Geraldine Pratt


Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Blood work: racial economies of plasma extraction in the US south (2022)

The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.

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Coloniality and solidarity: an intersectional study of the relationship between the Turkish Feminist Movement and the Kurdish Women's Movement since the 1980s (2021)

This dissertation examines the relationship between the Turkish Feminist Movement (TFM) and the Kurdish Women’s Movement (KWM) since the 1980s. Specifically, it offers a contrapuntal history of their face-to-face encounters narrated through a critical decolonial intersectional lens. I explore how Turkish and Kurdish anti-patriarchal subjectivities were formed historically, how they represent the (post)colonial self and the Other today, how coloniality racializes their core ideas on statehood, patriarchy, and women’s liberation and informs their solidarity work. I observe that the KWM aims to present Kurdistan as a transformative counter-topography to the Turkish nation-state, its foundational ontology, as well as its socialist and feminist opposition. Working with interviews and observations made in a two-year-long fieldwork and primary texts of the movements, I trace the feminist negotiations that take place on the Diyarbakır-Istanbul axis, the political capital of Northern Kurdistan and the cultural capital of western Turkey respectively. Inspired by radical anti-colonial/anti-racist traditions of Black, Indigenous (including Kurdish), Third World and other feminisms of color, I first examine the respective approaches of the TFM and the KWM to intersectionality of oppression. Second, I attempt a deconstructive analysis of the constitution of “postcolonial whiteness” within the TFM and Turkish feminist gestures to justify essentialisms and boundaries of solidarity. This dissertation finds that anti-system Turkish feminisms continue to be shaped by a race-and-coloniality-denying, universalist ontology, despite a shift from a developmentalist to a multiculturalist frame after the 2000s. Turkish feminist relations with the KWM reproduce Turkishness, statehood, and colonial interdependence in subtle forms, even as most Turkish allies identify as anti-nationalist. On a political level, I argue that engaging with Kurdish and other Indigenous women’s situated knowledge and critique might help Western-centric, gender-primary Turkish feminism and other feminisms emerging in dominant (post)colonial nations transcend a political horizon delimited by state recognition, and move towards community-oriented, pluriversal/confederal coalitions accountable to Indigenous self-determination. More broadly, this work seeks to further an academic tradition in the Third World/postcolonial context that takes racism and coloniality as a point of departure in analysis and examines whiteness not only in relation to the West, but also non-Western, postcolonial modes of identification.

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Risky investments: turning return migrants and national heroes into entrepreneurs in the Philippines (2021)

This dissertation “follows the policy” of return and reintegration for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Philippines. At once a global policy model and migration policy specific to and rooted in the very labor and economic conditions of the Philippines, the reintegration examined here is as socio-spatial process constituted and shaped by various actors, subjects and institutions. Specifically, it asks why and how reintegration policies are facilitated at this very conjuncture of Philippine labor export history through an investigation of interconnected sites. First, I outline the “return assemblage” composed of state agencies, non-governmental organizations and private institutions invested in the return migration of OFWs. Then, I conduct a close study of what “reintegration” means for a self-organized, volunteer group of middling migrants who conduct financial literacy and entrepreneurship training for OFWs. Lastly, I continue my ethnographic and interview-based research with farmworkers from Japan and Vancouver, BC to examine how small enterprise has become the newest form of “gambling” for life and survival in Benguet, a region north of the Philippines. This dissertation contends that reintegration as it stands today is primarily built on the neoliberal logic that return migrants must be transformed first into financial literate subjects, and then into “entrepreneurs” who will eventually invest in the Philippines. Thus, rather than ensure sustainable lives for migrant returnees, this study argues that reintegration functions as governance and development strategy that seeks to transforms OFWs into self-reliant subjects in the midst of the state’s withdrawal of any social welfare for its returning citizens. It suggests that questions of migrant reintegration today impel a theoretical and methodological return to the colonial and imperial legacies of neoliberal development policies such as entrepreneurship and livelihood programs in the Philippines. In doing so, my study reveals how processes of migrant reintegration exacerbate long-enduring governance mechanisms for the nation’s surplus populations. By taking this deeper and expansive view of Philippine migrant reintegration across its multiple spaces, this dissertation contributes to critical scholarship on the areas of migration-development nexus, migration governance, financialization and shaping of financial subjectivities, and the ongoing processes of neoliberalization in the Global South.

