Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Queering the Canadian labour movement: LGBTQ2S+ advocacy within the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-07-20
Supervisor(s): 
Tiffany Muller Myrdahl
Helen Hok-Sze Leung
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis presents findings and analysis drawn from semi-structured qualitative interviews with eleven members, staff, and leaders within the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) on their understandings and experiences of LGBTQ2S+ advocacy within the union. I situate this data within a critical framework that draws together concepts of social unionism and queer theory, asking how accessibility and power is understood in these literatures. The data reveals that LGBTQ2S+ specific education and training is needed within the BCGEU, that the BCGEU needs a LGBTQ2S+ advocate, and the structure of the union must become more accessible to increase more meaningful involvement from diverse workers, including LGBTQ2S+ workers. I conclude by emphasizing the need for more research in this area, particularly in the Canadian labour movement, and offer suggestions on how to ensure future research accounts for diverse perspectives.

Document type: 
Thesis

Documentary as alternative practice: Situating contemporary female filmmakers in Sinophone cinemas

File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-17
Supervisor(s): 
Helen Hok-Sze Leung
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

Women’s documentary filmmaking in Sinophone cinemas has been marginalized in the film industry and understudied in film studies scholarship. The convergence of neoliberalism, institutionalization of pan-Chinese documentary films and the historical marginalization of women’s filmmaking in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), respectively, have further perpetuated the marginalization of documentary films by local female filmmakers. The orientalizing gaze from the global north does not take into account local women’s struggle in the industry whereas the local male-dominant industry in each region is strongly tied to and upheld by different discourses of nationalism. By addressing multiple layers of hegemony, my research examines the local and global impact on female documentary filmmakers in the above three regions since the 1980s and the ways in which they adjust their modes of production while continuing in their works to resist dominant ideologies that have shaped mainstream national/regional film culture. Drawing from production studies and feminist film criticism, I point out that each production trajectory reflects changing political systems, institutions and resources available over time. Female documentary filmmakers’ interpretative and communicative power have rewritten the traditionally male-dominant and neo-national narratives of film history and industry. Since the 1980s, Taiwanese female documentary filmmakers have carved out alternative representations during a time when defining the meaning of a national cinema was an urgent task. Hong Kong female documentarians share a consistently radical and humanistic concern regarding gender and ethnic diversity without resorting to political or cultural essentialism or antagonism. Documentary films by women in the PRC expose the incongruence between the state’s agenda and the lived reality of Chinese women. Sinophone female documentarians’ radical resistance does not only reside in their works but in their filmmaking practices, which foreground the periphery as the site in which place-based and community-based stories and identities are shaped and told.

Document type: 
Thesis

Dress up for big boys: Cowboy culture of the urban rodeo

Author: 
File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-07-30
Supervisor(s): 
Jen Marchbank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

Billed as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the Calgary Stampede is one of the West’s most celebrated events with visitors, from near and far, partaking and reveling in Southern Alberta’s Western heritage. This event is a celebration of Alberta’s western past and, as such, the Stampede has continually encouraged its attendees to dress up in Western (cowboy) attire in order to (re)capture the Western spirit. The cowboy has unremittingly been held up as an exceptional model of hegemonic masculinity, which, in turn, is celebrated and reinforced each year during the Stampede’s live action performances. A study was then conducted on this form of masculinity by interviewing local males who use the attire to construct a short-term dominant masculine identity for the ten days in direct contrast to their daily normal lives.

Document type: 
Thesis

Beyond #MeToo: Alternative justice, hashtag movements, and survivor-centered approaches to sexual violence

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-04-08
Supervisor(s): 
Coleman Nye
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis conducts case study research on three contemporary hashtag movements: #MeToo, #MuteRKelly, and #AmINext, and situates them within a network of online consciousness-raising feminist activism. Firstly, by constructing genealogies of each movement, this research examines the nuance, complexities, and contradictions present within online movements addressing sexual violence. Secondly, this project utilizes an intersectional and decolonial framework to explore the extra-judicial and alternative justice responses being enacted by each movement, including job loss, public atonement, policy change, and national inquiries. By looking beyond the above-mentioned hashtags, I illustrate how spectrums of justice for survivors of sexual violence take on broader meanings, outside of the current narrow understanding that present the legal system as the only viable option. This thesis adds to a body of knowledge that critically analyzes the possibilities of extra-judicial justice for survivors and promotes intersectional understandings of sexual violence.

