Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Canadian Association of Cultural Studies Conference | Carceral Cultures

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Joy James, Williams College

Dr. Joy James is a leading scholar in Politics and African American Studies. Her areas of specialization include feminist political theory, critical race theory, and studies of incarceration. James is the author of numerous books, including “Transcending the Talented Tenth,” “Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics” (St. Martin’s), and “Memory, Shame & Rage: The Central Park Case, 1989-2002” (forthcoming), which analyzes the convictions and exoneration of five youths in the infamous Central Park rape case. James is editor of a number of anthologies on incarceration: “States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons,” “The New Abolitionists: (Neo)Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings,” and “Warfare: Prison and The American Homeland,” a compilation of works on radical critiques of politics, incarceration, and policing. Dr. James will be in conversation with Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present.



Dr. Dian Million, University of Washington

Dr. Dian Million (Tanana Athabascan) is Associate Professor in American Indian Studies and an Affiliate faculty in Canadian Studies and the Comparative History of Ideas Program at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of “Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights” (University of Arizona Press, Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies Series, 2013) as well as numerous articles, chapters, and poems. Dian Million’s work deals with issues of social justice, Indigenous, critical race and gender studies, the neoliberal affects of capitalism/settler colonialism, and Indigenous feminisms.


Senator Kim Pate, Senate of Canada

Kim Pate was appointed to the Senate of Canada on November 10, 2016 and is a member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, the Canadian Bar Association’s Bertha Wilson Touchstone Award, five honorary doctorates and numerous other awards. She was the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) from January 1992 until her appointment to the Senate in November 2016. Senator Pate was a driving force behind the Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston, headed by Justice Louise Arbour. She has been instrumental in building coalitions across the country with other equity-seeking, women’s, anti-racism, anti-poverty and human rights organizations.

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Tracy Bear, University of Alberta

Dr. Tracy Bear is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies and Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Alberta. She is a Nehiyaw’iskwew (Cree woman) academic and member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation located in Northern Saskatchewan. Her research areas are diverse, but all are rooted in decolonial methodologies and epistemologies of Indigenous Studies. Dr. Bear’s contribution has led to innovative methods of research, investigating the ways in which Indigenous gendered bodies take shape through violence, colonization and resistance to carceral state surveillance. In particular, her embodied experiences as a member of the National Collective of Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) informs her theoretical framework and this in turn is reflected in her research practices. WWOS is a memorial art installation to honour and remember over 1400 missing and murdered Indigenous Women, girls and genderful people in Canada.


Sahar Francis, Addameer

Sahar Francis is an internationally renowned lawyer and human rights advocate. Since 2006 Francis has been the General Director of Ramallah based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. As an advocate for the rights of prisoners, Sahar Francis has led many international campaigns for prisoner justice including issues regarding mandatory family visitations, prisoner isolation, education and medical treatment. Sahar Francis has spoken internationally on the deep connections in prison solidarity movements between Palestinian prisoners and the Black Panthers. Her insights and extensive contributions are central to the goals of this conference that seek to examine larger global confluences of carcerality and modes of resistance.


John Greyson, York University 

The recipient of the 2000 Toronto Arts Award for film/video and the 2007 Bell Award in Video Art, John Greyson is a filmmaker, video artists, writer, activist and educator whose productions have won accolades at festivals throughout the world. Professor Greyson’s publications include Urinal and Other Stories (Power Plant/Art Metropole) and co-editor of Queer Looks, a critical anthology of gay/lesbian media theory (Routledge). He is a co-investigator on York’s Future Cinema Lab, a joint research project with Film Professors Janine Marchessault and Caitlin Fisher. Supported by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Future Cinema Lab is a state-of-the-art media research facility into new digital storytelling techniques and how these can critically transform a diverse array of state-of-the art screen-.


Dr. Catherine Kellogg, University of Alberta

Dr. Catherine Kellogg is Associate Professor in Political Science at University of Alberta. Dr. Kellogg’s research concerns the relationship between law, sovereignty and violence. Her first major research project was a book length study of deconstruction and law, “Law’s Trace: From Hegel to Derrida.” A second research project explored the relationship between sovereign power and human rights. Currently, Dr. Kellogg ‘s work explores the power of sovereign states to both protect and punish in a book length study that focuses on the legal limits to punishment. This work engages contemporary continental philosophy, moral philosophy, and psychoanalysis to work through such pressing problems as the hyper-racialized prison and mass incarceration. This project looks not only at prison reform but also at prison abolition.


Dr. Dorit Naaman, Queen’s University

Dorit Naaman is a documentarist and film theorist from Jerusalem, and a Professor of Film & Media, and Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. In 2016 she released an innovative interactive documentary, “Jerusalem, We Are Here,” offering a model for digital witnessing. The project creates a novel platform that documentarist Liz Miller claimed “will become a ‘go to’ reference for educators working on the intersections of new media, oral history, geography and more.” “Jerusalem, We Are Here” had its Canadian debut at the Montreal Documentary Film Festival in November 2016, its U.S. premiere in Berkley in February 2017, its Jerusalem premiere in May, and the Palestinian one in July 2017.



Silky Shah, Detention Watch

Silky Shah is Executive Director of Detention Watch Network (DWN), a national coalition exposing and challenging the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system. She has worked as an organizer on issues related to immigration detention, mass incarceration, and racial and migrant justice for over a decade. Prior to joining DWN in 2009, Silky worked with Grassroots Leadership fighting the expansion of immigrant jails on the U.S.-Mexico border and with the independent news program, Democracy Now!, supporting syndication and promotion of the show. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.


Dr. Sunera Thobani, University of British Columbia

Dr. Sunera Thobani is a feminist sociologist, academic, and activist. Her research interests include critical race theory, postcolonial feminism, anti-imperialism, Islamophobia, Indigeneity, carceral culture and the War on Terror. She is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. Thobani is also a founding member of Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equality/Equity (R.A.C.E.), the former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), and the director for the Centre for Race, Autobiography, Gender, and Age (RAGA) at UBC.


Dr. Rafeef Ziadah, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Rafeef Ziadah holds her doctorate from York University. In addition to her scholarly achievements she is an internationally celebrated spoken word artist, performance poet and human rights activist based in London, UK. She is currently Lecturer at SOAS University of London. Her research interests include labour movements and political economy, multiculturalism and critical race theory, with a particular focus on the Middle East and incarceration.


Dr. Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University

Jasmin Zine is Professor of Sociology and Muslim Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her publications focus on Islamic feminism; Muslim women’s studies; and Muslims and education in the Canadian diaspora. Her books include, “Canadian Islamic Schools: Unraveling the Politics of Faith, Gender, Knowledge and Identity” (2008) the first ethnography of Islamic schooling in North America; the edited collection “Islam in the Hinterlands: Muslim Cultural Politics in Canada” (2012); and a co-edited book (with Lisa K. Taylor) “Muslim Women, Transnational Feminism and the Ethics of Pedagogy: Contested Imaginaries in post-9/11 Cultural Practice” (2014). She has completed a six year long national study funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on the impact of 9/11, the ‘war on terror’ and domestic security discourses and policies on Muslim youth in Canada and is currently finishing a book manuscript based on this study tentatively titled “Under Siege: Islamophobia, Radicalization, Surveillance and Muslim Youth Counter Publics.”