Newsletters

WGSI NEWSLETTER • ISSUE 12 • OCTOBER 2020WELCOME BACK: Taking a moment to connect with, congratulate, and learn more about the folks who have fostered—and continue to foster—the WGSI community. Read more…

WINTER 2020: WHAT’S NEXT? A warm welcome back! We hope that you found some time and space to recharge for what is shaping up to be an exciting and busy Winter term for us in WGSI! We closed for the holidays last December with the wonderful news that Nora Tataryan successfully defended her thesis, Lingering Between Fiction and Reality: An Aesthetic Approach to the Legacy of Catastrophe in Turkey (supervised by Dr. Dina Georgis). Congratulations Dr. Tataryan! Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Fall 2014, Volume 11, Issue 1 – Message From Director Bonnie McElhinny: Spaces of hope are often opened up by contradictions. The Ontario provincial government’s commitment to expansion of the number of spots available to graduate students is motivated in the first instance by a desire for economic competitiveness in a de-industrializing economy. The number of graduate degrees is seen as a measure of preparedness for new knowledge economies. This initiative has made it possible in recent years for us to start our MA and this year our PhD programs. The students in these programs are versed in thinking critically about policies which centre economic logics, and which ask questions about socially just and inclusive ways for imagining our futures. Profiles of some of their gripping projects follow in this newsletter. Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Fall 2013, Volume 10, Issue 1 – Message From Director Bonnie McElhinny: In the book Hope: New Philosophies of Change, Mary Zournazi interviews Ghassan Hage. Hage argues that communities are not only imagined, but felt, and that feeling part of a community is “objective in the sense that you want to be part of a community only if you feel you are capable of achieving more by being part of it than you can on your own—and subjective in that you kind of ‘take on’ the greatness of so many more people when you are living in a community” (p. 162). In the community that is WGSI, there are a number of outstanding achievements this year, achievements that are made possible by the challenging, complex, enriching and stimulating discussions and interactions we regularly have with one another. I am regularly proud, and honoured, to be in a unit with with such active, energetic, productive and innovative faculty, staff and students. Four faculty in WGSI published books this year. One faculty member received a national teaching award. Three students received major national awards—one winning a Rhodes scholarship and two winning the national women’s studies essay prize. One staff member received an outstanding service award. This year, thus, marks, and continues a record of which we can, collectively, be proud as we also recognize individual achievements. Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2012, Volume 9, Issue 1 – WGSI Year In Review from Michelle Murphy: WGSI continues in its 40th year, the question of what make up transnational feminist studies remains as lively and charged concern. WGSI began developing its transnational feminist studies focus in the wake of the World Trade Center bombings and the war on terror” that followed, including Canada’s participation in the invasion of Afghanistan, but also at a time when some feminist organizations were complicit in calls for war in the name of saving women. With the recent global financial crisis and climate change, with the rise of homonationalism in some sites and violent persecution of queers in others, with invigorated resistance movements and a new generation critiquing capitalism, we are forced to pose again our initial question—what reanimation of feminist transnational studies is needed in light of contemporary conjunctures? And what other forms of political intellectual engagement might our moment demand? Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2011, Volume 8, Issue 1 – Message From Director Bonnie McElhinny: In the past few years, faculty at the Women and Gender Studies Institute have worked to be at the forefront of North American efforts to redesign the interdisciplinary study of gender and feminism in ways attentive to transnational and post-colonial contexts, in way engendered by, and contributing to, theorizing our location in one of the world’s most multicultural cities. We have redesigned our undergraduate curriculum, and launched an M.A. which distinguishes itself from others with its transnational and post-colonial focus. We are thrilled to announce that the University of Toronto has approved the establishment of a Ph.D. program in Women and Gender Studies which will (pending provincial approval) admit its first cohort of students to start in September 2012. The proposed Ph.D. program responds to the increasing incorporation of gender and feminist insights into municipal, provincial, national, international, and transnational government settings, non-profit settings, workplaces, grassroots social movements, and sites and forms of cultural production (whether musical, literary, visual, or performance). It shares with Ph.D. programs at peer institutions a focus on feminist theory and methods, narrative, cultural representations and production, sexuality and public policy; it also incorporates distinctive emphases on transnational thought, political economy, and science and biomedical studies. Read more

