The Senior Doctoral Fellow Speaker Series is back! Join us to hear about each of these New community member’s research. View their abstracts below and register to attend however many sessions you would like.

Meet the 2022-2023 New College Senior Doctoral Fellows.

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

View the event poster and details.

Fill out the registration form.

Wednesday April 12: Binta Bajaha & Ryan Persadie

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.

Wednesday April 19: Hazal Halavut & Hannah Quinn

Hazal Halavut, Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity
“Archives of Absence: Tracing Collective Loss After Colonial Erasure”

Archives of Absence analyzes how invisible residues of violence, echoes of repressed memory, the trauma that returns, that which resists dying and more come together and form an extraordinary repository when collective loss is historically erased, politically denied and collectively repressed. Delving into the archives of absence left behind the Armenian Genocide in modern Turkey, Hazal Halavut traces how loss inhabits space and temporality exploring mechanisms of complicity and colonial unknowing as well as the epistemologies of absence against the epistemic violence of the colonial nation state project.

Hannah Quinn, Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity
“Cultures of coercion and cultures of consent: intimacy, sexuality, and presumptions of (in)capacity in the lives of intellectually disabled adults” A presentation based on 13 months of ethnographic research at a disability services day centre in Montreal, Quebec.”

The sexuality of intellectually disabled people is frequently discussed in terms of violence and vulnerability rather than in terms of pleasure and possibility. Intellectually disabled people are often framed as either nonsexual or hypersexual, and in both cases, they are deemed to be “like children, incapable of forming substantive life preferences, learning the skills necessary to negotiate sexual choices, or making meaningful decisions in general” (Wilkerson 2011, 204). While sexual consent models purport to bolster sexual agency and reduce instances of violence, their reliance on notions of capacity, competence, and autonomy means that intellectually disabled people are often perceived as unable to consent and are prevented from exploring their sexuality. The result is the regulation of sexual behaviour. The regulation of sexuality also serves to regulate other spheres of intimate life such as friendship, parenthood, and cohabitation. In this talk, Hannah Quinn presents preliminary findings based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Montreal, Quebec with adults labelled as intellectually disabled at a day centre that provides social skills training and vocational education to the anglohphone disability community. Quinn explores the way that normative consent culture relies on ableist and sanist framings of ‘capacity’ that shapes the way the sexuality—and everyday decision making—of intellectually disabled people is surveilled and restricted. The result is an culture of coercion for those whose capacity is routinely challenged, assessed, and denied–formally and infromally. Quinn and her participants ask: what might an anti-ableist consent culture look like, feel like? Through what everyday actions, gestures, and relations are intellectually disabled people demanding and modelling anti-abelist consent cultutres based in their experiences of coercion and access needs? 

Wednesday April 26: YiQing Lu & Amber Moore

YiQing Lu, Human Biology
“Genome-wide CRISPR screens identify novel regulators of wild-type and mutant p53 stability.”

Tumour suppressor p53 (TP53) is the most frequently mutated gene in all cancers. Several hotspot p53 mutants not only lose tumour suppressive capabilities, but also promote oncogenesis by gain-of-function mechanisms. p53 mutant proteins are often stabilised in tumours, which are vital for their oncogenic properties. Therefore, we aim to systematically uncover the cellular genetic networks that stabilise mutp53s, with the hope to destroy tumours by acting on those stabilisation networks. In this presentation, I shall discuss our innovative functional genomics and proteomics approaches to systematically uncover and functionally annotate these regulatory networks, both in cell lines and directly in mouse models. Ultimately, with ongoing drug screens, we hope to devise and improve precision medicine therapies to benefit patients with mutp53 related cancers. This work is carried out at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Weizmann Institute as a part of my doctoral thesis.

Amber Moore, Buddhism, Psychology & Mental Health
“Between Literary Worlds: Translation as commentary in the study of Newar Buddhist narratives.”

Amber will be discussing recent research and translations in the field of Buddhist studies of the Buddhist narrative entitled the Maniśailamahāvadāna which includes an origin story of the Buddhist Goddess Vajrayoginī. This is a multilingual compilation of both popular ‘localized’ and lesser-known Buddhist narratives, māhātmyas and avadānas that have been translated into various Himalayan languages and which are extant in only a few remaining manuscripts in Nepal. Amber will discuss these manuscripts and their relationship to each other over the span of their transmission and linguistic variants in translation and commentary, and from the perspective of translation as commentary: an inevitable result of epistemological crossing.