Research Agenda and Current Projects

The Critical/Creative approach to transformative is exceptionally well positioned to intervene in today’s complex political landscape, in light of the global re-emergence of hate (racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic discourses and practices) at the center of the political stage. Our faculty’s and graduate students’ approach to the disruptive potential of art provides an innovative conceptual and methodological basis for engaged social justice research that connects academic, artistic, and activist practices. Currently, no other unit on campus provides a comparable range and depth of research and teaching expertise at the undergraduate level in global and world literatures and cultures. C+CSJS is fundamental to the implementation, development, and consolidation of GRSJ’s Critical Racial and Anti-colonial Studies (CRACS) research capacity and the Social Justice Clinic (our practicum and community outreach initiative). In particular, C+CSJ funds will facilitate groundwork for designing collaborations between artists and academics interested in CRACS’ major research themes:

Education as a Practice of Social Transformation – Recent political movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Idle No More, Black Lives Matter constitute an emerging mode of community organizing and mobilization espousing a transformative vision of social justice, which has attracted college students and young artists across the globe. This area of research investigates how artist and activist practices and discourses – in particular, in Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia, and Europe – participate in the construction of a critical racial  and anticolonial feminist social justice agenda and pedagogies that responds to concerns of aboriginal, migrant, refugee, queer, trans-gender and gender non-conforming communities of color.

Arts of Transformation –   It proposes to gather together anti-colonial traces of affective and material archives and pursue the affective and aesthetic relays of a global arts network seeking social transformation on anti-racist grounds. This theme is developed in collaboration with Dr. Lai (Tier 2 CRC holder) at the University of Calgary’s TIA House, CCSJ will develop graduate exchanges, innovative graduate courses and seminars at a Summer Institute that combine our UBC expertise with TIAH’s status as the most dynamic and cutting edge program of critical arts practice in Canada.

Affective Mappings –  This area of research critically investigates discourses and practices of refugee resettlement apparatus, in which the ‘the refugee’ is cast as a precarious and vulnerable social subject – that is, the victim. Its objective is to produce an alternative approach which draws from Black and Indigenous Feminist theorizing. With a participatory research program designed to investigate how the particular geographies of racially, gender-sexuality, and economic subaltern subjectivities, create spaces, which are not only non-pathological and undamaged reactions to violence and dispossession but in fact, creative responses to political, economic, and symbolic violence.