'Thinking Together: Identity Studies in the University' will explore the status of identity at the university

The third and final event of the Faculty of Education’s Life in the University series in recognition of Canada 150 will take place on Friday, Oct. 27.

Titled “Thinking Together: Identity Studies in the University“, the event will bring together faculty and students for a thought-provoking day of conversation about the status of identity in the University.

“In the midst of debates about ‘free speech’ and student protests, we need – more than ever – to think together about the university as an institution as well as a set of practices, feelings, myths, and relations,” said event organizer Professor Jen Gilbert. “We’ll explore some of these questions, and talk about the role of the University in these matters with our guests Robyn Wiegman (Duke Univeristy), Marnina Gonick (Mount St. Vincent University), and Roderick Ferguson (University of Minnesota).”

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About the speakers

Robyn Wiegman is professor of literature and women’s studies and formerly the Margaret Taylor Smith Director of Women’s Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Object Lessons (2012), which examines disciplinary fields including gender studies, American studies, and queer studies to explore how identity categories are crystallized in the academy. Her works-in-progress include two book projects: Racial Sensations, on affect and anti-racist aesthetics; and Arguments Worth Having, about key debates in feminist and queer theory.

Marnina Gonick is the Canada Research Chair in Gender at Mount Saint Vincent University. She is the author of Between Femininities: Ambivalence, Identity and the Education of Girls (2003) and the co-editor of Becoming Girl: Collective Biography and the Production of Girlhood (2014). She is also the co-creator (with Noam Gonick) of Voices in Longitude and Latitude (2014), a video installation about girlhood in Canada. Integrating imagery from urban and rural Canada with interviews with teenage girls from four different communities, the video installation explores the possibilities of audio-visual media in social science research.

Roderick Ferguson is a professor in gender and women’s studies, and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also the co-director of the Racialized Body research cluster at UIC. Ferguson’s most recent work focuses on the conditions that gave rise to interdisciplinarity and minority studies in American universities in the 1960s and 1970s, and the ways that these fields are now being co-opted, appropriated and regulated. His books include The Reorder of Things: The University and its Pedagogies of Difference (2010) and We Demand: The University and Student Protest (2017).

The Life in the University series opened conversations about the challenges, past and present, faced by people inside and outside of the University, including the status of identity studies, debates over purposes of higher education, and changing work conditions.

For the past 58 years, York University and Canada have shared a rich history. York’s faculty, programs and students have helped shape the University to become Canada’s third largest and leading university. The series is generously supported by the Canada 150 @ York Fund.