Department of Gender Studies

Department of Gender Studies
Department of Gender Studies

Student Spotlights

2017 Incoming MA and PhD students in Gender Studies

Gender Studies is pleased to introduce our ninth cohort of MA students and our first cohort of PhD students.

Christopher Bennett’s PhD project moves primarily through a Lacanian psychoanalytic approach to trans modalities of embodiment, and the work seeks to think through how the unsettling and continuous conflict between identity and unconscious contributes to a new way to think about sexual difference. As such, its focus is on the following questions: What avenues of thought are opened up by embracing a concept of identity as always in transition? How might this understanding influence both activist and theoretical work? How might this understanding change how we understand other axes of identity? Supervisor: Trish Salah 

Rochelle Burke’s MA project will explore how blackness is understood in relation to comedy, by examining The Bernie Mac Show—a television series that aired from 2001 to 2006—and its narration of parody and wit in relation to white supremacy, respectability, and black masculinity. This research will be situated in black studies, thus exploring race, class, and gender in relation to comedy, and drawing attention to how these comedians navigate the politics of respectability through subverting eurocentric views of black masculinity. Supervisor: Katherine McKittrick

Celine Gibbons-Taylor is a second-year Masters candidate. Her current research maps the resistance of Afro-Caribbean women to the changing socio-spatial dynamics within Caribana to conceptualize what possibilities can emerge for this community. Supervisor:  Katherine McKittrick

Markus 'Star' Harwood-Jones’ MA research explores the politics of transgender representation.Supervisor: Scott L. Morgensen

Kanonhsyonne/Janice Hill Turtle clan mother, single mother of two sons, is Mohawk and has spent her life working for the revitalization of the Mohawk language and the culture, traditions, and spirituality of her ancestors. Jan acquired a bachelor’s degree in native studies from Trent University and a bachelor of education at Queen’s University. She is interested in increasing the breadth and depth of understanding of the historical and contemporary place of Mohawk women in the preservation of language, culture, ceremony and governance of the people in relation to social and critical theories in order to be able to teach and share knowledge particularly in an academic environment.

Adria Kurchina-Tyson is an Anishinaabe kwe from Sudbury/Wahnapitae, whose research interests lay at the intersections of Indigenous philosophy and queer theory. Kurchina-Tyson’s doctoral project combines creative work and critical theory to explore the politics of sexuality and kinship in Anishinaabek and other resurgent traditionalisms. Supervisor: Scott L. Morgensen

Fran O'Shaughnessy is a Master's Candidate in the Department of Gender Studies. Their Major Research Project will conduct a close reading of José Rizal's Noli Me Tángere and how relationships between characters across difference reveal particular understandings of gender, race, indigeneity, and nationalism within the Philippines. Supervisor: Scott L. Morgensen.

Michelle Tam’s MA thesis project records the coming out and not-coming out stories of Chinese Canadian LGBTQ women and non-binary people in order to interpret their understandings of the process of coming out and of the formation of sexual, gender, racial/ethnic, and national identities in the context of diaspora. Supervisor: Scott L. Morgensen.

Kim Khanh Tran graduated from York University with an Honours BA in Psychology and Sexuality Studies, and a certificate in Women's Studies. Her research interests are feminist and queer methodology and epistemologies, fan studies, participatory cultures, global citizenship, transnationalism and translation. Supervisor: Jane Tolmie.

Kendall Witaszek is an MA student whose research interests pertain to memory, withholding, and forgetting; trauma and haunting; Asian and Black diaspora; mixed-race (un)belonging; queer of color critique; Afro-futurism and Octavia Butler; and Sylvia Wynter, Aimé Césaire, and the science of the word. Her research project deals with how queer Black, Asian, and mixed-race persons grapple with, reinterpret, and express a positionality of “unknowing” that accompanies elisions and withholdings of history and memory, and how such can provide a basis for coalitions and activism through a rethinking of Sylvia Wynter’s redeployment of Aimé Césaire’s “science of the word.” Supervisor:  Katherine McKittrick.

Graduate Research Projects


Sarah Carneiro “Policy, Poverty, and Indigenous Child Welfare: Revisiting the Sixties Scoop” (MA) supervised by Margaret Little.


Christopher Bennett “Performing Trauma: The ‘It Gets Better Project’ as a Performance of White Trauma” (MA) supervised by Trish Salah.

Kaitlyn Forbes “Gender Parity on the Hill: A Closer Look at Canada’s First Gender Balanced Cabinet" (MRP) supervised by Margaret Little.

Katherine Gibbons “Unsettling National Narratives of Canadianness: Producing Subaltern Subjects Through the Bordering of Canadian Citizenship” (MRP) supervised by Scott Morgensen.

Xiao Hu "Nostalgia, Racial Melancholia, and Asian American Woman Intellectuals" (MRP) supervised by Trish Salah.

Zoya Islam "Reworking Canadian Understanding of Transnational Labour Exploitation" (MA) supervised by Margaret Little.

Stephanie Jonsson “Examining Aged Care: An In-Depth Analysis of the Suppression of Gender and Sexuality in North American Assisted Living Facilities” (MRP) supervised by Trish Salah and Scott Morgensen.

Elliott Jun “Asia Otherwise: New Terrains of Transoceanic Encounters” (MRP) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Noha Mohamed “Forging New Political Power Dynamics in Responding to Sexual Violence Against Women: An Analysis of the Egyptian Short Film 'His Cucumber'” (MRP) supervised by Trish Salah.                     

Hayley Sullivan “Symbolic Inclusions: Indigeneity, Sports, and Projects of Canadian Nation Building” (MRP) supervised by Samantha King.

