Senior Doctoral Fellow Speaker Series: Binta Bajaha & Ryan Persadie


Virtual via Zoom. Register to receive the Zoom link.


Event start date : 04/12/2023

Event end date : 04/12/2023

Event start time : 01:30 PM

Event end time : 03:00 PM

Event Description

The Senior Doctoral Fellow Speaker Series is back! Join us to hear about each of these New community member’s research.

All sessions will take place virtually from 1:30-3:00 pm. Registrants will receive a Zoom link shortly after registering.

Learn about the rest of the Senior Doctoral Fellow Speaker Series.

Binta Bajaha, African Studies: “Sahelian Realities of Climate Change: Interrogating Intersectional Vulnerabilities, Resilience and Agency in a ‘SeneGambian’ Anthropocene.”

The impacts of climate change are no longer a distant threat but a harsh material reality for agrarian and urban poor communities in the Sahel. In this study, I reimagine and reconceptualize the geography of interests as the SeneGambian region- the combined geographies of The Gambia and Senegal- to help frame and contextualize a localized version of the Anthropocene rarely explored.

I extend the use of a critical, intersectional and Afrofeminist lens to analyze the quotidian strategies employed in living, surviving and thriving in the Sahel. In using three proposed conceptual frameworks in this study- Necropolitics, Afro-feminist intersectionality and Black Feminist Political Ecology, I prompt the examination of a new discourse of vulnerability, resilience and agency that emerge to challenge the one-dimensional narrative of the Sahel.

Ryan Persadie (he/him/they/them), Caribbean Studies: “Sounding Qoolie Diasporas: Queer Indo-Caribbean Performance, Soca Feminisms, and the Politics of Fête in Toronto and New York City.”

My dissertation project explores the transnational itineraries of queer Caribbean diasporas that are made possible through attuning to migratory flows of Anglophone Caribbean popular cultural production, particularly soca music and dance. In this project, I center queer aesthetic practices within Caribbean celebratory geographies and party spaces in Toronto and New York City, which I refer to as “queer fêtes”, that move across and between the US-Canada border. Centering embodied expressions that are articulated through song, dance, and the voice becomes the central archive and field site to map how racial, sexual, and gender negotiations of self- and place-making practices cultivate new understandings of queer Caribbean diasporic organization. Following in line with the interventions the fête geography offers, my dissertation project accounts for how the fête has always been a place of queer self-/place-making and pedagogy in two regards: as a site in which queer and trans Caribbean community carve out diasporic space as a challenge to nationalist ideologies that always position expressions of sexual difference as always-already abject and peripheral to the (heterosexual) nation-state while simultaneously, positioning the fête as a critical archive of feminist and anti-colonial Caribbean epistemology that is only made possible through listening to the queer politics and pedagogies it engenders. Thus, the queer fête is both a place and a politic of Caribbean feminist living.

This talk specifically explores the politics of fête-making that occur within sites of the everyday. Pushing and extending upon dominant imaginaries of where queer fête is made – notably, the nightclub – I explore how queer and trans Indo-Caribbean communities produce celebratory geographies through terrains of the mundane. I evidence how queer and trans engagements with soca music and the bacchanalian affects it engenders in spaces such as household basements, apartment living rooms, backyard birthday limes, during long car rides, during intimate moments in the bedroom, and in digital space such as Zoom calls with family and friends at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic produced new manifestations of queer fête geographies. Here, I focus on three main genres of mundane fête-making: home fêtes (which refers to fêtes organized both within the site of homes and as productive of homeplaces themselves which turn to geographies of basements, kitchens, bedrooms, and cars), and the digital fête as a site of queer and trans Indo-Caribbean fête-making. These spaces include family-curated family parties often attached to wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, and community get-togethers, many of which took place in suburban geographies such as Mississauga, Ajax, and Brampton, as well as virtual fête spaces that were curated in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown between 2020 to 2021.