Please join us for the 2020-2021 Senior Doctoral Fellow Speaker Series. Register here to attend.

Wednesday, May 19, 1:30-3:00pm

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity)

Grief Medicines

Grief Medicines is a research project learning from Indigenous grief workers and through the land about what helps urban Indigenous community members through experiences of loss. The project is guided by Anishinaabe and Indigenous feminist and two spirit thought, taking a co-theorizing approach to thinking together with community members. This presentation will share some of the project’s findings in relation to how Indigenous women and two spirit people are theorizing grief work, medicines, and healing, in the context of living through the violences of settler colonialism. As will be discussed in the presentation, grief work is relational and self-determined; medicines are self-determining; and healing is an insufficient word to express the complex, intersecting ways that people endure, resist, and live beyond the harms imposed through violent systems. Regeneration, or making new life, is one way that plant medicines respond to wounding – but new life is only possible with appropriately caring conditions. In this way, grief work needs to be collective, attending to what grief medicines mean to different people, depending on context, depending on needs. As the findings of this project show, when communities collaboratively prioritize meeting and supporting people where they are at, more life becomes possible.

Lucy El-Sherif (Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity)

Dabke on Turtle Island: Pedagogy, and the Multicultural Shaping of Settler Citizenship in Canada 

What does it mean to dance a belonging to one stolen land on another stolen land? During a 24-month critical performance ethnography, I engaged with youth practicing and performing dabke (Palestinian folk-dancing) in the context of Canada’s 150th confederation anniversary yearlong celebrations to understand Arab and Muslim youth subject formation. I examine the youth’s narratives of belonging to Canada and their relationships to Palestine while learning and performing dabke in Canada. I use critical spatial analysis and theories of cultural production to examine how their gendered somatic experiences interact with cultural representation and self-representation. I argue that the youth’s engagement with dabke is a joyful expression of Palestine that proudly connects them to their land in embodied ways, as an imagined and idealized alternative site of Arab and Muslim subject formation. Nevertheless, the youth performing dabke are situated in settler discourses that shape their spatial imaginaries and practices to embody colonial power, and I conclude that Arab and Muslim racial inequality is shaped by settler colonial relations to space and place.

This research intervenes in pressing debates on critical race, settler colonialism, citizenship and transnationalism, and questions what it means to belong to settler states as racialized people. It examines how racism unevenly fashions both the structural subject positions available to settlers, and the pedagogical processes of social citizenship that shape their subjectivities. Rather than an examination of overt state violence, my focus on disguised forms of state violence orients the field towards violence’s banality in shaping youth subjectivities. As an iconic example of joy, collectivity and relationship to occupied Palestine, dabke can help us understand the relationship between racialized belonging and settler citizenship for other diasporic groups living in the heart of states that colonize their homelands.

Jade Kim (International Foundation Program)

Exploring Participation in Graduate-Level Seminars: International Students Speaking English as an Additional Language

Canadian universities and colleges are increasingly characterized by cultural and linguistic diversity. In university and college, students are quickly introduced to particular ways of thinking and using language (Hyland, 2009) and they are expected to participate in class, discuss scholarly issues, and be assessed in the target language(s) designated by the university. These requirements and expectations often present difficulties, particularly for international students who need to demonstrate their learning and competence to the gatekeepers of university (Hyland, 2018). Previous studies on academic language tended to focus more on exploring written aspects compared to oral events (Flowerdew & Wang, 2015). However, this is in contrast to the finding that international students regard speaking as more demanding than writing (Freeman, 2003; Huang, 2010). This multiple case study (Yin, 2018) focuses on four graduate- level seminar classes and works with eight international students speaking English as an additional language (EAL) to explore their spoken participation experiences. This research also investigates four seminar instructors’ expectations for EAL international student participation. Drawing on genre theory (Swales, 1990) and community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991), it was found that seminar participation is not a uniform notion as each seminar course had a unique structure and participation practices. This diversity of the seminar genre within the discipline of education provides insight into the types of difficulties that EAL international students may encounter in the process of participating in class discussions and possible reasons that they might appear reticent compared to their “native speaker” classmates. Through a close examination of seminar classes, this study contributes to taking a step away from the traditional conception of the native speaker ideal and towards informing effective pedagogical practices that can aid educators, policy makers and researchers whose interest lies in creating positive and diverse learning environments.

Date: May 19th, 2021
Start Time: 1:00pm