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Conceiving abnormality (2020)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) has transformed how we understand, study, and reproduce human life, generating novel biological entities and possibilities. This dissertation takes shape around one such novelty: the abnormal IVF embryo. Over the last decade, the diagnosis of embryonic abnormality has become central to fertility science and practice. Today, over one third of IVF embryos produced in the U.S. are designated abnormal on the basis of their genetic makeup. My project delves into the complex world of these vexed biological entities, examining the apparatuses through which they come into being and through which they are variably stripped of and imbued with value. Drawing on feminist and crip theory, feminist political economy, science and technology studies, and my own multi-site, multi-methods research, I ask: What worlds of knowledge might be read from the abnormal embryo?The dissertation makes three main arguments. First, it determines that IVF has precipitated a respatialization of reproduction from within to outside the body. Others have examined the subsequent geographical expansion of reproductive networks. But less attention has been paid to the deepening of the capitalist and scientific interest into the biotic space inside embryos – what I term “involution”. In the context of fertility treatment, involution has catalyzed the birth of the abnormal embryo that is my interest. The designation of embryos as abnormal on the basis of their genetic makeup reflects deeply held assumptions about the healthy bodies we are supposed (to want) to have and reproduce. This is my second major argument. Understandings of abnormality are steeped in socio-cultural ideals of health, able-bodiedness, neuro-typicality, and sexual dimorphism. The fertility clinic is thus a key – and until now, overlooked – site in the discursive and material reproduction of the normal, healthy body. Finally, I argue that the reproduction of the healthy body in this context is also productive for the bioeconomy. In addition to generating profits in the fertility clinic, embryo genetic screening has created a reserve of surplus embryos seen to have no future life potential. Classified as waste in the fertility clinic, these embryos have complex and contested afterlives as valuable technoscientific objects.

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The water we call home: five generations of Indigenous women's resistance along the Salish Sea (2020)

This dissertation foregrounds that which has receded from view. On one hand, it is about the material effects of settler colonial logics of elimination; the disappearance of Indigenous women from settler archives and commissions and the separation of fish, water, and land. On the other, it is about the persistence of Indigenous relationships to fish, water, and family along the Salish Sea. This dissertation is structured around two main questions. First: What are the logics and materialities of settler archives? A second question follows: How is settler colonial occlusion and dispossession resisted and subverted by connections held by Indigenous women to water, fish, and family? To answer these questions, I develop a methodological approach that involves close collaboration with Rosemary Georgeson, a Coast Salish and Sahtu Dene fisherman, storyteller, and playwright. Much of the empirical work of this dissertation has centered on us finding her Indigenous grandmothers Tlahoholt and Sar-Augh-Ta-Naogh and reconnecting with their descendants. In the first part of the dissertation I trace the disappearance of Rosemary's Indigenous grandmothers and of Coast Salish women from archives, Commission transcripts, and local histories. In the second, I turn away from the settler archive and the stories that it animates to argue for the importance of refusing archival recovery. Instead, I turn towards collaborating with Rosemary to share part of the story of her family in relation to water, fish, and urbanization. This turning away takes two forms; a film (Chapter 6) and a co-authored article (Chapter 7). Ultimately, this thesis develops a unique decolonizing methodological approach to archival research that reveals the endurance of connections and strengthens Indigenous futurities.

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Outsourcing the border: recruiters and sovereign power in labour migration to Canada (2019)

Drawing on multi-sited qualitative fieldwork, this dissertation examines the recruitment and migration process of temporary migrants through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for work in lower-skilled jobs in Western Canada. Situated in an understanding of Canada as a recruited nation, I trace shifts in immigration policy that prioritize economic development and which have led to more market-driven and temporary migration flows. With a focus on recruitment practices, the dissertation contributes to theorizations of the “migration industry.” I take third-party recruiters, labour market intermediaries who facilitate and regulate migrant flows, as an entry point for considering how practices of gatekeeping and brokering (re)produce migrant subjects and the borders of the state. My analysis focuses on more “legitimate” recruiters because of an interest in disclosing power relationships in the legal, everyday business of recruitment. It reveals that even as some recruiters provide significant assistance and care, their actions and motivations can also produce and intensify precarity for migrant workers vis-à-vis their employers and the state. At the heart of this dissertation is an argument about configurations of state power—specifically, about forms and spatializations of sovereign power. My analysis examines the position of recruiters within the labour migration cycle and how their interactions with the state enable their legitimation as mobile bordering agents. I posit that recruiters are “petty sovereigns,” who make largely unsupervised and discretionary decisions that impact migrant access to the transnational labour market and the Canadian nation-state. These decisions play out in a transnational sphere, at the front-end of the migration process, and in spaces beyond Canadian jurisdiction. In a market-driven context, the devolution and outsourcing of migrant selection and admission from the state to employers, and employers to contracted third-party recruiters, effectively contributes to the contracting out of accountability. While they are integral to the regulation of labour markets and cross-border flows, recruiters remain largely invisible in many accounts of migration, and one objective of this dissertation is to write these agential actors into larger discourses on neoliberal governance and migration management.

