More student awards!

The recipient of last year’s Marie Hammond Callaghan Women’s History Prize (awarded to an outstanding student project relevant to WGST) won first place for her presentation of the same paper in the Human/Cultural Geography category at the 2017 Atlantic Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers (ACAG) in Halifax on October 28.

Ella (right) receiving the award at ACAG.

Ella Porter and her co-author, Jamie Dalgleish (Class of 2017), won the Women’s History Prize in March 2017 for their project on gentrification and exclusion in Montreal’s gay village. Ella presented this research at ACAG and was recognized for the high quality of her presentation and the exciting research results.

Ella is majoring in Geography, with minors in GIS and Environmental Science. This semester, she’s enjoying her first WGST course – WGST 1001 – with Dr. Johnston. The program is always thrilled to see students using feminist perspectives to analyze questions and problems in other disciplines.

Congratulations to Ella for the ACAG award, and to both Ella and Jamie for the Women’s History Prize!


Student Award Winners Fall 2017: Olivia Landry and Shannon Power

We are very proud to announce the 2017 recipients of the newly-established Marie Hammond Callaghan Book Prizes in Women’s and Gender Studies! The prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement in WGST was awarded to Olivia Landry. The prize for Excellence in Student Engagement was awarded to Shannon Power.

Dr. Kern with Olivia Landry and Shannon Power posing with their awards.


The awards were presented at the Faculty of Arts Gala on September 29. Congratulations to Olivia and Shannon – and thank you for all of your work in supporting the program.

Last year’s recipients were Maureen Adegbidi (Academic Achievement) and Natalie Mellon (Student Engagement).

Student Research: Molly Hamilton

WGST minor Molly Hamilton was awarded a Mount Allison Independent Student Research Grant for summer 2017 for her project University Sexual Assault Policies: The Possibility of a Framework for All?

Dr. Dryden, Molly Hamilton, and Dr. Kern with Molly's poster at the SURF Event.
Molly Hamilton at SURF with project supervisors Dr. Dryden and Dr. Kern.

Molly’s project “set out to answer the following question: given that sexual assault has diverse effects across different groups and for individuals, is it possible to create a university sexual assault policy that is adaptable to all sexual assault survivors, while still providing an umbrella framework for investigating and addressing harm?”

Molly conducted interviews with campus professionals involved in issues related to sexual assault policy on campus, and analyzed the sexual assault policies and websites for 12 universities. Her research found that “university sexual assault coordinators and others that are devoted to this kind of work are trying their best to eliminate barriers for survivors/victims and ensure that there are services and support networks available for every single survivor/victim no matter their race, gender orientation, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, and ability/disability. However, there are some practices or lack of practices – such as time limits, the inaccessibility of information, and the way policies are phrased, that arguably may prevent survivors/victims from feeling comfortable to come forward or even knowing where to go.”

Molly developed a list of recommendations for improving the accessibility of campus sexual assault policies and procedures. She was also involved in the production of a video project (with SHARE and MASU) called Mount A Community is Here for You – a message of support for survivors of sexual assault. Molly presented her research at the Student Undergraduate Research Fair on September 22.

Faculty Profile: Dr. Leslie Kern

Leslie Kern is the WGST Program Director (2016-2019). Picture of Leslie KernLeslie holds a PhD in Women’s Studies (now Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies) from York University (2008). Her first position at Mount Allison was as a sabbatical replacement in Women’s Studies in 2009-10. Having never left, she is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Environment.

Leslie’s doctoral research into the gendered ideologies shaping condominium development in Toronto turned her into a feminist urban geographer. Over the last ten years, her research has explored neighbourhood-level gentrification at several sites in Toronto and Chicago. Currently, Leslie is writing about racialized displacement in Latinx Chicago neighbourhoods. You can find information about all of her research and publications on her website:

Leslie teaches two courses that are electives for the WGST minor: Gender, Race, and Environmental Justice (GENV 3111) and Gender, Culture & the City (GENV 4811). WGST students interested in these courses can request to have the GENV pre-requisites waived by emailing Dr. Kern at lkern at mta dot ca. Feel free to stop by AVDX 307 for WGST Program Advising on Wednesdays from 1:30-2:30!





Faculty Profile: Dr. Christiana MacDougall

We’re excited to introduce Dr. Christiana MacDougall, who joins the Department of Sociology with a cross-appointment to Women’s and Gender Studies in a tenure-track role.


