Rachel Lobo

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: rachel.lobo@utoronto.ca

Areas of Interest

  • Transnational and antiracist feminism
  • Critical archival studies
  • Women, Gender, and Labour
  • Social Movement Histories
  • Environmental Justice
  • Visual Culture


Rachel Lobo is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow with the Women & Gender Studies Institute under the supervision of Dr. D. Alissa Trotz. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from York University in 2022. Her SSHRC-funded dissertation titled “The Lake is History: Photographic Archives and Black Geographies in Canada”, maps the complex portrait of resistance that emerges within the Alvin D. McCurdy fonds, the largest photographic archive of Black history in Canada. Based in the Archives of Ontario, this research used a community-based collection to illuminate networks of resistance against racialized labour systems in Ontario. Drawing from social reproduction theory, transnational feminist theory, and the Black radical tradition, it positions vernacular photographic practices as a vital form of care labour that sustained transnational bonds of kinship and resistance within the Detroit River borderlands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Rachel received her Masters in Photographic Preservation and Collections management from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2014. Her major research project studied how the visual culture of the radical underground press in the 1960s and 1970s was co-opted by mainstream publications. During this time Rachel held archival internships at the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Image Centre, where she investigated the role that photographs played in documenting Britain’s colonial activities in India, and catalogued press photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, respectively.

Rachel’s teaching, like her research, centres knowledge produced through social movements. While with the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, Rachel taught courses in the Environmental Arts & Justice program.


Ph.D., York University

M.A., Toronto Metropolitan University

B.A., University of Toronto

Postdoctoral Fellowship Project

Rachel’s postdoctoral research titled “‘Good Enough to Work, Good Enough to Stay’: Archiving Care Workers’ Struggles” explores the history of the domestic workers’ movement that unfolded throughout the 1980s and 1990s in Ontario. Drawing primarily from the publication archive of feminist publications housed within the RiseUp! Feminist Archive, her research examines the possibilities, tensions and limitations of an archival practice grounded in transnational feminism. In particular it investigates the tactical evolution of organizations that mobilized waged domestic workers and their feminist allies around the demand for permanent residency for workers, and legislative control of employment standards. This research positions feminist print culture and oral history as generative sites from which to recover the voices of the domestic workers who were vital actors in these struggles. By focusing on domestic care workers, a sector who did not find themselves in labour unions, this research works to expand our cultural understanding of feminist struggle and labour history in Canada, but also contribute to a growing body of literature that addresses the impact of a global crisis in care.

Postdoctoral Supervisor: Dr. D. Alissa Trotz

Selected Works

[Forthcoming] Lobo, Rachel. “The Lake is History: Lake-faring and the Black Atlantic in Canada.” Canadian Coastal Histories: Rethinking Canada and the World Series. McGill-Queen’s University Press (Fall 2022).

[Forthcoming] Lobo, Rachel. “Photographic Afterimages: Nationalism, Care Work and Motherhood in Canada.” Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation. Cornell University Press (Fall 2022).

Lobo, Rachel. “Rich Imaginings and Freedom Dreams in the Archive: Our Lives and the Black Women’s Collective.” Rise Up! Feminist Archive Newsletter. February 2021.

Lobo, Rachel. “Resisting Erasure: Photographic Archives and Black History in Canada.” International Journal of Canadian Studies 58 (Fall 2020): 6-35.

Lobo, Rachel. “Archive as Prefigurative Space: Our Lives and Black Feminism in Canada.” Archivaria 87 (Spring 2019): 68- 87.

Lobo, Rachel. “Review of Free Black North at the Art Gallery of Ontario.” Archivaria 84 (Fall 2017): 177-181.

Honours and Awards


SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship


Michael Baptista Essay Prize, The Centre for Research on Latin America and the

Caribbean, York University


Communication Project Fund, Canadian Historical Association


Research Support Fund, Canadian Historical Association


Best Paper Award, Centre for Canadian Studies, Brock University


SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral


Ontario Graduate Scholarship


York Graduate Scholarship


Toronto Metropolitan University Graduate Award


Toronto Metropolitan University Graduate Scholarship