Brett Willes "Drag, Dirt, and Demons: Centering Indigenous Thought in Critiques of Queer Settler Colonialism on the Prairies" (MA) supervised by Scott Morgensen.


Avery Everhart “Crises of In/Humanity: Posthumanism, Afrofuturism, and Science As/And Fiction" (MA) supervised by Scott Morgensen.

Monique Harvison “White Gatekeeping and the Promise of Shelter: Confronting Colonial Logics within Women’s Anti-Violence Services" (MA) supervised by Scott Morgensen.

Bilan Hashi "Sexual Desire, Modesty and Womanhood: Somali Female Hybrid Subjectivities and the Gabar Xishood Leh Discourse" (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Shelby Loft “Rethinking Blood: The Political Tension of Indigenous Cultural Belonging” (MRP) supervised by Scott Morgensen.

Megan Lonergan "Governmentality Gone Wild: How the separation of sex workers from ‘communities’ contributes to violence against sex workers" (MA) supervised by Trish Salah.

Kara Melton "’A Kind of Logic, A Kind of Dominant Logic’: Navigating Colonialism, Honouring Black Mobility, and Thinking on Moving Through" (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Emily Merklinger “Through Tears of Laughter”: Representations of Prisons, Authoritarianism, the Individual, and Revolt in Speculative Visionary Fiction” (MRP) supervised by Jane Tolmie.

Melissa Pole "A Comparative Study of Puerto Rico and Uzbekistan: Structural Adjustment and the Advancement of a Neoliberal and Eugenic Agenda Through Population Policy" (MRP) supervised by Annette Burfoot.

Roxanne Runyon "Exhausting Affects: The Negotiation of Affective Labour, Neoliberal Subjectivity, and Feminist Politics among Anti-Violence Workers" (MA) supervised by Samantha King.

Katie Thibault "The Canadian Carceral State: Violent Colonial Logics of Indigenous Dispossession" (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Vanessa Yzaguirre “The Interim Federal Health Program as a Biopolitical Project: The Commodification of Refugees’ Health”  (MRP) supervised by Margaret Little


Joddi Alden “Pinay, Balikbayan, Canadian: The Transnational Trajectories of Filipinas (As Domestic Workers)” (MA) supervised by Margaret Little.

Joanne Farrall “’I have no one, I need someone’: Contextualizing Amanda Todd within the ‘My Secrets’ Video Genre” (MA) supervised by Margaret Little.

Erika Ibrahim “’How Ima Read’: Queer Rap Discourse in Online Music Culture” (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Natasha Stirrett "Revisiting the Sixties Scoop: Relationality, Kinship and Honouring Indigenous Stories" (MA) supervised by Scott Morgensen.

Dana Wesley “Reimagining ‘Two-Spirit Community’: Critically Centering Narratives by Urban Two-Spirit Youth” (MA) supervised by Scott Morgensen.


Yasmine Djerbal “Women’s Citizenship:  Between Bloodlines and Patriarchal Conditioning in Postcolonial Algeria” (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Angela Fazekas “Queer and Unusual Space:  White Supremacy in Slash Fiction” (MA) supervised by Jane Tolmie.

Stephanie McColl “#surrogacy: Confronting the Coloniality of Twitter and Contemporary Transnational Surrogacy Practices in India” (MA) supervised by Scott Morgensen.

Carla Moore “Wah Eye Nuh See Heart Nuh Leap: Queer Marronage in the Jamaican Dancehall” (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.

Aarzoo Singh “Mobile Identities: Linking Colonial Histories of Displacement with Portable Affective Objects and Memories” (MA) supervised by Katherine McKittrick.


Rhea Ashley Hoskin “Femme Theory: Femininity’s Challenge to Western Feminist Pedagogies” (MA) supervised by Dr. Margaret Little.

Andria Mahon “’Live Through This With Me’: Memoirs of Erotic Dance and Agency“ (MA) supervised by Dr. Jane Tolmie.

Dan Vena  “Becoming Superman: Interpolating Transsexuality into the Superman Narrative” (MA) supervised by Dr. Jane Tolmie.


Kaleigh Alkenbrack “Referential Lives: Literary, Legal, and Colonial Discourses in Audrey Andrews’ Account of the Life and Trial of Dorothy Joudrie” (MA) supervised by Dr. Jane Tolmie.

Emily Burns “Unsettling the White Noise: Deconstructing the Nation-Building Project of CBC Radio One’s Canada Reads” (MA) supervised by Dr. Jane Tolmie.

Auden Neuman “Wounded Subjects: White Settler Nationals in Toronto G20 Resistance Narratives” (MA) supervised by Dr. Scott Morgensen

Maya Thau-Eleff “Coming Home: Sovereign Bodies and Sovereign Land in Indigenous Poetry, 1990-2012” (MA) supervised by Dr. Scott Morgensen.


Shannon Coyle “A Mixed Methods Investigation of the Needs, Experiences, and Fulfillments of Trans Persons Accessing Ontario Health Care Services” (MA) supervised by Dr. Margaret Little.

Leora Jackson “Reading and Responding: Finding and Making Meaning in the Life Writing of Diasporic Iranian Jewish Women” (MA) supervised by Dr. Jane Tolmie.

Emily Macgillivray “Red and Black Blood: Teaching the Logic of the Canadian Settler State” (MA) supervised by Dr. Scott Morgensen.

Ayca Tomac “’Islamic Feminism’: Between Turkish Secular Feminism and North American Critiques” (MA)supervised by Dr. Dana Olwan.

Dan Superman photo