Areas of Study:
activism, affect studies, attachment, critical race theory, cultural studies, digital media, feminism, gender, homonationalism, masculinities, migration, neoliberalism, pedagogy, queer theory, refugee sponsorship, sexuality studies, social movements, solidarity, transnational feminism, war
Current Research Projects
Solidarity at Risk
The provocation that frames the title of this project aims to intervene in the theorization of solidarity and the practices of transnational solidarity activism in the 21st century. In an era structured by the ideologies of neoliberalism, where free market globalization, privatization and individualism are reshaping the public sphere, the terms and practices of solidarity are shifting. Yet, theories of solidarity have remained embedded in older political frameworks, rooted in early social movement practices in the Marxist tradition or liberal democratic models of civic engagement. In a world changed by neoliberalism, we need new interpretive frameworks for analyzing and practicing solidarity today, not least because contemporary social movements require new ways of envisioning activist solidarity.
Neoliberalism has also changed the geopolitical landscape of human rights. In what some queer theory scholars have called homonational times, we find the political stakes of queer solidarities embedded in the changing discourses of sexual rights. Looking at examples of solidarity at risk in the queer social movement practices, my research maps the political stakes and impact of homonationalism and neoliberalism on activism today. Using interdisciplinary scholarship in feminist, queer and political theory, I consider what binds us in solidarity, how our political attachments are important threads in theorizing solidarity, and how we might rethink our models of solidarity to sustain our political imaginings in neoliberal and homonational times.
My new research project, tentatively titled “Refugee Solidarities,” examines how nation state responses to the “Syrian refugee crisis” shape emergent feminist and queer solidarities. Looking at the outcomes of solidarity activism, gender-based aid work, and refugee sponsorship in three geopolitical contexts (Canada, Greece, and Lebanon), I am interested in how securitization, gender, and sexuality converge in the ideologies that shape and structure what post-conflict survival can look like in the “refugee crisis.” This new work considers the intersections between the geopolitical flows shaping refugee migration and the concepts, values, and ideologies shaping the actions and visioning of those who desire to support, sponsor and act in solidarity with refugees. The first phase of this research is currently underway:
Phase 1: Family and Kinship in the Refugee-Sponsor Relationship in Canada
A SSHRC Insight Development Grant-funded project examining the role of gender, sexuality, and kinship in the refugee-sponsor relationship in Canada.
Gender and Sexuality Pedagogies
This area of scholarship builds on collaborative research in the area of gender and sexuality with a focus on pedagogy, contemporary classroom practices, popular education, and curriculum design. Focusing on the shifting needs and interests of the contemporary classroom, this work involves three projects:
- Triggering Education: Relational Readings of Trigger Warnings in the Canadian Post-Secondary Classroom
A SSHRC Insight Grant-funded project examining student and faculty practices and perceptions of “trigger” and “content” warnings in Canadian institutions of higher education.
Research Team: Michelle Miller (PI), Hannah Dyer (co-investigator), Natalie Kouri-Towe (co-investigator), Julia Sinclair-Palm (collaborator)
2. Teaching in the 21st Century: Pedagogy and Curriculum from the Gender and Sexuality Studies Classroom
A SSHRC Connection Grant-funded project developing collaborative research and writing on gender and sexuality pedagogies from scholars teaching in Canadian universities.
3. “Better Practices” in the Sexuality Studies Classroom: Teaching Sexuality Resources and Guides
A teaching resource drawing on popular education tools and pedagogical insights on “better practices” for the sexuality classroom, including background and primers on the debates shaping these practices. The document includes common challenges emergent in sexuality (and other) classrooms and addresses the intersectional ways that teaching and learning about sexuality converges with these differences. Using prompts around common challenges, conflicts, and debates in teaching, the guide outlines some of the strategies and resources currently available to the best of our knowledge on how to prioritize sustainable and equitable classroom practices.