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 2023

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.

Past Events

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.


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


Sharry AikenSharry Aiken: Human 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. Jeff PrestonJeff Preston: Disability 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.


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.


This Series is supported by:


The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization Fund from the Faculty of Arts and Science

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