Interdisciplinary Studies Events

Current Events 2020–2021

INST 2021 Colloquia

Thursday April 1, 9:20am–4:30pm

  • Kami Yang, Invisible People—Representation of Canadian youth homelessness in printed media during
    the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Neil Bose, Putting your money where your emotions are: The role of emotions in Pro- environmental consumer behavior
  • Hendrika Haasen, A Reading of Vincentian Redemption Songs
  • Clarence Cansicio, Accessible Emergency Technologies for Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Improve Accessibility in Emergency Technologies on Post-Secondary Campuses in Canada
  • Jihong Kim, The History of the Binary Gender Representations in the Cinema of the 1940s Korea: The Birth of a Patriarchy, a Culture, and the Body for Capitalism
  • Julia Bennett, Dancing Community in a Pandemic: Exploring screen-mediated wellbeing among vulnerable dancers during COVID-19
  • Catherine Mutune, East African Women in the Trenches—The Implicit Contradiction of the Federal Skilled Worker Program in Canada
  • Melanie Williams, Empire. Travel. Agency.
  • Derrick Williams, Black Masculinities and Legalized trauma
  • Holly Timpener, There is a Dissonance and Density within my Body: Disrupting Queer Trauma Through Performative Embodiment Practices
  • Julia Male, Pensivity and Potentiality: Understanding Faith and Abstraction Through the Bodies Proposed by Rob List and Deborah Hay
  • Rohina Kabir, The Rise of Chadaris: Analysis of the Ministry of Urban Development and Land (MUDL) in Building the City of Women in the Kabul Muncipility
  • Haily MacDonald, Community Development through Social Enterprise; A case study of a vertical farm social enterprise in Midland, Ontario for women with a lived experience of violence
  • James Ryan, Child Exposure, Slavery and Conversion
  • Meray Sadek, Young Terrorists or Young Innocents? Examining Canadian Public Policies in Repatriating and Integrating ISIS’s (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) Recruited and Exploited Children.


  • Interdisciplinary Studies Orientation
    Date: Thursday, September 3, 2020
    Time: 1:00–5:00 PM
    via zoom
  • IS Students' Meeting and Awards Ceremony
    Date: TBA
    via zoom

IS Information Session

  • Interdisciplinary Studies Fall Information Session for October 2020 Interested Applicants
    Date: TBA
    via zoom

IS 5000 Classes

  • Interdisciplinary Studies Classes One for First Year Students
    Date: Every Thursday, September to December, 2020
    Time: 11:00 AM–1:00 PM
    via zoom


  • Scholarship Workshop—First and Second Year Full-time
    Date: TBA
    via zoom
  • Convening a Successful Colloquium (Second Year Full-Time Students and Third Year Part-Time Students)
    Date: February TBA
    via zoom
  • Thesis Defence Workshop (Second Year Full-Time Students and Third and Fourth Year Part-Time Students)
    Date: February TBA
    via zoom
  • Thesis Proposal and Research Ethics Workshop—First year Full-time, Second and Third Year Part-time Students
    Date: February tba

IS Colloquia 2020

The Colloquia Presentation was held May via Zoom.
The second Presentation will be held in September, Date: TBA

Our Graduates in Happier Times

Our world has changed this year as we struggle to find our way in these challenging times—here's a look back at a previous convocation.

Graduate Recruitment Fair

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Fiona Fernandes, left, Graduate Program Assistant, and Samartha Gamble, alumna, assist at the Graduate Recruitment Fair

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Alumna Samartha Gamble (right) staffs the Interdisciplinary Studies table at the Graduate Recruitment Fair

2019 Annual General Meeting and Student Social

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Fiona Fernandes, left, Graduate Program Assistant, and Dr. Kym Bird, right, Graduate Program Director, talk to students during the 2019 Annual General Meeting and Student Social

photo of a group of people sitting in a room

Fiona Fernandes, left, Graduate Program Assistant, and Dr. Kym Bird, right, Graduate Program Director, talk to students during the 2019 Annual General Meeting and Student Social

2019 Fall Orientation

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Attendees at the Fall 2019 Orientation

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Attendees at the Fall 2019 Orientation

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Fiona Fernandes, Graduate Program Assistant (left) and Dr. Kym Bird, Graduate Program Director (right) at the 2019 Fall Orientation

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FGS Funding Liaison Sandra Yui, second from left, talks with students as part of the Fall 2019 Orientation

IS Colloquia 2019

The Colloquia Presentation will be held on March 21 and 28 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM in Rm. 626 Kaneff

Fall 2018 Orientation photos

Interdisciplinary Studies was delighted to host the Fall 2018 Orientation for their new students. We would like to thank FGS Dean Tom Loebel, and our guest speakers who contributed to making the event a success.

