About the Simone de Beauvoir Institute
Established in 1978 as a place for action and the production of knowledge about women’s lives, the Simone de Beauvoir Institute (SdBI) has the oldest Women’s Studies program in Canada and continues to lead new research, teaching, and thinking on gender, sexuality, race, and other forms of oppression.
In 2019, the SdBI also began offering a major and minor in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality. Recognized as one of the most innovative places in Quebec and Canada to study feminisms, our community of students, scholars, and activists work to develop initiatives that promote equality and social justice for all.
For over 40 years, the SdBI has been a leader in research and teaching on women, gender, feminism, and sexuality. Our approach puts into practice the leading political, theoretical, and methodological commitments that come from feminist activism, such as intersectional, anti-colonial and anti-racist, decolonial, and transnational politics.
At the heart of our approach is the understanding that social inequality is produced through interlocking systems of oppression and that the State, nationalism and imperialism are central in producing and sustaining asymmetrical power relations such as those found in gender inequality or in the geopolitical division between the global north and global south. Our work centers on the social production of identities and differences by critically examining media representations, consumer cultures, cultural production, social movements, law, governance, public health, and other related areas.
For almost 40 years now, the SdBI has been a leader in the study of feminisms and our approach has gone beyond the mere study of the conditions of women's lives. As celebrated feminist Angela Davis plainly puts it, feminism is not only about women and not only about gender. It is a broader methodology that can enable us to better conceptualize and fight for progressive change.
At the heart of our approach is the understanding that social inequality is produced through interlocking systems of oppression and that the State, nationalism and imperialism are central in producing and sustaining asymmetrical power relations such as those between men and women or those between people in the global north and those in the global south.
We also consider the social production of identities and differences and critically examine media representations and consumer cultures.
The SdBI is a site for lively intellectual exchange where teaching, research, activism and community service are enriched by the presence of its members. This includes
- faculty (4 full-time professors and 10 part-time professors),
- Lillian Robinson scholars (2 visiting professors every year),
- Fellows (currently 12 Fellows, 7 of whom coming from other departments of Concordia University),
- Research Associates (around 25 per year),
- Postdoctoral Fellows (around 5 per year),
- graduate students (approximately 5 per year),
- and undergraduate students (usually around 150 in our Women’s Studies Major program and 70 others in our Specialization, Minor and Certificate programs).
Since feminist scholarship insists on the connection between knowledge and action, the SdBI and the Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA) are active in local feminist communities as well as in communities outside of Montreal and Quebec through research and outreach activities.
SdBI professors are bilingual and the SdBI maintains close ties to UQAM’s Institut de recherches et d’études féministes (IREF), McGill University’s Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF) and Université Laval’s Chaire Claire-Bonenfant Femmes, savoirs et sociétés. All of these organizations are part of the Réseau québécois d’études féministes (RéQEF), which promotes cooperation between feminists at our Institute and those at other universities in Quebec.