Rise of anti-feminism in Canada topic of upcoming public lecture

Professor Emerita Janet Conway will return to Brock University next week for a public talk, “Anti-Feminism and the Rise of the Right in Liberal Canada.”

Hosted by the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, the event takes place Wednesday, March 22 from noon to 2 p.m. in Sankey Chamber as part of a third-year course in Gender and Society.

The talk will “build on decades of research on neoliberal austerity policies and the intersections of religions and nationalisms with sexism, racism and homophobia in Canadian society and globally,” says Mary-Beth Raddon, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology.

Associate Professor Margot Francis in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, who teaches SOCI/WGST 3P51, says that Conway has been conducting research for several years on “the rise of the right in Canada and in the West, and in particular on the role of anti-feminism in that process.”

“This is a real moment in terms of anti-trans messaging and anti-feminist messaging, as we can see from signs of the convoy protesters in Ottawa and the raft of new legislation that is being passed in the U.S. that is explicitly anti-trans and anti-LGBT,” Francis says. “We’re seeing the rise of a discourse that equates providing gender-affirming care for trans youth with child abuse. This discourse is actually quite new, so I’m particularly glad the class will get to hear from someone who’s been doing research in this area because it’s really having profound impacts.”

Francis says she looks forward to welcoming Conway to the class, which is organized as “a series of case studies to take up the ways in which gendered forms of regulation and resistance are unfolding in the contemporary moment.”

The students have also recently heard from members of the “Imagining Black and Indigenous Futurities” panel hosted on International Women’s Day and, most recently, from author Farzana Doctor, who spoke about Seven, her award-winning novel published in 2020.

Raddon is also eager for next week’s event, which gives Brock students another chance to hear from an influential member of her department. Conway, who came to Brock in 2007, held a Canada Research Chair in Social Justice from 2008 to 2018. She retired from the University in December.

“For 15 years, Brock’s Sociology Department enjoyed the distinction of being Janet Conway’s primary academic affiliation while she established an international reputation for scholarly research in transnational and popular feminisms, global social movements and the politics of social change,” says Raddon. “The Social Justice Research Institute and MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies benefitted from Janet’s superb facility with program governance and her willingness to share the heavy lifting of committee work during the critical formative years of the research institute and graduate program.”

Conway’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, the MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies, the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization and the Social Justice Research Institute.

All are welcome to attend.

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