Mark Harris

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Indigenous rights
land claims
the stolen generations
intellectual property
criminal justice issues
Cultural Heritage
postcolonial legal theory

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

Transformative justice responses to gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence (2023)

Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC), trans and queer people, people with disabilities, migrants, sex workers, and other multiply-marginalized people face discrimination, criminalization, and violence at the hands of the Canadian colonial carceral system, including when they seek justice for experiences of gender-based violence (GBV), intimate partner violence (IPV), and sexual violence. However, community-based forms of justice present alternatives for marginalized people who cannot access justice in the criminal legal system. One alternative form of justice that emerges from Black feminist communities and has been practiced by a variety of marginalized communities for decades is Transformative Justice (TJ). TJ is a unique form of alternative justice in that it is explicitly abolitionist and focuses on transforming systemic conditions that perpetuate violence. While TJ processes can address a variety of harms, in this thesis, I focus particularly on TJ responses to GBV, IPV, and sexual violence.Recently, two Canadian nonprofits, Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre and WomenatthecentrE, launched TJ pilot projects. These pilot projects represent a turn away from the colonial, carceral logics that uphold the criminal legal system. Through interviews with one member of Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre and one member of WomenatthecentrE, as well as an examination of their reports and websites, I investigated the alternative logics present in these pilot projects. I found that the logics of community relationality, responsibility, and compassion, survivor-centering, recognition of humanity, consent, accountability, humility, flexibility, and addressing the roots of violence all challenge the colonial carceral logics that feminist anti-violence nonprofits have historically upheld. Furthermore, I found that Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre and WomenatthecentrE’s efforts toward coalition-building, information sharing, monitoring the criminal legal system, and redirecting state financial resources all fit within a “spectrum of decarceration” (Terwiel 421). The risk of formalizing TJ could result in sacrificing its abolitionist and transformative aspects. However, I argue that, so long as nonprofits stay true to logics that challenge the colonial, carceral system, the recent turn toward alternative forms of justice in feminist antiviolence nonprofits is a net positive for survivors.

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