Dr Kym Bird, GPD, addressing the Fall 2018 cohort of graduate students

Dr Kym Bird, GPD, addressing the Fall 2018 cohort of graduate students

GPA Fiona Fernandes addressing the Fall 2018 cohort of graduate students

GPA Fiona Fernandes addressing the Fall 2018 cohort of graduate students

Alumna Terry Raymond dropped by Orientation

Alumna Terry Raymond dropped by Orientation

Students from the 2018 cohort of graduate students at Orientation

Students from the 2018 cohort of graduate students at Orientation

Students from the 2018 cohort of graduate students at Orientation

Students from the 2018 cohort of graduate students at Orientation

December 2017 IS Social and Director's Report

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Kym Bird, GPD and Fiona Fernandes GPA with students from the 2017 cohort at the IS end of term event.

Current Events 2018-19

IS Orientation

  • Interdisciplinary Studies Orientation

    • Date: Monday ,September 4, 2018
      Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
      Location:  901 Kaneff Tower

IS Students' Meeting and Awards Ceremony

  • Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019
    Time: 2:30 PM
    Location: 140 McL

IS Information Session

You really like asking questions, don't you?

You really like asking questions, don't you?

Interdisciplinary Studies Winter 2019 Information Session for September 2019 Interested Applicants

  • Date: Thursday, January 10
    Time: 1:30 PM
    Location:  140 McL

IS 5000 Classes

  • Interdisciplinary Studies Class Three for First Year Students

    • Date: Thursday, January 31, 2019
      Time: 12:00 PM
      Location: 221 Vanier College
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Class Two for First Year Students
    • Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018
      Time: 9:45 AM
      Location:  Room TBA
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Class One for First Year Students
    • Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
      Time: 9:45 AM
      Location:  tba


  • Scholarship  Workshop -  First  and Second Year Full time

    • Date: October 18, 2018
      Time: 3:00 - 4 PM
      Location:956 Kaneff Tower
  • Convening a Successful Colloquium (Second Year Full Time Students and Third Year Part Time Students)

    • Date: February 14, 2019
      Time: 11:00 AM
      Location:  280A YL
  • Thesis Defense Workshop (Second Year Full Time Students, Third and Fourth Year Part Time Students)
    • Date: February 14, 2019
       Time: 11:00 AM
      Location: 280A YL
  • Thesis Proposal and Research Ethics Workshop -  First year FT and Second and Third  Year PT Students

    • Date: February 28, 2019
      Time: 2:00 to 4:00 PM
      Location:  901 Kaneff

2016 End of Term Social and Director's Report

22 November 25, 2016

photo of GPD, Dr. Joseph DeSouza and GPA, Fiona Fernandes hosting the IS Christmas Party

GPD, Dr. Joseph DeSouza and GPA, Fiona Fernandes host the Interdisciplinary Studies Christmas Party.

A very warm thank you to all who attended our 2016 Interdisciplinary Studies Program Christmas Party/End of Term gathering.  It was a wonderful gathering of students and colleagues to celebrate the season. As always we had a great time. It was such a pleasure to enjoy great food and interaction together. Hope you all had fun and we look forward to seeing everyone in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all.

Samartha Gamble
IS Social Convener

Memories from the Interdisciplinary Studies Speaker and Year-End Reception

Welcome and Cleansing the Space with a Group Smudge



Superb Music Provided by Ryan Carter and Michael Mulrooney - thanks!


In Memorium  of IS Alum Dave Walker -



Reflections provided by Dr. Jamie Scott (read by F. Fernandes) and Dr. Caitlin Fisher



Inauguration of The Christopher Innes Interdisciplinary Studies Champion Award






(Above) Tom Cohen explains the new Award: IS Executive member and alum Dr. Gail Vanstone announces student award winners; IS Executive and program Founder Dr. Christopher Innes presents award to student recipients Keith Francis and Alejandro Mayoral Banos and Supervisory winner Dr. Celia Haig-Brown (below left) .