Document type: 
Thesis

Mapping the Terrain: South Asians and Ethnic Media in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-06-29
Supervisor(s): 
Habiba Zaman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

Using antiracist and feminist theories and critical media approaches, this qualitative study analyzes the role (including associated contributions, challenges, and opportunities) South Asian ethnic media plays in the lived experiences of South Asian immigrants in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2013, South Asian communities constituted 11% of the total population of Metro Vancouver. Currently, several newspapers, magazines, television (TV) shows, and 24/7 radio stations serving audiences in Metro Vancouver are produced and/or broadcasted in various South Asian languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu. This dissertation deals with South Asian ethnic media and its potential to create space for dialogue among immigrant communities, including opportunities for these communities to understand and debate their rights and responsibilities in their host country. Current ethnic media-making (including various formats, technologies, approaches, languages, and socio-political-religious orientations) was also explored and analyzed. The findings of this study suggest that ethnic media has the potential to create space for dialogue among immigrant communities, particularly in Canada. The majority of the participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the portrayal of South Asian communities and their cultures in the mainstream media, criticizing the lack of representation and negative stereotyping of their communities. This dissertation reveals that ethnic media is emerging as a socio-culturally and politically significant space for its audiences. Ethnic media sources are providing information and knowledge about immigration, settlement, integration, and everyday life challenges in simplified ways. South Asian ethnic radio seems to be the most popular, accessible and efficient medium, meeting the information, news, and entertainment needs of its audiences. Educated, skilled, and multilingual ethnic media practitioners use their platform to bridge the gap between the mainstream media, policymakers, and society vis-à-vis immigrant communities. This study reveals that ethnic media play a significant role in the lived experiences of South Asian immigrant communities in Metro Vancouver by opening space and opportunity for communication and social inclusion.

Document type: 
Thesis

Pioneering of the Simon Fraser University Daycare: The Early Years 1965-1974

Author: 
File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06
Supervisor(s): 
Lara Campbell
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

Simon Fraser University opened in September 1965 and from the very beginning, a significant number of students arrived with their children in tow. Children present on university campuses was not the norm in the 1960s and this phenomenon presented administrations with unexpected challenges. At Simon Fraser University the arrival of preschool children needing daycare, accompanied by parents, some of whom were political and part of the burgeoning student movement, some of whom were liberationists and part of the campus women’s movement, some of whom were faculty arriving with the promise of childminding, and some of whom were simply student/parents desperately in need of daycare; but not just any daycare. What united students, faculty, and staff, all arriving with children at Simon Fraser University, was the need to have accessible campus daycare with an unprecedented high standard of care and education, overseen by the parents involved, and without external interference. In the 1960s this is not how daycare was perceived, delivered, or administrated and to achieve this innovative horizon, SFU parents had to petition, demonstrate, sit-in, occupy, protest, and defy authority.The Simon Fraser Daycare Movement was as significant and ground-breaking as the campus student movement and the women’s movement but it has remained undocumented in the condensed form that this thesis offers. Through archival material and oral histories, the early SFU Daycare Movement is acknowledged in this dissertation. This thesis contribution to the history of Simon Fraser University is important, offering new material about the SFU student body, the 1960s and early 1970s campus activity, and the emergence of childcare as a matter of excellence rather than maintenance. The Simon Fraser Childcare Society that exists on campus today, has its roots planted in the midst of 1960s radicalism.

Document type: 
Thesis

The Treatment as Prevention(R) Empire: Treatment Adherence as the New War on AIDS

File(s): 
Date created: 
2016-11-28
Supervisor(s): 
Jennifer Marchbank
Marilou Gagnon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

Treatment as prevention® (TasP®) proposes a new way to end AIDS by requiring people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs) to strictly adhere to lifelong HIV treatment, effectively making them non-infectious. Essentially, TasP attempts to stop the spread of HIV at the source. Yet, this radical prevention intervention is not without individual and collective repercussions. With an eye to the growing physical, moral, legal, and political costs of HIV treatment on adherence, this study seeks to describe how adherence has changed throughout the AIDS epidemic in order to understand its function in this present time and place of TasP in Vancouver. Through a Foucauldian genealogy, this dissertation examines how TasP adherence practices re-asserts colonial hierarchies. Guided by critical race and postcolonial theories, I argue that race and racism distinguish those who are made to live from those left to die in this new war on AIDS, a war against PWAs. Using biopower as an analytical framework, I emphasize the continued role of sovereign power, a repressive power alongside productive power. To examine adherence, I investigate specific moments in time and across place to ground Vancouver’s current TasP rationale and practices, beginning with the scientific role and methods of late 19th century colonial medicine through to present day TasP. I delve into TasP’s scientific rationale by analyzing the first uses of antiretroviral treatment for HIV prevention. Next, I outline the changes in British Columbia’s public health law along with Vancouver’s clinical guidelines and protocols. Then, I position artwork produced by PWAs as important sites of knowledge, providing insight into the multiple effects of antiretroviral therapy. To conclude, I argue that TasP works as an imperial formation as it uses force in the construction of its subjects. I suggest TasP pushes us to confront this ethical question: to what end and at whose expense are we willing to end AIDS? At its most basic level, this project seeks to disrupt the seemingly neutral scientific language of TasP by showing how scientific knowledge regarding adherence practices draw from histories relying on, recuperating, and revising the interlocking structures of colonialism, racism, sexism, poverty, and sexuality.

