2011-2012 New College Senior Doctoral Fellows Luncheon Speaker SeriesThe Senior Doctoral Fellows for 2011/12 are:

Jennifer Motha
Jennifer Motha is an elementary public school teacher in the inner city of Toronto and is currently on leave, in the 4th year of her doctoral studies in the department of Curriculum Teaching and Learning at OISE.  She has a long time interest in issues involving inclusion, equity and social justice; and continues to advocate for quality holistic public education to serve its diverse student population. Her doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Jack Miller is an exploration of meditation, contemplation and teacher reflection as it informs the teacher’s intuitive knowledge and teaching practices. Jennifer has recently published a chapter in the book Spirituality, Education and Society an Integrated Approach edited by Njoki, N. Wane, Energy, M. Manyimo and Eric J. Ritskes.

Jennifer is one of the teaching assistants for the Buddhism and Psychology: Theories and Applications course and is currently working with Njoki Wane compiling and editing a book on the Sociology of Indigenous and Alternative Approaches to Health and Healing Practices: Implications for Education.  During her doctoral studies at OISE, Jennifer has worked as a graduate assistant for Jack Miller supporting and mentoring the teaching staff at the public alternative, Equinox School. Additionally as a Teacher Education Program Assistant at the Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study she has worked with and supported pre-service teachers in their practicum and internship placements.  Jennifer is a yoga and pilates instructor, most recently with East to West Yoga and Pilates, Toronto.

Lecture Abstract: “Contemplating Teaching: Meditation and Reflection in the Pedagogical Process”
Contemplating Teaching, Meditation and Reflection in the Pedagogical Process is hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry of 5 teachers’ formal meditation practices and classroom reflections. The overarching question guiding the inquiry asks, what is the relationship between a teacher’s meditation practice and pedagogy?  This exploration is grounded in the tenets of holistic education (Forbes, 2003; Kessler, 2000; Krishnamurti, 1953; Miller, 2007, 2010; Palmer & Zajonc, 2010). The primary sources of data for the inquiry were collected through audio recorded interviews, journal entries on meditations practices, and journal entries on classroom reflections. Other sources of data were gathered from newspaper articles the School Board’s mandate and values statement and the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Character Development Initiative. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/literacy/booklet2008.pdf

This presentation will call attention to how this doctoral journey began and the intention of the inquirer and her inquiry. It will address the role of the contemplative teacher in holistic education and speak to some contemplative practices as praxis in the pedagogical process. Last but not least, it will examine the principles of mindfulness meditation and its merit for the holistic educator.


Jared Toney
Jared Toney is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. His research examines the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in North America, analyzing the ways in which immigrant communities in Canada and the United States operated within and across local, national, and imperial contexts. The Afro-Caribbean diaspora, he argues, was integral to formulations and expressions of racial consciousness and de-territorialized community in the 1920s, as peoples of African descent circulated throughout the Atlantic world. By looking specifically at communities in Toronto, Montreal, and New York, he illustrates how urban and national spaces shaped immigrant encounters with race and the state. His work seeks to clarify the dialectical relationship between the local and global, the national and transnational, and the individual and community in the process of diaspora and discursive constructions of race in early twentieth century North America. His dissertation is entitled, “Locating Diaspora: Afro-Caribbean Migration Networks and the Trans-Local Dialectics of Race and Community in North America, 1910-1929.” Jared is the Senior Doctoral Fellow in Caribbean Studies at New College, and is the recent recipient of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s George Pozzetta Dissertation Award, the Marcus Garvey Foundation’s International Research Fellowship, and numerous internal awards at the University of Toronto.

Lecture Abstract: Diasporic Nationalisms: Afro-Caribbean Migration, Race, and the Nation/State in North America, 1910-1925
This talk focuses on the ways in which the nation/state shaped the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in North America in the early twentieth century. In particular, it explores how place and space informed ideas of race, nation, and community, and how the specificities of nation-states and locales affected the immigrant experience. By examining settlements in both Canada and the United States, it seeks to nationalize understandings and experiences of race, and put them in motion across the diaspora. How race was constructed, experienced, and transported/translated across national borders is central to understanding the diasporic experience and the articulation of black nationalism and global black consciousness in the 1920s.

Eliza Chandler
Eliza Chandler is a PhD candidate in the Sociology and Equity Studies in Education department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (OISE/UT). While working predominantly in Disability Studies, her work cuts across diaspora studies, critical race theory, feminist theory, critical geography studies and cultural studies. Her dissertation, A geography of disability: From containment to community, pulls from these various disciplines in order to map the normative geography of disabled and racialized people. Through this critical mapping, Chandler’s research seeks to reveal how the geographies understood as the rightful place of belongingness for disabled and racialized people are intertwined. Following this exploration, her research suggests that diaspora and ‘crip’ communities offer spaces of alterity in which disabled and racialized people can belong in the midst of a culture which does not welcome them as desired citizens.
Chandler holds a doctorial fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and is a Senior Doctorial Fellow at New College, U of T. She teaches courses in Disability Studies at New College and at OISE/UT.