Celia Haig Brown 2016 Christopher Innes Champion Award









FGS Dean Barbara Crow (far right)  explains the significance of the FGS Teaching Award and 2016 recipient and IS supervisor Dr. Haig-Brown's unique contributions. (Below) IS students Johanna Lewis, Heather Bergen and Kaspar Saxena  explain what being supervised by Dr. Haig-Brown meant to their work and their experience of graduate school at York University. IS Supervisor (music) Dorothy Deval looks on — unaware she's about to win the coveted bring your supervisor award.



Dr. Deborah McGregor - 2016 Interdisciplinary Studies Thought Leader: 

2016 Interdisciplinary Studies Thought Leader GIFG









The Bring-a-Supervisor 2016 Award Winners ! 


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While incoming student Samartha Gamble brought her supervisor David McNally on her arm with the biggest smile ever — it was Ryan Carter and supervisor Dorothy De Val who take away the coveted (and really expensive) award for 2016.

Just Chillaxin' after a very busy year.









Deborah-McGregorINTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES SPEAKER SERIES & YEAR-END RECEPTION:  — April 20th , 2016  3 pm 140 McLaughlin


FEATURING  Interdisciplinary Thought Leader and Canada Research Chair Dr. Deborah McGregor. Join us for this exciting event followed by an end of year Reception featuring music from IS students, friendship and celebration of our accomplishments.


  1. Welcome Music –with IS student and Music InstructorMichael Mulrooney on Piano
  1. Welcome to the Day –Terri Raymond –ISGSA President 2015-2016 – Rebecca Barnstaple –IS Social Convenor 2015 - 2016
  2. Ceremonial Opening of the Space –Alejandro Mayoral Banos
  3. In Memoriam – Honoring IS Alumni Dave Walker - Caitlin Fisher, Fiona Fernandes
  4. Celebrating IS Supervisor Dr. Celia Haig-Brown- 2016 FGS Award recipient - Kaspar Saxena, Johanna Lewis & Heather Bergen
  1. Introduction of 2016 IS THOUGHT LEADER–Terri Raymond
  2. 2016 Interdisciplinary Thought Leader: Dr. Deborah McGregor: Indigenous Environmental Justice and Natural Law: An Interdisciplinary Discussion
  3. Thanking our Speaker –Alejandro Mayoral Banos & Rebecca Barnstaple
  4. IS Reception and Networking –featuring IS student  & Jazzy guy Ryan Carter on Sax


  • March 14th, 2016  2-4 pm Join your IS colleagues who are partnering with the       Graduate program in Social and Political Thought to explore racism, blood donation and policies. Poster below.

Transnational Blood Temporalities and Anti-Black Technologies of Donation Systems


Location:  223 McLaughlin College

February 24

Alejandro Mayoral Banos  

  • Time: 12:00pm – 1:00 pm
  • Title: Decolonizing Technology: Creation of an Indigenous Mobile Application in York University
  • Abstract: Analysis of the aspects and concepts that are fundamental for Indigenous Peoples in Toronto to decolonize technology through an exploration of the process of construction of a community mobile applications

Francine Buchner

  • Time: 1:00pm – 2:00 pm
  • Title: The Black Presence in the Old Testament: empowering youth to reach their highest selves
  • Abstract: What would you think if I told you that Adam has a wife and her name was not Eve. What would you say if I told you that Abraham was an Ethiopian? Who is Moses, really.  Black youth of the 21st century are suffering. They have been unfairly represented in the biblical books. God has been having conversations with God's people from the time of Abraham to the coming of Jesus because of the sin that Adam created. To reach one's highest self one must understand that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