Christiana holds a PhD in Social Work from Memorial University of Newfoundland (2017). Her research explored trauma and emotional distress in childbirth. The findings of Christiana’s research upset the view of emotional distress in childbirth as individual pathology, and instead demonstrate how gender-based (sexist) discourses, dominant ideas about childbirth, and structural issues interact with rights violations in childbirth to result in distressing childbirth experiences.

Christiana is also a register social worker, and a feminist therapist, and has been in engaged in direct practice for the past 20+ years. Most of that time was spent in the mental health field working primarily with women with histories of traumatic life experiences.

Before moving into social work, Christiana received a BSc in physics from Mount Allison (1993) and has always had an interest in the way the natural and social sciences interact and understand each other. And so, Christiana is excited to be teaching a new course in the winter term “Gender and Science” (WGST 3991) which will explore some of these and other issues.

Christiana is thrilled to be back at Mount Allison as a new faculty member. Feel free to pop in for a chat with her. She can be found in Avard Dixon Rm 221.

Faculty Profile: Dr. Rachelle Pascoe-Deslauriers

WGST is happy to introduce one of our new cross-appointed faculty members: Rachelle Pascoe-Deslauriers who joins both Commerce and WGST in a tenure-track position.

RPD Aug 2017 - portain profile picture

Rachelle holds a PhD in Human Resource Management from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. Her thesis, Job displacement and the implications for job quality: An investigation of the job transition process for displaced public sector workers in Scotland, UK and Ontario, Canada during the Great Recession, was awarded the 2016 EFMD/Emerald Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in the category of Human Resource Management.

Rachelle’s work focuses on the implications of organizational policies and practices, and social and labour market policies for the job quality of workers. She is interested in how policies interact to shape the design and nature of work. Rachelle is currently interested in these issues in the context of layoffs, organizational restructuring, and involuntary job loss. These issues affect people differently across intersecting vectors of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, and age.

Students can explore these work and labour concerns and their broader social dynamics in a new winter term course: Critical Issues in Work and Labour Markets (COMM 3991). WGST students can receive permission to count this new special topics course as an elective towards their WGST minor! Anyone interested in registering can contact Rachelle via email at rpascoedeslauriers at mta dot ca, or find her in Avard Dixon 234.


Faculty Profile: Dr. Krista Johnston

The program is excited to welcome Krista Johnston as our new tenure-track faculty member. Krista is also cross-appointed to Canadian Studies.

Picture of Dr. Krista Johnston.

Krista holds a PhD in Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies from York University (2015). Her doctoral research on the relationships among newcomers and Indigenous peoples in Toronto is currently under book contract with UBC Press under the title Decolonizing the City: Identity, Land, and Belonging in Urban Movements for Indigenous Sovereignty and Migrant Justice.

This research explores the politics of alliance among Indigenous sovereignty and migrant justice movements, employing ethnographic research methodologies to examine the gendered politics of identity, land, and belonging in Toronto. The central argument is that immigration and citizenship policies are integral to settler colonialism in Canada, that they entrench a heteronormative and patriarchal gender order, and that these investments have tremendous implications for alliances between Indigenous sovereignty and migrant justice movements and for the projects of decolonization of which they are a part.

You can check out some of this research here:

In 2017-2018, Krista will be teaching the four core WGST courses ( WGST 1001, 2101, 3101, and 4001). She brings several years of WGST teaching experience from her time at University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba.

Krista is really looking forward to meeting all the WGST students and minors over the next couple of months. You can find her in Hart Hall 220, or at krjohnston at mta dot ca.

National Women’s Studies Association Statement on Charlottesville

Dear colleagues, students, and community members:

The NWSA has shared a letter from its Executive Council in response to the events of the past week surrounding Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer. The Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Mount Allison shares the NWSA’s “mission to promote a more just world in which all persons can develop to their fullest potential—one free from racist ideologies, systems of privilege or structures that oppress or exploit some for the advantage of others.”

I am re-posting their letter in full here:

The National Women’s Studies Association denounces the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend that terrorized that community and shocked the entire country. We further condemn the actions of James Alex Fields, Jr., who drove into a crowd of counter-protestors killing 32-year old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others, and the stick-wielding vigilantes that viscously attacked and beat a young Black man, De’Andre Harris in a nearby parking structure.

White supremacy and fascism have always been intricately connected with misogyny, patriarchy, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, and settler-colonial logics. This fact is evidenced both by the make up of those who rallied last weekend—primarily young, white, able-bodied, cisgender men—and the messages promoted at the rally and by those supporting it, which included anti-woman and anti-LGBT slogans and statements. The NWSA believes that ending white supremacy is a primary feminist political objective. The Combahee River Collective, whose 40th anniversary we will honor at our annual conference in November, wrote in their famous Black Feminist Statement in 1977: “we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of an integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking.” That commitment remains just as vital today.