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Gendered sexualities in migration: play, pageantry, and the politics of performing Filipino-ness in settler colonial Canada (2017)

This dissertation examines the sexualities of Filipino/as in Canada who live and work on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples (Vancouver). Specifically, it sketches out how gender and sexual paradigms in the Philippines are brought to Canada through labour migration and are re-scripted in relation to racial, gender and sexual regimes in Canada. I examine how these negotiations take shape at three particular sites and community-organized spaces. The first site in which I attend to the making of sexualities is at Filipino basketball leagues and games organized in the local community. The second site is at community-organized beauty and religious pageants. And finally, I consider how sexualities are being articulated and worked with by self-identifying Filipino/a queer, lesbian, gay and transgender organizers and activists. I work with interviews and observations I collected at each of these community-organized spaces. To analyze how sexualities are negotiated at these sites, I use a queer diaspora, queer of colour and transnational framework that attempts to be mindful of Indigenous critiques that urge for scholarship to take into account the ongoing processes of colonialism in settler colonial nations like Canada. The dissertation suggests that sexualities taking shape at basketball games, beauty pageants and in Filipino/a queer spaces are influenced by dominant racial, gender and sexual paradigms formed in the Philippines' colonial encounters at the same time as they are negotiated in relation to normative white heteropatriarchal settler colonial logics in Canada. More broadly I argue that the racialized, classed and gendered sexualities of Filipino/as are being made and remade in the overlapping colonial and capitalist geographies of Canada's and the Philippines' distinct nation-building projects. I suggest that engaging with these geographies poses critical questions of place and politics for Filipina/os in Canada by offering ways of understanding nation that might wear away at the normalizing logics.

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Foreign born soldiers and the ambivalent spaces of citizenship (2012)

Foreign-Born Soldiers and the Ambivalent Spaces of Citizenship examines the interlocking politics of immigration and citizenship, labor and militarism, and race and gender. I explore two cases of militarized citizenship: Filipino recruits in the U.S. military and Nepalese Gurkha soldiers in the British Army. The bulk of the thesis engages the lives of Filipino migrants who enlist in the U.S. military as a collective pathway to American citizenship for themselves and their families. Filipino nationals comprise the highest percentage of foreign-born military recruits, a trend enabled by the fact that U.S. citizenship is not required to serve in the armed forces and promoted by the colonial history of the U.S. in the Philippines. Filipinos are the only foreign-born nationals permitted to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces without having to immigrate to the United States. Filipinos, in other words, are the exception to the permanent residency requirement necessary to join the U.S. military. Citizenship is, however, granted posthumously to any “alien” or “non-citizen national” whose death occurs on active duty, providing a legal “death dividend” for surviving relatives. I observe how the working lives of these migrants illuminate the new mobility of global (militarized) labor, a form of economic discipline facilitated by the state in the era of flexible accumulation. Over a period of twelve months, I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Filipino military families in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the cases under study, the families of U.S. military personnel killed in action refused – in political protest – the offer of posthumous citizenship. These testimonies illuminate and juxtapose mundane and spectacular instances of state violence against agents of the state and their next of kin in a way that reveals conflicts inherent to incorporation and resistance internal to enlistment.

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Unmapping the Metropolis: Urban Restructuring, Governmental Logics, and Adivasi Rights in Liberalizing Ahmedabad (2010)

