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Panel Information #solidarityisforwhitewomen: Exploring Alliance, Diversity, and Difference in Contemporary Feminist Movements Speakers: Donna Corewyn, YWCA Hamilton Denise Doyle, YWCA Hamilton Laura Gamez, Immigrant Women’s Centre of Hamilton Alyssa Lai, Illuminessence E-Magazine Meaghan Ross, SACHA Description: In their 1996 paper, “Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism,� Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill argue: Many feminists now contend that difference occupies center stage as the project of women studies today. According to one scholar, "difference has replaced equality as the central concern of feminist theory." Many have welcomed the change, hailing it as a major revitalizing force in U.S. feminist theory. But if some priorities within mainstream feminist thought have been refocused by attention to difference, there remains an "uneasy alliance"" between women of color and other feminists.If difference is to be the central project of women studies or feminism, then what kinds of alliances are available between different feminists? How do social media trends including #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen and #WhiteFeministRants play into a conversation around alliance and difference? What spaces are most suitable for these alliances? Exploring these questions, we will have panelists from around the Hamilton community and McMaster University.

Myths of Multiculturalism: Refugees’ and Immigrants' Journals and Journeys Speakers: Khaoula Bengezi, Student at McMaster University Henry Castellanos, Political Activist Erin Hallock, Diversity & Human Rights Inquiry Professor Naseem Sherwani, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Description: This panel will investigate the grave disparity between Refugees’ and Immigrants' journeys and the Canadian-promoted concept of diversity. As Himani Bannerji wrote in her book The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender “[Diversity discourse portrays society as a horizontal space, in which there is no theoretical or analytical room for social relations of power and ruling, of socio-economic contradictions that construct and regulate Canadian political economy and its ideological culture” [1].The journey to becoming a refugee or an immigrant is a complicated one, individual and undocumented –most of these stories go untold. But the importance of these stories is undeniable, they are a culmination of international, and national politics, and social and cultural conditions, that manifest in an individuals journey towards a “better life”. This journey includes the threat of persecution that they experienced at home, their experiences in immigrating to Canada, what they experienced in their process of getting refugee status, and finally, what they experience as they live as refugees. Is diversity discourse essentially, especially with respect to Refugee stories an effacement of personal histories? How can structural processes (such as physical and mental health care, the immigration process, the refugee claimant process, and housing) become community-building endeavors that truly value diversity and affirm personal histories? [1] Himani Bannerji. Toronto: Canadian Scholar's Press, 2000.

Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Exchange in Globalization Speakers: Dr. Emily Cowall, Health, Aging & Society Professor at McMaster University Gerald Ibe, Student at McMaster University Nashwa Khan, Student at McMaster University Description: This panel will investigate the complexities of the ownership of culture in a globalizing world. Cultural appropriation “refers to any instance in which means commonly associated with and/or perceived as belonging to another are used to further one’s own ends. Any instance in which a group borrows or imitates the strategies of another –even when the tactic is not intended to deconstruct or distort the other’s meanings and experiences” [1]. Keeping in mind both the agency of individuals and the acts of communication and trade, which are sociopolitically positioned to involve asymmetries of power relations, this panel will attempt to investigate the differences between cultural appropriation, cultural exchange, and transculturation. Finally, the panel will delve into why individuals even engage in acts of appropriation, which may serve to “reinforce, modify, cope with, or actively resist that larger system” [1].The panel will be centered on Halloween costumes, events like Colour Me Rad, and celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Madonna, and the Beatles to understand these larger implications of cultural commoditization on a more personal level. We want this to be a forum where we can participate in pragmatic forms of resistance by being open to reexamining the symbols we use without thinking, the cultures we engage with without understanding, and the historical and social climate we all need to be seeing. [1]

Mental Health in the University: Being an Ally in Eating Disorders and Addictions Recovery Speakers: Amrita Ghai, Psychology Fellow at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Rose Macdonald, Executive Director at Danielle’s Place Eating Disorder Support & Resource Centre Description: This panel will discuss in detail the eating disorders and addictions commonly experienced by university students. It will address necessary components to educate, raise awareness, and localize these illnesses. The panel will provide medical facts and information on eating disorders and addictions (and thereby demystifying them), share personal accounts of a student's life-threatening struggle with the illnesses; provide information on where and how to get help for psychological and physical recovery in Hamilton and the Mac community and how to receive accommodations for school as the illness spills over to students' academic careers; and finally, how to appropriately and effectively reach out to your loved ones who you suspect may be suffering from these illnesses. This panel will focus on familiarizing the public on the causes and complexity of eating disorders and other addictions, thereby alleviating the elements of shame, secrecy, and helplessness as can be experienced by the sufferers of said mental illnesses. It will explore their deep-rooted nature with a particular focus on the complexity of eating disorders and addictions beyond the common misconception of their being a "shallow disease" that is based around the obsession of outer appearances or something that students can just "snap out of". This panel hopes to inform those who may be experiencing these illnesses where and how to look for help locally and practically. This panel hopes to encourage open discussion on these currently very misunderstood and stigmatized yet life-threatening illnesses and create a safe network of support within the McMaster and Hamilton community.

Education and Community: Is Experiential Education Tokenization? Speakers: Dr. Daniel Coleman, English & Cultural Studies Professor at McMaster University Dr. Nancy Doubleday, Peace Studies Professor at McMaster University Alexandra Sproule, Student at McMaster University Description: This panel will explore how education can be built from the community in a way that is not othering. Instead of bringing in community as an “after the fact” addition to classroom settings, how can community issues, which stretch from environmental protection, to green spaces, to public space management, to public health delivery, become a place from which education can start? Often, student opinion views experiential education as less rigorous alternative to more research-centered, and textbook-centred ways of learning and viewing the world. However, it is also true that students will ultimately only be interacting with the world outside the university. Reducing these complex problems to “key findings” or “theories” in a thesis isn’t always what is required to build the communication, and the community that will bring about lasting change on the problems community members and students are interested in. As different ways of presenting and creating research emerge, through innovations in technology, qualitative researching and archiving, how can we make experimental education more involved, more systems thinking directed, community building oriented, and service delivery focused? What are the processes and education models that need to be changed? What are the costs and benefits of changing them?

Panel descriptions  
Panel descriptions