March 9th , 2016

Debbie Gordon

  • Time: 12:00pm – 1:00 pm
  • Title: Reading transnational spaces: A visual inquiry into the production of Eglinton Avenue West
  • Abstract:  In the 1970s and 80s Little Jamaica was a lively representation of Jamaican culture. Today, there is a significant transition in progress; Little Jamaica seems to be disappearing. This inquiry takes this opportunity to engage the lenses that produce this space, including that of the researcher, by bringing attention to the complexity of visual representations within a transnational space. One of the many transnational spaces within Toronto, Little Jamaica is a multi-layered space and is shaped by many various subject positions. Focusing on the International Market area, I use photographs to pinpoint visual artefacts and through them, enter the discourse of this space. Through an interdisciplinary approach, I draw from the disciplines of Geography, Sociology, and Design, as well as interviews, to understand who the actors, systems, and influences are that contribute to its discourse and create its visual artefacts. The infrastructure and demographic changes behind Little Jamaica's “disappearance” are interpreted differently depending on the observer and their interests. This presentation highlights different lenses and their significance in how a space is understood.

Michael Asres

  • Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Title: Historical and Social Dynamic of Racial Violence in U.S.
  • Abstract: Much attention has been brought to the issue of racial violence in the United States, related to police killings of unarmed African American men Ferguson and New York. The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric garner in New York, has set the stage for many protest taking place across the United States, and many activists correctly pointing out that this is a sign of institutional racism that has been going on for many years. Although these statements are true, there is something to be said about the role violence in the African American experience. If one looks at recent studies of slavery, such as Sven Beckett’s Empire of Cotton and Edward Baptist’s the Half was never told, in would seem obvious that the violence, which governed the institution of slavery, was instrumental the control, discipline and punishment of African American bodies in general and African American labor in particular. The utilization of violence, or torture as Baptists calls it, I believed formed the very foundation of how state power controls African American populations for years to come. In this context violence is important to understand because it shines light of the various power and social dynamics that are taking place. This thesis aims to, first, trace the roots of violence towards African Americans, and secondly analyze the ways in which political, social and economical forces create conducive environment for killings of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric garner to take place.

March 16th, 2016

Johanna Lewis

  • Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm
  • Title: “Ask the Colonial Ghosts”: Intimate histories, harmful complicities, and the settling of the Canadian Prairies
  • Abstract: My thesis takes episodes from my personal and familial history as sites through which to explore the relationship between individual lives and larger structures, between family memory and collective histories, and between the colonial past and the colonial present. One of the entanglements that I unpack is the story of my ancestors who homesteaded in Saskatchewan in the early 1900s. I analyze the crucial role of ‘ordinary’ farmers like my family in the settler colonial projects of claiming land and dispossessing Indigenous peoples; the intersections of their stories with those of differently racialized settlers/arrivants and the on-the-ground establishment of white supremacy; and the ways that these histories are simultaneously memoralised and selectively disavowed, with ongoing consequences to how Canada imagines itself. My work aims to understand colonialism as something in which we are all concretely implicated, and to challenge both the erasure of unpalatable histories and the denial that these histories have anything to bear on our world today.

Ruth Tait  

  • Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
  • Title: Examination of the Transitioning of the Book from Print to Digital: Inspiration, Possibilities & Application
  • Abstract: My principal research questions are: what do we know today about the nature of the digital book? Building on this information, what future/s might there be for the book as it shifts (inevitably) away from paper volumes and into an e-book protocol, especially as regards deployment of marginal epistemologies, universal inclusivity, multiple authors, interdisciplinarity and alternative narratives? My research takes the form of both a thesis and a research-creation EPUB3 digital book. The subject of bees was chosen to provide the content that constitutes the digital book. This content serves more than one purpose: it showcases capabilities of the EPUB and also offers a way to consider alternatives to the Publishing Industry model – single author, market-driven narratives. These ideas form part of the discussion of the thesis. Using the protocols of Design, Film and Computer Science, I have worked toward answering these sub-questions: how might my design enhance the narrative I want to construct? What is set aside and what is gained by the use of the technology wrapping the e-book form? Given that my interest lies alternative narratives, what ways do media operate to privilege the desires of a power elite and is it reasonable/practical to point to the e-book as a possible recuperative medium of inclusivity? My concerns are those of a citizen activist and a creator. Looking at texts that examine our relationship to the book, to technology, design, marginal integration and integrated narratives, I examine the multidisciplinary context of the digital book in terms of these integrations and inclusivity.

