Conferences & lectures

Social Justice Fellows Series, Winter 2020

Elisabeth Roy Trudel and Maxine Iannuccilli

Thursday, March 12, 2020
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Elisabeth Roy Trudel, Maxine Iannuccilli


This event is free


Social Justice Centre


Travis LaCroix


J.W. McConnell Building
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Room 362



Two graduate fellows of the Social Justice Centre, Elisabeth Roy Trudel (PhD Cand. Interdisciplinary Humanities Program) and Maxine Iannuccilli (PhD Cand. Psychology), will present their current research projects.

Elisabeth Roy Trudel - Excluding through images? A reconsideration of the senses in human rights law

Abstract. Images are omnipresent, and they are tools to define, categorize and delineate identities. The field of law is not immune to this, yet the great influence of the visual is rarely recognized or discussed in this context.

This presentation highlights and questions the dominant place of the sense of vision in law, and suggests that it is responsible for some of the biases and sources of social exclusion inherent in international human rights law. Indeed, while the human rights system might seek to include, and even to empower, those considered vulnerable, it often denies their agency, because it remains dominated by Western legal thought and its epistemologies and ontologies. Legal subjectivity is hence always restricted.

Drawing on legal pluralism and anthropological perspectives on the senses, it will be argued that the senses – in the plural form – contribute to defining human beings as individuals and as groups and to constructing their relationship to law. Human rights law, as it will be suggested, could hence benefit from opening itself to different sensory experiences.

Maxine Iannuccilli - Brilliant Thinkers, Empathic Therapists: What Explains the Gender Gap in Philosophy versus Psychology?

Abstract. The gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math is still strikingly large (NSF, 2018). The underrepresentation of women is not limited to STEM-fields, but instead generalizes to most fields that emphasize high intellectual ability (Leslie, Cimpian, Meyer & Freeland, 2015). As in STEM, less than 30% of graduate students in philosophy are women. Moreover, despite the considerable overlap in the subject matter of philosophy and psychology, there is a large gender discrepancy between these fields. Accordingly, comparing people’s views of philosophy versus psychology provides an opportunity to investigate the factors that could be contributing to the gender imbalances across academic fields.

We developed a Likert-style questionnaire based on theories that have shown empirical support for explaining the discrepant gender representations. Specifically, we are examining the stereotypical belief that brilliance is more often associated with men than with women, internal beliefs about abilities, gender differences in interest and combativeness, beliefs about work-life balance, and opinions about the status of each field. The questionnaire was administered to first year philosophy and psychology undergraduate students (N = 296). Preliminary data suggests that stereotyped beliefs about what it takes to be a philosopher versus a psychologist appear to link beliefs about the self to academic plans. The comparison of such fields in which unequal gender representations are apparent will enrich our understanding of the causes and underlying mechanisms that lead to such distributions.

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