Margot Francis

Associate Professor

PhD, OISE, University of Toronto
MEd, OISE, University of Toronto
BA, University of Western Ontario

My research and teaching interests are in the areas of Indigenous resurgence through artistic and community mobilization, feminist, decolonial and anti-racist activism challenging sexual/racial violence; and queer and intersectional approaches to sexualities. I use a range of approaches in my work from the study of cultural production (photography, theatre, performance, and film), to historical sociology to autoethnography. I teach courses on sexualities, feminism, and Indigenous studies. I have three current research projects: a) in the Body/Land/Sovereignty project I am collaborating with Shelley Niro and Sherri Vansickle to reflect on the insights from a photography project with youth from Six Nations; b) secondly, I am exploring how BIPOC student activism and Haudenosaunee youth performance work on sexual violence re-map what might be considered anti-violence activism; and c) working with Hijin Park and Leela MadhavaRau, we are developing a structural analysis of the experiences of non-white international students with racial and sexual violence. My research and community activism has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council, the Social Justice Research Institute and the Six Nations Community Development Trust as well as internal grants from Brock University. I hold a Ph.D. in Theory and Policy Studies from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (2002)

Explores how whiteness and Indigeneity are articulated through iconic images of Canadian identity – and the contradictory and contested meanings these images evoke. These benign, even kitschy symbols, she argues, are haunted by ideas about race, masculinity, and sexuality that circulated during the formative years of Anglo-Canadian nationhood. Through a richly illustrated text Francis explores how national symbols such as the beaver, the railway, the wilderness of Banff National Park, and ideas about ‘Indianness’ evoke nostalgic versions of a past that cannot be expelled of assimilated. The irony is that insofar as Canadians consume versions of a past that do not nourish, the living can themselves become ghostly. Juxtaposing historical images with work by contemporary artists she explores how artistic are giving taken-for-granted symbols new and suggestive meanings. From director Richard Fung’s Dirty Laundry, to the work of Indigenous artists Jeff Thomas and Kent Monkman, to Shauna Dempsey and Lorri Milan’s performance work Lesbian Park Rangers, the book explores how banal objects can be re-imagined in ways that offer the possibility of moving from an unproblematized possession by the past to an imaginative reconsideration of it.

Sarita Srivastava and Margot Francis, “The Problem of ‘Authentic Experience’: ‘Storytelling’ in Anti-Racism and Anti-Homophobia Education.” Critical Sociology. Special Issue on Race. 32(2-3): pp. 275-307. Wayne State University Press, 2006.

“The strange career of the Canadian beaver: anthropomorphic discourses and imperial history.” The Journal of Historical Sociology. Blackwell Publishers, July 2004.

“The Myth of Sexual Orientation: ‘field notes’ from the personal, pedagogical and historical discourses of identity,”in Maureen Fitzgerald and Scott Rayter eds. Queerly Canadian. Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2012.

“The Imaginary Indian: Unpacking the Romance of Domination,” in D. Brock, R. Raby and M. Thomas eds., Power and Everyday Practice, Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd., 2011.