March 30th, 2016

Rebecca Barnstaple  

  • Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
  • Title:  Movement in Mind: Dance, Self-Awareness and Sociality
  • Abstract: Dance is believed to have existed since the dawn of humanity, prevalent in all known cultures; by extension, dance seems deeply connected to what makes us human, and our embodied state. Given the centrality of this phenomenon, it seems odd that dance has only become an object of serious academic interest in the last twenty five years.  Why humans dance, and what dance is, are questions that have yet to be fully addressed.  Equally curious is the fact that we are now witnessing a loss of dance, or at least a change in practice - contemporary, technologized cultures are marked by a lack of communal dances, increased sedentariness, and physical isolation.  What are the implications of these retractions in our movement repertoires?  Could the current global epidemic of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety by somehow attributable to our loss of shared, meaningful movement practices?  I propose that perceived “mental disorders”, all of which have motor expressions, may be considered as types of movement disorders, and may be effectively treated through the application of dance and dance techniques. This has major implications for how we understand bodies, minds, health, function, and the place and importance of dance in society

 Ryan Carter

  • Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
  • Title: Critical Value Judgments in the Age of Technological Production: Exploring the Historical Dialectics of Rap Music
  • Abstract: The act of engagement with any object necessarily requires an act of judgment by an observing subject. In my thesis I explore the implications that social and political theories have on the daily judgments we make; specifically, regarding the engagement with rap music. The history of rap straddles both sides of the rapid advancement of the internet that occurred at the turn of the century. I would like to explore the moments of change where the meaning of dialectical concepts – such as use value/exchange value, cult value/exhibition value, and the role of authority and authenticity – shifts too far to either pole. By exploring the history of these concepts as they appear in rap culture, I hope to better understand how it is that songs and artists that promote violence, misogyny, and drug abuse are more mainstream than those that promote critical and positive values. The main dialectic that encompasses all others is form versus content, which is the heart of any discussion of aesthetics. My driving question for this discussion is to expand upon the timeless debate of aesthetics and ask: in an age of technological production, what is meant by form and what is meant by content?


May 31st , 2016

Muna Ali

  • Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  
  • Title: Anchored in Our Culture, Focused on Our Future: Exploring Second-Generation Somali Womanhood in Canada
  • Abstract: In Somali-Canadian communities – one of the largest African Diasporas in North America – gender, tribe, race, religion and other differences in experiences intersect to form complex and nuanced identities. Second-generation Somali-Canadians in Toronto specifically face serious challenges when navigating the intergenerational gap between their immigrant parents and Canadian peers. Living within the context of a Canadian society plagued by racism, Islamaphobia, and patriarchy, self-identified young Somali women face additional challenges as women, including traditionalist and patriarchal aspects of Somali culture. As such, these women women face unique struggles in establishing their identities, yet remain determined that their challenges should not limit them. The purpose of my research is to carve out an alternative space within current debates around gender, class, race, and religion, re-imagining these boundaries and the intersectionalities they occupy, in ways that can recognize the unique experiences of Somali-Canadian women. I am exploring how a new generation of young Somali women is emerging as feminists, empowered by both their Somali heritage and their Blackness, and exploring new ways of thinking about identity in terms of the past and present, the treatment of race within a historical context, and emerging definitions of womanhood within Somali culture in Canada.

Terri Raymond 

  • Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
  • Title: Sex Cells: The Complicity of Law, Medicine, and Society in the Institutionalization of Women in Ontario “Lunatic” Asylums, 1900-1935
  • Abstract: Who were the women labelled as unacceptable members of Canadian society due to their “moral insanity” or “feeble-mindedness” as determined by social agencies, medical professionals, and federal and provincial laws, and what was their fate?  My thesis interrogates the rationale for institutionalization of particular women in Ontario asylums at the turn of the 20th century through to the interwar period and the processes by which they were confined. To avoid presenting the women as solely patients because being a patient was only one segment of their lives and not necessarily a defining characteristic, each chapter in my thesis follows a cradle to grave style narrative of a specific woman who was institutionalized via a summary conviction.  These women were chosen from amongst hundreds of psychiatric patient files to represent four categories; one, white women who were born in Canada; two, women born outside of Canada and later deported back to their home country; three, women of colour; four, First Nations women. Their biographies will illuminate the powers of the state over some of the most vulnerable members of society and provide historical context to constructs of patriarchy, sexuality, morality, racism, classism and eugenics.


FINAL 2016 FULL Colloquium Schedule