This thesis examines the struggles and conditions of Baoris and Chharas, two adivasi(indigenous) communities living in Ahmedabad, India. It engages with the histories through which these communities were transformed into criminalized populations under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. As mapped Criminal Tribes, Baoris and Chharas were brought into a repressive policy apparatus designed to discipline and regulate, control and reform subaltern adivasi populations. This work documents the effects of this history in the post-colonial present. I assess Baoris and Chharas’ differentiated inclusion and exclusion within the long and troubled trajectory of India’s governmental power. Their struggles are situated within the dramatic recalibration of governmental logics and urban restructuring within the liberalizing metropolis. I consider the negotiation of rights and entitlements in a time and place wherein the Indian state is jettisoning its constitutional responsibilities to provide social welfare and democratic justice. This work argues that liberalization produces the informal to push the poor beyond the pale of legality, and suspend the possibility of accessing the technologies and categories of formal governance. I examine how the un-mapping of responsibilities, rights, and visibilities represents a central mechanism driving an emergent urban developmentalism that is reordering the city’s moral, legal and physical landscapes. Just as Baoris and Chharas’ experiences figure the greater erosion of rights and entitlements, their organizing also demonstrates how the developmental and rights-protecting apparatus of the Indian state remains a critical site of oppositional politics. I document their attempts to access and exercise technologies of governing in order to position themselves as legible populations within the classifications and categories of state power.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Housing language in Vancouver (2023)

In April 2021, Vancouver City Council approved a motion to “improve social housing” by upzoning two residential districts on the east and south sides of the city from four to six stories. Densification, city planners and officials argued, would not only unlock federal funding to help redevelop some 100+ “non-market,” “aging” properties; it would also help concentrate, and thus decarbonize, the city’s energy-inefficient sub-urban form. In a win-win move, Vancouver could fight the housing and climate crises with a single policy. This project investigates how a language of housing redevelopment has worked in the (re)production of Vancouver, British Columbia over the last century.Chapter 1 is a wide history of ‘density’ in three acts. First, in the early 20th century, early Vancouver planners institutionalized a technology of density to defend against the overcrowded slum, by then a global and feared scourge. Second, in the wake of urban renewal, a group of insurgent planners turned density from ‘bad’ to also ‘good’, and a metaphor of densification was articulated to help propel an intensifying process of urban redevelopment. And third, in the early 2000s, a failed attempt to enshrine EcoDensity into the charter of the city nonetheless lives on in the spirit of city policy.Chapter 2 is a case study of a particular affordable housing redevelopment. Less than a month after the 2021 rezoning passed City Council, the nonprofit housing provider Entre Nous Femme (ENF) informed tenants at Alma Blackwell—a 44-unit, mixed-used social housing complex it owns in East Vancouver—that the property would be demolished and rebuilt with double the stock. While density was a key catalyst and rationale for redevelopment, I argue that public divestment from the housing sector transformed both landlord and tenants alike, and between them was deployed contested visions of ‘community’ to justify and resist redevelopment.Chapter 3 is a history of the demoviction, a portmanteau invented by tenants in the neighboring city of Burnaby and used by Alma Blackwell tenants to contest redevelopment. I argue the concept works by foregrounding the byproducts of redevelopment—the evicted tenant and the demolished building.

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Fugitivity, sound, and sanctuary: listening for stories beyond the bounds of citizenship (2022)

How can audio stories help create a kind of transformative sanctuary and alternate public presence for those excluded from state belonging? How can this practice both embody and cultivate a politics of resonance that disrupts dominant narratives of the migrant other, while avoiding the indulgences of liberal white empathy? These are the questions at the heart of this research project. The research emerged from a collaborative project between the Migrant Workers Center (MWC) in Vancouver, BC, Dr. Geraldine Pratt, Dr. Vanessa Banta, and the author. We interviewed temporary foreign workers about their experiences during COVID-19. While the pandemic impacted these people in expected ways, our interviews revealed the extra vulnerabilities to which they were subject specifically as noncitizens, due to certain immigration policies that severely restrict their employment options and leave them open to exploitation. This was the political context of the research. However, the analysis of this thesis concerns the personal stories within this context; specifically, personal stories as sonic encounters and as narratives cultivated with politically marginalized people by empathetic white researchers in positions of relative power. Sound mingles with the Black radical tradition through the concept of fugitivity, which provides an essential current through and for these stories: the lives that flourish beyond the dominant political and epistemic forms that exclude them may be sounded out otherwise. Critical feminist concepts of listening and voice, and the proper figure of the human inhere in these concerns, along with the vibrant materialism of soundwaves in their literal, figurative, and political capacities. For a ‘sonic sensibility’ that has transformative capacities, the conditions for listening must be tended, along with critical practices of listening and accompaniment that displace the ‘structuring dominance of white life.’ Through the multivalent intimacy of sonic methods, personal stories may sound out places of transformative sanctuary. The suite of audio stories that comprise this project’s data, analysis, and outcomes are one way of attempting to embody this possibility.

