Nora Tataryan, WGSI PhD Student, Connaught Scholar 2014-15

I am a second year PhD student at the Women & Gender Stud​ies Institute (WGSI). My main areas of interest are aesthetics, race studies, and feminist philosophy. My current work is on the aesthetics of otherness and the image of Armenian women in post-genocidal Turkey.

After completing my bachelor’s degree at Galatasaray University (Turkey) and Paris 1 – Université de Sorbonne in philosophy, I did my MA in Cultural Studies at Sabanci University (Turkey). Before coming to Toronto, I worked on various academic projects as a research assistant both in Turkey and in Canada. I’ve been published in academic and non-academic journals, and I have presented my work at national and international conferences. I have also worked for several Non-Governmental Organizations, and have always incorporated activist engagement into my field of study.

Alongside my academic pursuits, I produced two documentaries and worked as an art director on several short films. Since September 2014, I have been a PhD student in WGSI and a Connaught Scholar.

WGSI has a vibrant academic atmosphere, dedicated faculty members, supportive staff, and an outstanding student profile, all of which contribute to an ideal learning environment. The courses offered within my department and the variety of external courses to which I have access within the university are remarkable. The libraries are outstanding both in terms of their opening hours and the breadth of resources they offer to scholars.

I have had the opportunity to attend numerous talks and conferences organized by several different departments. For instance, WGSI  has a speaker series through which academics from different countries and backgrounds meet graduate students and give lectures on their recent research. Furthermore, both the School of Graduate Studies and individual departments support the travels of graduate students to present their work at academic conferences.

For example, I went to a feminist theory workshop organized by Duke University.  WGSI was a partner organizer of the event, and I went there with two of my colleagues and one faculty member from the department. I learned a great deal from both the speakers and the participants in the workshop.

Besides its academic strength, the location of the University and the chance it offers to experience life in Toronto are very appealing. The campus is very well located in downtown Toronto and nicely laid out. It is very easy to get around on foot or by bike.

I would advise prospective students to research the program in which they want to study and talk to faculty members and current students in the department they are considering. Based on my own experience, I strongly recommend the Women and Gender Studies graduate programs, particularly for those who want to pursue interdisciplinary research through a critical lens.