Cultural Studies Speaker

Each year the Cultural Studies Program organizes a series of events with nationally and internationally recognized scholars and cultural practitioners. By offering public talks, seminars with students and faculty members, and community engagement activities, the annual Cultural Studies speakers contribute to facilitating interdisciplinary conversation on various cultural issues.

2019 Cultural Studies Speaker

R. Cassandra Lord is an Assistant Professor of Sexuality Studies in the Department of Historical Studies, Women and Gender Studies Program at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus with a graduate appointment in the Women and Gender Studies Institute (St. George campus).

Dr. Lord’s current book manuscript “Performing Queer Diasporas: Friendships, Proximities and Intimacies in Pride Parades” examines the public performance of “Pelau MasQUEERade,” a Caribbean queer diasporic group that participates in the annual Toronto Pride Parade. The group insists on new ways to belong by reaching out transnationally to the Caribbean and other diasporic sites as a way to envision how kinship, forged out of queer diasporic practices of affiliation, can be used as a model to build community.

Dr. Cassandra Lord will spend a week on campus from March 4 to 8 working with students, faculty and offering free public events.

Sensations of Moving on ‘de Road’: Performing Queer Diasporic Desire in Pelau MasQUEERade
Monday, March 4, 2019
2:00-3:30pm, UNC Ballroom (UNC 200)

This talk draws on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with participants of Pelau MasQUEERade, a Caribbean queer diasporic group of colour that participates in annual Toronto Pride Parade. The group draws on the history and tradition associated with Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Carnival, and at the same time utilizes a queer practice that rearranges traditional understandings of T&T Carnival. In this talk I demonstrate how the group’s performance uses Caribbean vernacular of ‘de road’ to translate into embodied ways of knowing. I argue that ‘de road’ is a pathway where connective histories and experiences are shared and expressed in the stories of Pelau MasQUEERade’s participants. I further discuss how desire and pleasure are revealed through performative act of ‘wining,’ a rhythmic expression which enables masqueeraders to express moments of joy and freedom to transform and claim the parade route as a Caribbean queer diasporic performative space.

Co-sponsored by the UBCSUO Pride Resource Centre, UBCO Equity and Inclusion Office, Community, Cultural, and Global Studies, History and Sociology, and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

We Have Always Been Here: Pelau MasQUEERade Disturbing Pride Toronto’s History, “Starting a Conversation” Brown Bag Research Talk
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
12:30-1:30pm, ART 368

This talk addresses the uneasy tensions and overlaps between race, sexuality, and citizenship, by focusing on the moments when queer diasporic people of colour slip ‘in’ and ‘out’ of Pride Toronto—the organization that hosts the annual Toronto LGBTT Pride Parade. Drawing on Pride Toronto’s 30th anniversary promotional material and five-year strategic plan, I apply a queer diaspora reading practice to problematize how white gays and lesbians are made central to queer history in Canada. The paper introduces Pelau MasQUEERade, a Caribbean queer diasporic group that participates in Pride parade, to reveal how queer diasporic people of colour disrupt and rework Pride Toronto’s de-racialized narrative in multiple and contradictory ways.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER)

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