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Geographies of waiting: the (im)mobilities of Venezuelan migrant women in Colombia (2021)

Some Colombian media outlets have reproduced “on the move” narratives to portray the lives of some Venezuelan migrants in Colombia. These narratives have concealed some instances of waiting that some Venezuelan migrant women inhabit every day. These narratives have largely contributed to rendering their lives precarious, seeding a public urgency to securitize and immobilize their movement. Using semi-structured interviews, content analysis, and hashtag research, this thesis centers the voices of a number of Venezuelan women whose stories offer a nuanced understanding of the ways the Colombian and Venezuelan states have marginalized them by creating some policies that structure instances of waiting that they experience. My analysis contends that despite the efforts of the Colombian state to receive millions of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, some migration policies have (im)mobilized some Venezuelan migrants, placing them on the margins of society. I explore the ways some Colombian migration policies have largely structured long periods of waiting and uncertainty that some Venezuelan women experience. I then put their migrant stories into circulation to document family separation (and its temporality of waiting) that some Venezuelan migrant mothers negotiate when they engage in the emotional work of transnational mothering. Finally, I draw on their stories to illustrate the ways some Venezuelan women (re)purpose instances of waiting into meaningful time, negotiating ambivalence, and thereby rejecting to wait patiently and docilely. This thesis then unsettles single-narrated “on the move” narratives by rendering visible the geography of waiting, which some Venezuelan migrant women endure, at times painfully, in pursuit of their migration aspirations.

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"Just add colour": unintended whiteness in Vancouver theatre and arts and culture policies in Canada (2018)

Common around the world, the arts are considered an expression of culture and are a powerful vehicle for communicating and understanding a nation’s values and collective identity. Diversity is often considered a defining characteristic of Canadian identity, but the arts in Canada has long struggled with its own lack of diversity. This thesis explores the relationship between Canada’s multiculturalism and cultural policies, and how this relationship has resulted in an unintended whiteness in Canadian arts and culture. Focusing on theatre in Greater Vancouver, this relationship is illustrated in two ways: the first, an exploration of artistic expression outside of Canada’s official languages which demonstrate the limiting effects of bilingualism policies on linguistic and cultural expression in Canada, and explores transnationalism as a possible catalyst for new constructions of culture, citizenship, and belonging. The second example explores how theatre practitioners in Greater Vancouver conceptualize, create, and understand diversity in specific ways that perpetuate the invisible hierarchies of whiteness, and make it difficult for diversity to become part of the mainstream. For theatre artists and organizations in Vancouver, diversity has been defined as racialized difference and power dynamics that have resulted in a continued othering. I argue that this relationship ultimately results in a preference for and reproduction of Eurocentric models and artistic values. This thesis questions the role and responsibility of Canadian cultural institutions as accurate representations of “Canadian” identity, and advocates for innovative approaches to cultural policy that would better serve and leverage the unique potential and role of cultural communities in Canada.

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Bare care: working within/reworking restructured long-term care (2018)

In the past nearly two decades in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, the provincial government has restructured its responsibility for elder care, ceded to the private and financial sector an ever more prominent role, and opened up investment potentials for global capital. With this as context, I investigate the political economic developments and priorities, as well as everyday and uneven geographies of long-term care sector restructuring. Through comparative ethnographic case studies in a for-profit and a non-profit care facility in Vancouver, B.C., I explore how restructuring shapes the everyday conditions, practices, and relations of work and care.Drawing on workers’ experiences and perspectives, I generate a nuanced and intimate account of care work reorganization and labour process change. Understanding labour as embodied, I look at how workers’ bodies and subjectivities are enrolled into and affected by restructuring. I find that restructured care work entails dehumanization and is premised on the expendability of workers’ bodies, and emotional and mental energies. But it also contradictorily requires, cultivates, and draws on workers’ emotional labour to ensure quality care under deteriorating conditions. I look at how the embodied impacts of restructuring, including work intensification, injuries, and burnout, erode workers’ quality of life, future security, and even their family relations. I also explore the potentials and limitations of institutional and worker strategies that are employed to manage, buffer, or exploit restructured care settings.Disrupting dominant conceptions of restructuring as rigid and uniform, these case studies show that restructuring processes and outcomes are not only flexible and particular, but are mediated by a constellation of actors, motivations, relationships, and practices. They also revealthat very different levels of care and quality of work, as well as distinct forms of privatization, emerge from the same restructured residential care system. Overwhelmingly, state and capital’s neglect of the basic requirements for quality care and work results in deficits that are borne by frontline caregivers as well as those who must survive within this regime of care. At the same time, the work these caregivers do to fill the gaps in care ultimately aligns with and enables state and capital interests.