Document type: 
Thesis

Straight lines? Re-reading the discourse of straight-acting for subversive effect

File(s): 
Date created: 
2017-08-08
Supervisor(s): 
Jennifer Marchbank
Peter Dickinson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

Engaging with a rich history of gay masculinities, this research analyzes the contemporary discourse of straight-acting as a site of masculine identification for gay men within the context of queer liberalism. Mapping the discourse from a poststructuralist, queer perspective, straight-acting is on one hand theorized as a continuation of a discourse that promotes a valorization of normative configurations of masculinity, with an eye to its potential as a performative subversion of the ‘naturalness’ of heteromasculinity. Through an autoethnographic analysis of the geosocial gay hook-up app Grindr, the research argues that the contemporary discourse of straight-acting is a reflection/function of particular neoliberal norms of self-discipline vis-à-vis the digital app space. Conversely, the potentials for straight-acting to problematize the coherence of a sexual binaristic logic points toward the destabilizing quality of straight-acting when speculated upon beyond queer liberalist functions, turning to face the possibility of resignification for subversive effect.

Document type: 
Thesis

Theorizing trans readership: Examining ways of reading trans themed young adult literature

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2017-01-11
Supervisor(s): 
Helen Leung
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

While there appears to be an expansion of gender and sexuality studies within the field of young adult literature criticism, the vast majority of scholarship privileges the study of gay and lesbian identities, as well as binary gender identities—either male or female. There is not much treatment of those who identify as other or in between. In the 1990s articles began to address topics of cross-dressing and responses to cross-gender behaviour—in response to changes in the field of psychology, namely the removal of homosexuality and the addition of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of the American Psychological Association. Explicitly trans identified characters were not published by mainstream publishers until after 2004 in the wake of Julie Ann Peters’s Luna. Using a queer theory approach to children’s and young adult literature focuses more on sexuality and sexual attraction, but the addition of various trans studies approaches—research that looks to bodily transition and modification—along with reader-response theory (Rosenblatt), allows for a more complex exploration of transformation and the notion of gender as something fluid and transitional. By working to combine queer and trans theoretical approaches with literature and the transgender body and experience, I begin working in a more complex way with new and emerging issues in literature, such as intersexuality, asexuality, and two-spiritedness. This requires moving beyond rigid gender dichotomies and homonormative/transnormative identities which are presented even within queer, gay/lesbian, and feminist studies; an exclusion which could become an inclusion with the use of transgender studies in the field of children’s and young adult literature. This study will look to find commonalities or divergent purposes between what occurs in theoretical studies and what actually matters to trans and queer young adult readers. I engage in interviews with queer and trans identified teens, as well as librarians in order to gauge what teens readers want and how they read trans and queer characters within available YA fiction. In this way, children’s and young adult literature scholars will have the ability to better understand the purpose and usefulness of textual analysis and gatekeeping processes.

Document type: 
Thesis

Racialized migrant women: Experiences of community organizers

File(s): 
Date created: 
2017-03-22
Supervisor(s): 
Jennifer Marchbank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This research explores the experiences and identities of self-identified racialized migrant women working in community advocacy sectors. Using feminist critical race theories and approaches, I conducted three community conversations and three interviews where participants explored an array of topics including Indigeniety, self-care, sexism, homophobia and settler – migrant relationships. This research includes two themes: 1) the implication of migrant bodies in the systemic dispossession of Indigenous Nations by exploring the ways in which we (as migrants working in advocacy sectors) contribute to the solidification of colonial and neo-colonial narratives; and 2) offers a model of participatory feminist methods and approaches described in this work as a means to provide alternative ways of engaging migrant communities in research.

Document type: 
Thesis