Jasmine Rault is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the department of Arts, Culture, Media at University of Toronto Scarborough and the Faculty of Information at University of Toronto. Rault holds a PhD from McGill in Art History and Communication Studies. Rault’s research focuses on mediations of gender, race and sexuality in architecture and design, digital cultures and economies, arts and social movements. Their first book is Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In (2011), and recent essays are published in S&F Online (2017) and Feminist Media Studies (2017). (Settler, they/she)
T.L. Cowan is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies (Digital Media Cultures) in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC) and the Faculty of Information (iSchool) at the University of Toronto. Cowan holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Alberta. Cowan’s research focuses on cultural and intellectual economies and networks of minoritized digital media and performance practices.. Their most recent essays are published in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies (2016), More Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (2016, edited by Johanna Householder and Tanya Mars) and as part of Alexandra Juhasz’s #100 Hard Truths. Cowan’s scholarly-creative practice moves between page, stage, and screen. Recent notable commissions for their creative-critical work include the PlugIn Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Queens Museum in New York City, and Nuit Blanche in Toronto. Cowan is currently completing a monograph, Transmedial Drag: Cross-Platform Cabaret Methods. (Settler, they/she)
Together, Rault and Cowan write about research economies, Trans- Feminist & Queer (TFQ) research cultures and digital archives. In addition to the Digital Ethics Research Collaboratory (DREC) they are also co-directors of the Cabaret Commons: An Online Exhibition and Publication Space for Trans- Feminist & Queer Artists, Activists, Audiences and Researchers. Cowan and Rault are currently co-authoring a book, provisionally entitled Checking In: Experiments in Trans- Feminist & Queer Networked Intimate Publics. Their recent collaborative work includes, “Onlining Queer Acts: Digital Research Ethics and Caring for Risky Archives” (Women & Performance 28.2 2018); “Haven’t you ever heard of Tumblr? FemTechNet’s Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC), Pedagogical Publics, and Classroom Incivility” (in MOOCs and Their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education, ed. Elizabeth Losh, 2017); “The Labour of Being Studied in a Free Love Economy” (in ephemera: theory and politics in organization 2014) and “Speculative Praxis Toward a Queer Feminist Digital Archive” (co-authored with Dayna McLeod, in Ada: Gender, New Media, and Technology 2014).
DREC Project Management & Development
Jessica Caporusso, Senior Managing Editor & ICT Manager (2017-present). Jessica is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at York University. Her research interests meet at the intersection of political ecology, bioenergy, and discard studies. Her current dissertation project examines how “waste” — as an externality and as resource — is defined through neocolonial logics, by investigating the transformation of crop residues into biofuel feedstock in the small-island developing state of Mauritius. Jessica’s work explores the multiple and contested meanings of waste and value while also tracking the development of bioenergy as a source of energetic, political, and economic power. She is an active contributor of the Plant Studies Collaboratory and the Energy Working Group at York. (Settler, she, her)
Henria Aton, Project Manager and Managing Editor (2019-present). Henria is a Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, and a digital archivist. Her doctoral research focuses on the place of personal archives within women’s movements in Sri Lanka. By examining unofficial and under-recognized records and narratives of resistance, Henria’s work interrogates dominant archival theory in the contexts of South Asia. Henria has a collaborative specialization with U of T’s Centre for South Asian Studies, and she is a member of the Jackman Humanities Institute Tamil Studies working group. (Settler, she, her).
Chido Muchemwa, Contributing Editor (2019-present). Chido is a PhD student in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, a writer and an archivist. Her research focuses on the postcolonial national archives and the legacies of colonial archives. She is exploring what it might mean to decolonise an archive primarily within the context of the National Archives of Zimbabwe. (Settler, she, her)
Emily Simmonds was DREC’s first project manager (2017-2019) and helped to develop this project. Emily is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada. Her dissertation focuses on how the production of nuclear energy amplifies and sustains settler-colonial land relations, with a specific focus on how the injurious effects of uranium mining are made permissible and challenged. As a Métis – Settler feminist STS scholar, she is committed to learning how to best participate in the ongoing collective efforts of building and strengthening anti-colonial relations and solidarities. She is a member of the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) based in St. John’s NFLD, and the Technoscience Research Unit (TRU) in Toronto, ON. (Métis – Settler, She, They)
Cassius Adair is a scholar, writer, and media-maker based in Charlottesville, Virginia. For DREC, he is working on an essay series about trans research ethics and digital studies. His popular and scholarly writing has appeared in Avidly, Nursing Clio, American Quarterly, American Literature, Frontiers, and Transgender Studies Quarterly. He has contributed storytelling and audio production to numerous radio shows and podcasts, including StoryCorps, Michigan Radio’s Stateside, and the ACLU of Georgia’s Examining Justice. His works-in-progress include a scholarly monograph about transgender people and the internet, an edited collection about speculative approaches to higher education, and a collaborative book project (with the University of Michigan’s Precarity Lab) about digital labor and exploitation. As his day job, he helps produce a nationally-broadcast public radio show.
Naveen Minai holds a PhD in gender studies from UCLA and specializes in transnational sexuality studies, queer and trans masculinities, transnational visual and literary cultures in North America and South Asia, and diaspora studies.
Dr. Minai’s Research Project: The Desi Butch Archive
The Desi Butch Archive is an archival-analytic project. The goal is to work with desi queer and trans masculine identified communities in/across South Asia and North America to co-create a transnational digital archive of oral histories and literary, aural, and visual materials by our communities. I will collect archival contributions from desi queer and trans communities in multiple languages through personal connections within these communities across/in in Pakistan, the US, and Canada. An important part of this project is to map points of contact/conflict between postcolonial and settler colonial contexts, and to think carefully about how our vocabularies travel, translate, transfer — or don’t — and what these moments and spaces of contact between differently located queer and trans communities mean.
I want to think through sexuality, space, archive, and digitality to ask (i) How do digital spaces and digital archival spaces rework and redo our understandings of transnational? (ii) How do we think about digital archives as living archives? (iii) How do we think about digital archives as contact zone, narrative and narrativized space, and digital presence for queer and trans communities located in multiple points of time and place? (iv) What does access mean within a digital context for vulnerable communities across locations in the global south and the global north? (v) How do we understand data when data is lives and experiences of queer and trans communities often always already targeted for destruction through technologies of empire and state, including borders, surveillance, and control? (vi) What happens if we push our understandings of archive towards multiplicity of form, language, and aesthetics through the possibilities offered by digital technologies and spaces? (vii) How do we think about privacy and safety for vulnerable communities located in different social and geohistorical worlds when digital spaces and technologies have been weaponized and deployed for international surveillance, control, and violence?
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