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Performing the Nation at the Frontier: Filipino Immigration and Settlement in Whitehorse, Yukon (2016)

Over the past decade, Whitehorse, Yukon has emerged as a prominent site of settlement for Filipino newcomers to Canada. The phenomenon largely results from the implementation of new immigration policy in Yukon (starting in 2007) combined with regional economic growth, particularly in the mining sector. On the surface, immigration to Yukon - ostensibly ‘employer driven,’ with Filipino newcomers primarily finding employment in the service sector - bears resemblances to trends observed elsewhere in Canada. Yet the service sector Filipino workers who increasingly feature in the Yukon’s economy do so as permanent, not temporary, immigrants with the right to settle in Canada. This thesis explores the implications of this dynamic, situating it at the broader intersection of immigration and settler colonialism. I demonstrate how new narratives of northern settlement are enrolled in nation-building discourses of multiculturalism that circulate in and about Yukon. I stress how policy discourses support the essentialization of First Nations and Filipino histories. I also argue that state policies locate immigrants and local Indigenous peoples in competitive labor dynamics. In effect, Yukon’s immigration policy demonstrates how the governing of difference also involves processes of governing by difference – infusing performances of national belonging with powerful state imperatives.

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Tracing knowledge and the law: The missing women commission of inquiry (2013)

In response to public concern over the prolonged serial killings of Vancouver’s Missing Women, in 2010 British Columbia’s provincial government called a public inquiry into the police investigation of Robert William Pickton, the convicted murderer of six women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Commissions of Inquiry advocates suggest that the quasi-legal framework makes it an ideal tool for exploring this case of juridico-political silence. As an inclusive and collaborative process, public inquiries create a space for hearing the voices that might be silenced in a formal trial. And yet, accounts of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI) suggest that it was a highly divisive and exclusionary process. This thesis explores the empirical details of the MWCI asking how modes of knowledge production are mobilized within the legal space it generates and with what effect. Drawing on inquiry transcripts, interviews with legal professionals and community organizers, and theoretical contributions from critical legal studies, performance studies, and archive theory, I query the epistemological and ontological exclusions that shaped the MWCI and their rootedness in naturalized legal codes and categories.

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Holding spaces: geographies of Filipino-Canadian students' educational experiences (2011)

This thesis is concerned with the educational aspirations and outcomes of Filipino-Canadian youth. Rendered by scholars as an anomaly to established patterns of academic achievement, integration, and social mobility among immigrants in Canada, children of first generation Filipino immigrants are neither meeting nor exceeding the levels of education attained by their parents. While a framing concerned with outcomes is useful for signaling issues around the integration of immigrants in Canada, there remains a need to interrogate how and where Filipino students are produced as different.This thesis seeks to explore ways of approaching the question of how to make sense of the less-than-expected educational achievements and outcomes of Filipino-Canadian youth. Based on interviews and focus groups with 46 Filipino high school students from two different Vancouver public high schools, I attend to the ways in which Filipino youth negotiate both time and space in their transnational and educational experiences. The thesis deals with the particular geographies in Filipino-Canadian students' experiences migrating to, and/or growing up in Canada, and their lives as high school students. In particular, I focus on spaces in the students' transnational and high school lives that can highlight conditions that help to shape their educational aspirations and trajectories.

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The politics of accounting for refugees (2011)

Refugees are presented to citizen-subjects in ambivalent terms. They are included within national systems of meaning as subjects that are desired; as subjects innocent of wrong-doing and who maintain the legal right to seek and to enjoy asylum where they see fit. Yet at the same time material and symbolic opportunities to exclude refugees abound. I analyze the furore at the arrival of the MV Sun Sea, a boat of Tamil asylum-seekers, to the shores of British Columbia, to argue that in this case, subjects that would normally be recognized as refugees with little difficulty, were rendered absolutely other; embodiments of an inhumanity that provided citizen-subjects with the sense that their rights could be casually forgotten. I ask the reader to consider the constitutive exclusions necessary to think and practice the refugee as a subject of the law and examine lay and advocate attempts to resignify the refugee with different values; to make the refugee of value to the nation as a productive body and as one that shared a being-in-common with the “fictive we” of the nation. My work with Refugee Community Organizations in London, England, calls into question the value of likeness for the political practice of relating to refugees, arguing that an attempt to become like refugees is bound to be inattentive to the very important ways in which unlikeness anchors all practices of becoming. Finally I engage with refugee story-telling to ask what must be left unexplained to promote a non-violent ethics of relation.

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