I am honored to have received a SSHRC Insight Grant to collect histories of AIDS activism; Gary Kinsman and I will be working on this until the fall of 2018, along with a fabulous crew of research assistants and co-researchers.
Broadly, my research examines how we work with situated, relational subjectivity in the context of aiming to transform the social world that shapes us. I’m especially interested in points of friction in political formation, particularly gender, (dis)ability, and race. How are categories of difference like these simultaneously fictions and material realities? What does it mean to pursue flourishing in the context of oppression? How are “big” political categories subjectively and personally experienced and worked with?
I am currently engaged in three interconnected research tracks, each of which approaches these questions. First, I write about how medical technologies intertwine with state-mandated classificatory systems in shaping people’s subjectivities and selfhood – and, by extension, how people both take up and resist the work of classification. Second, I look into the ethical implications of understanding embodiment as a collaborative and relational process that complexly ties together the social and the personal. Third, I investigate how these two threads – state classificatory work and the agency of embodiment – relate to questions of agency, consent, and choice in the context of political difference, particularly when the implications for embodied choices ripple beyond individual moral actors. In this last thread I look into how we might respond (better) to being responsible for wrongs that are bigger than we can individually solve — wrongs such as colonialism, environmental devastation, poverty, and oppression.
Topically, I work on gender formation, queer direct action organizing around AIDS and its effects, the always-impure political and ethical choices of consuming energy and food, race and racialization, possibilities for settler participation in decolonization, and critical disability visions for transformation.