In/visible bodies as sites of activism

Concordia's Simone de Beauvoir Summer Institute seeks to mobilize its participants to focus on those most affected by intersecting systems of oppression
May 10, 2017
By Christian Durand


From May 14 to 19, Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute (SdBI) is hosting Mobilizing In/Visible Bodies, an innovative week of panels and workshops open to students and the public that seeks to address forms of oppression faced by marginalized people.

Geneviève Rail

Geneviève Rail, director of the Summer Institute, says that people of colour, LGBTQ communities and people living with disabilities are consistently under- and misrepresented in academia and society.

“This institute is about sharing important knowledge rarely present in public institutions, mainstream media, and dominant political discourse,” adds Rail, professor of Women’s Studies at SdBI.

The term “bodies” was intentionally included in the institute’s title, Rail explains, “so as to not play into the classic gender, sex or sexuality binaries.”

Research coordinator Finn Purcell adds that a key goal of the week-long institute is for academics, students and community members to discuss the issues and ways to take action that can lead to meaningful change.

Natasha Bakht | Photo by Michael Slobodian

“In our current political climate, there’s a dire need to not only share knowledge but act on these values,” says Purcell. “We want to bring these discussions and education into conversation with the work that needs to be done.”

At “Mobilizing In/Visible Bodies,” scholars, activists, and artists from Concordia and organizations working with marginalized communities in Montreal will speak to a variety of themes. Workshop activities will range from learning how to construct digital games around narratives of trauma, to sound experimentation, to theatre, and to somatic education to deal with mental illness.

Natasha Bakht, associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa, will deliver a free public lecture, The Experience of Niqab-Wearing Women in Canada on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m. She will examine current controversies and the popular discourse in Canada regarding the niqab.

Find out more about lectures, workshops and events at Mobilizing In/Visible Bodies.

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