About Us: the Institute

To ask provocative questions about gender, race and sexuality, to enrich knowledge and initiate dialogue about culture, politics and public policy, and to agitate for social justice locally, nationally and beyond.

The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ) is a degree-granting academic unit that exemplifies UBC’s commitment to ensuring critical advances in knowledge, democratic communities, and equity in scholarship, research, and teaching. Scholars in the institute are engaged in innovative theoretical and empirical work that advances and enriches current knowledge and critical dialogue about culture, politics and public policy in local, global and transnational contexts.

Through our teaching and research, GRSJ faculty stand at the forefront of innovative critical and intersectional feminist and post-colonial research that centres on diversity, equality, gender, racialization, sexuality, community, representations and their interconnections. Our interdisciplinary, transnational foci include: minority writing, postcolonial literatures and diasporic studies; transgender studies; multiple forms of mobilities and connectivities between places and regions; processes of social and economic marginalization; historical and contemporary colonialisms; international development, environmental politics and armed conflicts within and across traditional state borders. The thematic clusters among GRSJ scholars reflect this diversity: critical race theory, ethnic studies, indigenous studies, media studies, family, feminist methodologies, health, history and autobiography, international development, literature/film and cultural studies, migration and racialization, sexuality, social policy and community action, and youth and girl studies. Hence research and teaching programs in the institute are central to UBC’s strategic initiatives of Aboriginal Engagement, Intercultural Understanding, International Engagement, and Social Sustainability.

The Institute’s graduate and research community includes, in addition to Institute-appointed faculty members and students, a significant group of Faculty Associates – scholars from a wide range of departments and faculties at the University of British Columbia. Research and program initiatives are strongly collaborative within UBC, with other institutions of higher learning, and with broader communities.

The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice is affiliated with the Centre for Race, Autobiography, Gender and Aging (RAGA), a visiting scholars’ program, a weekly speakers’ series and also with Critical Studies in Sexuality – a dynamic undergraduate minor and interdisciplinary group of scholars in Sexuality Studies who oversee the Jane Rule Endowment for the Study of Human Relationships.

The Institute organizes a graduate student conference each spring to highlight intersectional feminist, anti-racist, queer and other critical approaches to social justice on campus. Visiting scholars from a variety of disciplines and institutions around the world actively participate in the activities and programs of the institute and take part in a lecture series. Our GRSJ Undergraduate Students’ Association organizes the annual F-Word Conference – showcasing student research and community collaboration across activist and academic disciplines. The conference provides a venue for feminist scholars, students, and community members to learn each other’s skills, knowledges, and experiences. The GRSJ Undergraduate Students Association also publishes the undergraduate journal, Ignite: a feminist journal of interdisciplinary thought.

History

The Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies was founded in 1991, and merged with the Women’s and Gender Studies graduate and undergraduate programs in 2012 to form the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. In establishing the institute, UBC joined other major universities in Canada and elsewhere in supporting a multidisciplinary field of scholarship that continues to have a substantial impact on knowledge, and related methodologies and ways of thinking, in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and professional areas.