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2008, Volume 6, Issue 1 – Message From Director Shahrzad Mojab: Adieu! Five years have gone by with such rapidity that writing this note of departure seems rather unreal. Today, the Women and Gender Studies Institute stands out as one of the finest, most exuberant places to study, teach, research, and work on women and gender related matters. To achieve this status, a collective is required whose aim is to continuously challenge its own organizational structure and its theoretical and pedagogical goals. It also requires a collective feminist resiliency in demanding resources and in envisioning bold feminist scholarship and classrooms. I am honored to have been a member of this collective over the last five years and have been humbled by this invaluable experience. We experienced moments of despair, frustration, and disagreement, but managed to navigate the massive institutional bureaucracy with great success and, most importantly, remained dedicated to the delivery of a renewed women and gender studies program. Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2007, Volume 5, Issue 1 – Message From Acting Director Alison Keith: Professor Mojab is currently enjoying a well-deserved research and study leave (January – June, 2007) and we wish her all the best with her research. In July, she will return to the Women and Gender Studies Institute for her final year as Director, and so it is my privilege to review here our achievements over the past academic year. WGSI has consolidated the gains made in recent years, having become a fully autonomous unit with all the rights and responsibilities of a department, and we continue to work towards the full implementation of our ambitious academic plan. We learned last August that the Ontario Council for Graduate Studies (OCGS) had approved our stand-alone MA Program in Women and Gender Studies and much of the focus of this year’s administrative work has been on the development of policies, procedures, and administrative structures for the program, under the leadership of the new Graduate Coordinator, Professor Bonnie McElhinny. I am delighted to report that we will welcome our first cohort of twelve graduate students to the Institute next September. Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2006, Volume 4, Issue 1 – Message From Director Shahrzad Mojab: The past two academic years since our last issue of this newsletter have seen a combination of growth, transition, and stability. Each was achieved in both increments and leaps. The priorities set up by the University of Toronto’s Stepping Up Academic Plan in 2003 have shaped the directions and initiatives of the Institute. We achieved our first priority on July 1, 2005 when the Institute became an autonomous unit within the Faculty of Arts and Science. This shift confers on us the full privileges and powers of a department, including a change in the reporting structure, the right to acquire faculty members with majority appointments in the Institute, and the responsibility to manage the budget. To mark our new status, we have changed our name from the Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies (IWSGS) to the Women and Gender Studies Institute (WGSI), hence the new logo and visual identity. As Director, I am now reporting to the Dean of Arts and Science, we have completed our first majority appointment hiring process, and we are now managing the full budget. Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2004, Volume 3, Issue 2 – Message From Director Shahrzad Mojab: As the academic year of 2003-2004 comes to an end, so does Stepping – Up: 2004-2010, the major academic planning process of the University of Toronto. The IWSGS’s final seven-page document — the product of many hours of meetings, consultation, collaborative writing and editing — was submitted at the end of April to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Undoubtedly the preparation of this short document absorbed a lot of intellectual and administrative time and energy from all of us. Was it a worthwhile exercise? I would certainly claim that it was – though I will be quick to add that it was hard to hold on to this perspective all the way through! The planning exercise pushed the core faculty group to be clear about and commit ourselves to the intellectual directions in which we are moving. It got us to think through our strengths and our priority needs, and frame those within the format and constraints of the language of “planning”. Read more…

IWSGS Matters, Fall 2003, Volume 3, Issue 1 – Message From Director Shahrzad Mojab: It is with great humility and honour that I have assumed the position of the Director of one of the finest women’s studies and gender studies programs in North America. I am lucky since my predecessor, Professor Margrit Eichler, the faculty, staff, with the support of the Principal of the New College, Professor David Clandfield, have laid a strong foundation for the Institute. The challenge is to enhance the research and teaching capacity of the Institute, to advance it towards an internationally reputable women’s studies and gender studies program, and to contribute to the ongoing effort in diversifying and transforming curricula in an ever-changing local, national and global environment. As Professor Margrit Eichler has indicated in her ‘Goodbye Message’ (IWSGS Matters, Spring 2003, Vol. 2, Issue 2), it is only now that the Institute can ‘engage in meaningful long-term planning.’ Read more… 

IWSGS Matters, Spring 2003, Vol. 2, Issue 2Goodbye Message from Director Margrit Eichler: My Goodbye Message: With my term of office ending on June 30, this will be my last Director’s column. It has been a whirlwind 4½ years, with significant challenges on the way, and I am looking forward to a year’s sabbatical. After this I will go back to full-time teaching and researching at my job in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, at OISE/UT. Read more…