint appointed in Gender Studies and English.
Dr. Vanessa ThompsonDr. Vanessa Thompson is an interdisciplinary social scientist cross appointed to Black Studies and Gender Studies at Queen’s University. Her scholarship and teaching explore the relation between state violence, racial capitalism, politics of (un-) breathing, black transnational resistances and abolitionist feminist worldmaking. Grounded in traditions of activist scholarship, anti-colonial theories and black feminist methodologies, she engages with black social movements in and beyond Europe, transnational connections, and relations as well as the many forms of alternatives developed and rehearsed by activist collectives and movements. Vanessa’s publications include her research on black social movements in France and Europe more broadly, Fanonian thought, struggles against policing as a method of racial capitalism, the politics of breathing, black and multi-racial abolitionist struggles, politics and world-making, reproductive justice, and black feminisms in Europe. She is Assistant Professor and Distinguished Professor in Black Studies and Social Justice.  Vanessa organizes with feminist abolitionist collectives in Europe and beyond.


Dr. Jeff PrestonDisability Justice in Higher Education: A Conversation with Jeff Preston

with Dr. Jeff Preston, Assoc. Professor, Disability Studies, King’s University College, Western University
Tuesday, January 24, 2023; 12:00 – 1:00pm; Zoom

Dr. Preston is an associate professor of Disability Studies at King's University College at Western University where he teaches classes on disability, popular culture and policy. A long-time advocate and motivational speaker, Jeff's work focuses on the intersection of disability, subjectivity, biopower and culture. Jeff's first book, The Fantasy of Disability, was published in 2017 by Routledge.

Watch the Webinar on YouTube.

Sharry AikenHuman Rights and Social Justice in Law: A Conversation with Sharry Aiken

Sharry Aiken, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
Tuesday, November 22, 2022; 1:30 – 2:30pm; Zoom

Sharry Aiken is a law professor and founding Academic Director of a new Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law. A long-time activist for human rights and social justice, she is a past president of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), and the former co-chair of the Canadian Centre for International Justice. Prof. Aiken currently serves on the board of a refugee serving agency in Toronto and is co-editor of the PKI Global Justice Journal, published here at Queen's. Formative experiences, before coming to Queen's, included a few years working with Canada World Youth facilitating youth exchange programs as well as a year in Sioux Lookout developing a popular education program on legal literacy.

Watch the Webinar on YouTube.

Dr. Clelia Rodriguez Dr. Clelia Rodriguez: Decolonization in Education and Global Engagement

with Dr. Clelia Rodriguez
Thursday, October 20, 2022; 1:30 – 2:30pm EST, Zoom

Dr. Clelia O. Rodríguez is a global scholar, author, mom and auntie, born and raised in the ancestral lands of the Nawat, the Chorti-Maya and the Lenka Peoples, what is presently El Salvador. She earned her MA and PhD from the University of Toronto. Before holding a Human Rights Traveling Study Abroad Professorship across three continents, United States, Nepal, Jordan, and Chile, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Ghana. Prior to teaching at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto about Decolonization in Education, Settler Colonialism, Pedagogies of Liberation, Popular Education, Social Action and Anti-Discriminatory based curricula, she was a Gender Academic University Advisor in Bolivia, as part of a partnership between CECI and Global Affairs Canada. Recently, she has collaborated with the University of Fort Hare teaching postgraduate workshops. She is currently developing a gender-based training program in Kenya working along side the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology and Eco Green. She is the founder of SEEDS for Change, a learning transnational collective bringing together Black, Indigenous and people from the Global Majority to co-create pedagogies of liberation. She is committed to ancestral sustainable pedagogies, decolonizing approaches to learning and teaching beyond the binary, critical race and cultural theories, anti-oppressive transnational cooperation and learning in community. Her work has been published in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, in the Journal of Popular Education, Critical Pedagogy and Militant Research in Chile, the Black Youth Project, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the South, Radical Teacher: A Socialist, Feminist, and Anti-Racist Journal on the Theory and Practice of Teaching, Postcolonial Studies, Revista Iberoamericana, Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education and the Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. She recently received the 2022 ACPA Latinx Network Community Advancement Service Award for her support and encouragement towards the needs of Latinx students and professionals in higher education and has been nominated twice for awards in excellence in teaching.

Dr. Clelia O. Rodríguez’s Book: Decolonizing Academia

Seeds for Change: Learning Without Borders Initiative

Eve TuckDr. Eve Tuck: Meaning-Making with Youth and Communities

Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 11:00 - 12:30pm EST, Zoom Webinar

Facilitated by Dr. Eve Tuck, Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto

This presentation engages researching with youth and communities as a set of beliefs about knowledge and knowing, and as an approach that can be built into social science and humanities-based inquiry.

Watch the Webinar on YouTube.

This Series is supported by:

The Brockington Visitorship