We praise cities such as Baltimore, where our convention will be held this year, for tearing down statues honoring leaders of the confederacy as an important symbolic gesture to denounce white supremacist monuments in the United States that pay homage to pro-slavery ideas and the defenders of slavery. However, symbolic gestures are not enough. The present legacy of white supremacy and the Confederate and U.S. commitment to the system of chattel slavery remains alive and well in the existence of the prison industrial complex. The 13th amendment of the U.S. constitution essentially allows legal slavery inside prisons. Those prisons are predominately populated by African Americans and other people of color, and a steady increase in the number of incarcerated women. Without material steps to end that system, white supremacy and the misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, class exploitation, and settler-colonial logics it engenders will continue. The NWSA sends condolences to the families and communities of the most recent victims of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville and affirms its commitment to feminist values that see the end to white supremacy as a top priority.

We know that white supremacists seek to instill fear and leverage power using harassment, violence, and the threat of violence.  We encourage NWSA members to join together and raise their voices in the wake of these threats even as we recognize that some of our members face greater risk than others in speaking out.  We know that intersectional feminist analyses offer the frameworks our campuses and communities need to challenge white supremacist ideologies. We applaud our colleagues at University of Virginia and their courageous students who spoke truth in the face of violence when a hateful mob of fascists marched through their campus bearing torches, shouting Nazi slogans and attacking students.

We know that our members embrace our mission to promote a more just world in which all persons can develop to their fullest potential—one free from racist ideologies, systems of privilege or structures that oppress or exploit some for the advantage of others.  Now more than ever we need to recommit ourselves to this vision and engage in meaningful actions that can advance our goals.

Barbara Ransby, President
Elora Halim Chowdhury, Vice President
Karma Chávez, Treasurer
Carrie Baker, Secretary
Vivian M. May, Past President


Fall 2017: Gearing up for a new term!

As the new semester approaches, WGST at Mount Allison is excited to share that our faculty complement has expanded with three new tenure-track faculty members with primary or partial cross-appointments to our program. We will introduce each person in depth in future posts!

The program would like to thank all those near and far who offered their support and worked hard to ensure that this program is adequately staffed well into the future.


Fall semester: Welcome back!

The WGST program is looking forward to an exciting fall. We have a few announcements and a mini progress report on future visions for the program.

McCain Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, 2016-2017: The program is fortunate to welcome back Professor Tasia Alexopoulos in her new role as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She will be teaching the four core WGST courses this year: WGST 1001 and 2101 in the fall, and WGST 3101 and 4001 in the winter. You may contact her at talexopoulos at mta dot ca with questions about courses and program activities.

Program Director, 2016-2019: Dr. Leslie Kern will be returning as Program Director for a three-year term. She will also serve as Program Advisor for students. Dr. Kern taught in the program in 2009-2010 and has been a regular member of the Steering Committee, as well as Acting Director in 2014-2015. You may contact her at lkern at mta dot ca with program-related questions. Many thanks to Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton for her excellent leadership as Director in 2015-2016. We wish her a productive fall sabbatical.

WGST Society, 2016-2017: We are excited to have a passionate and committed group of students involved in the student society. The members of the executive team are: Natalie Mellon, Robin Bamber, Annie Sherry, Olivia Landry, Chelsey Brussard, Mizuki Matsuura, Cara Mackenzie, and Katharyn Stevenson. You can join the Facebook page Mount Allison Women’s and Gender Society through the Mount Allison Community Group hub.

Dean Spade Guest Lecture, October 6: Thanks to the hard work of two organizers, as well as the generous support of many programs and organizations, the WGST Program will be hosting the brilliant Dean Spade of the Seattle University School of Law for a lecture entitled: Can we survive mainstreaming? Trans politics and criminal punishment reform. The talk is free, open to the public, and will take place in Brunton Auditorium, October 6, at 7:30pm.

Social media: You can stay connected to the program through our Facebook page, or on Instagram: womensandgendermta.

Future of the program: Earlier this spring, the Steering Committee met to discuss a vision for the future growth and stability of the program. This year’s postdoctoral position is not a long-term solution to the need for tenure-track faculty in the program. We are extremely proud of the enormous growth in student numbers over the past three years and are aware of the demand for classes and perhaps even a major. We will be submitting a proposal for tenure-track hiring with a view to promoting a robust and growing program with a bright future at Mount Allison.