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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Khadija Baker, Humanities

Examples Within Practices of The Right to Opacity
Creative: Recipes/Concepts in/of Artfulife
Anti-Oppression Theme: Research Creation Within 3 Ecologies

Date & time
Saturday, December 2, 2023
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Nadeem Butt

Wheel chair accessible


When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


This research creation is a way to access the right to opacity. This concept will not need to go through theories in a clear way since it moves in resistance to clear definitions. Instead, it will exist in the midst of an exploration and praxes around the conceptual proposition: The right to opacity. The way of this research creation is through the creation of recipes/techniques/concepts meant to serve the formation of subjectivities, breaking fears, and stereotypes of differences within various modes of existence and experiences, such as cultural, forms of knowledge, learning, language, gender, and neurodiversity. I will be practicing some recipes to offer examples of possibilities. The work will be offered through storytelling, recipes, events, and collective gatherings.

Many of the stories and recipes here deal with my experience as part of a community, coming from Syria displaced by the war, and becoming a refugee and immigrant in Montreal in the year of 2001. Yet my stories will move through and in between different aspects of this experience by not focusing only on one of the sides of what for me has many sides. I will explore the mother, the woman, the artist, the researcher, the event maker, amongst other figures that I find more interesting than staying only with the story of violence misrepresented in the more common figures of violence’s of war in the victim, the suffering, the refugee, the immigrant.

Like this I aim to access relations between and through new modes of existence, sharing and belonging. I ask how one can create these relations while staying close to values or qualities of existence within various environments? How to confirm and affirm a production of the self while movements in between communities remain smooth and flourishing in each encounter and yet open to shifting as needed. Example: when I talk about identities like the Kurdish, it is not about the nationality; the Syrian, it is not only the refugees; the Canadian, it is not me, the immigrant. Or is it? When I talk about these identities, I’m posing a question of access. How to access a quality of being within all of these or one as needed, on a shifting basis. Other identity mobilities that these Thesis seeks are: The mother while being an artist. An artist and neurodiverse academic practices with no writing urges. It asks: How can one still belong while non typical practices are performed? Why would we talk about war and not love?

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