Lecture Abstract: Mapping Difference: Critical Connections between Diaspora and Crip Communities
In various and interconnected ways, disabled, racialized, and disabled racialized people have been routinely produced as undesirable citizens in connected and overlapping ways. Racist immigration practices on Ellis Island at the turn of the twentieth century used disability as categorical grounds to disqualify racialized people from entering America (Baynton, 2001). In the 1880s, disabled people, such as those with Down’s Syndrome and of short stature, along with disabled and non-disabled racialized people, were constructed as belonging to a subordinate, ‘primitive’, race (Baynton, 2001). More contemporarily, in Canada and the US racialized and aboriginal people are becoming disabled as a result of unsafe drinking water and other environmental hazards in their poor, working class towns and cities that are not attended to or cleaned up due to racist domestic policies termed “environmental racism” (Lakshmi Piepzna- Samarasinha, 2009, 2011; Clare, 1999, 2001; Simeone, 2010).

Drawing on her dissertation research, Chandler will demonstrate how geography has much to do with the material and social production of disabled and racialized people as undesirable citizens, or the denial of citizenship altogether, as well as how ways of organizing, distributing and policing space influence how such people come to be treated. Working closely with Katherine McKittrick’s (2003) configuration of geography as a cultural “container” which functions to physically contain bodies as well as cultural understandings of such bodies, Chandler will emphasize how meanings of humanness and meanings of geography are always entangled. Following her discussion of the related ways that racialized and disabled bodies are materially and discursively contained, Chandler will continue her exploration of the entanglement of geography and humanness by revealing how, following Dionne Brand (2002), “new geographic stories can be told.” Chandler will turn to stories to parse out how disabled and racialized peoples create communities of alterity in which members work out new and different ways to mean and belong to each other.  Such communities, she suggests, do not transcend the normative geographic terrain but, rather, rework it.   This research is generously supported by SSHRC funding.

Melissa Levin
Melissa Levin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science majoring in comparative politics with a focus on developing countries.  She has spent many years working as a speechwriter for Nelson Mandela and the chief elections strategist for the African National Congress.  She has consulted on election campaigns throughout Southern Africa, in the Republic of Congo, in Venezuela and the UK.  Melissa has published on, amongst others, youth and elections, capital and democracy and autobiographies and identity.  She has taught a number of university courses and trained thousands of workers and activists in negotiation, research and campaign strategies.  She has a masters degree in African Studies from Edinburgh University and an honours degree in African Literature from the University of the Witwatersrand.  Her areas of interest include nations, nation-building and memory; politics of race, class, gender; institutional change and state transformation; elections strategy and systems; politics of subjectivities; the intersections of materiality and discourse; and, particularly, ideas about victims and collaborators.

Lecture Abstract: Bureaucratizing the past: the blunted weapon of memorial practice in post-apartheid South Africa
A decade and a half after its official demise, apartheid’s presence remains ubiquitous in South Africa.  It is visible in the gulf between rich and poor, in the spatial geography that still segregates the country, in the statues of Boer generals that still stand tall and proud across the land.  Central to the transformative agenda of the new state is the undoing of this legacy and eliminating the social divisions that persist.  However, while the reversal of historical injustices discursively informs all statist policy, the reckoning with history as a site of struggle and transformation does not.  The end of authoritarian and colonial regimes has generally been accompanied by the spectacle of demolition of its symbols, or, at least, the removal of its symbols to a less prominent space.  This has not happened in South Africa.  The Statue of the Boer General, Louis Botha, proudly stands before the entrance to the parliament in Cape Town.  Queen Victoria’s statue guards the back of the newly democratized legislature.  To reinforce the normalcy of the memorial presence of colonial and apartheid leaders are the city streets who’s names commemorate the worst of apartheid colonial leadership.  Why has a robust nationalist movement like the ANC not been more decisive in changing these memorials?  Modernist theories of the nation suggest that the manner in which the past is constructed is central to building national solidarities and that nationalists build nations through constructing usable pasts.  The ANC has chosen a bureaucratized route to accommodating histories.  What are the nation-building implications of the continued presence of apartheid iconography in South African towns and cities?  What is at stake specifically for the continuing impoverishment of the masses of black people in the evolution of a technical response to a political problem?  The ambiguous, administrative and often denationalized practice of nation-building is explored through the street re/naming processes in three South African cities: Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban.