BA, Contemporary Studies and Spanish, University of King’s College (Halifax) (2013)
MA, Women and Gender Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University (2016)


Cate May Burton is a student, writer, and activist, who mobilizes poststructural, feminist, and psychoanalytic theory to reconceptualize challenges related to global capital and extractionism.

May Burton is interested in different ways of conceiving agency, responsibility, and accountability in the context of global, capitalist and technologically complex political problems, in particular climate change. She is also interested in the implementation of intersectional approaches, notably coalitions, within activist communities—an issue with significant implications for climate change activism.

May Burton has participated in school-based environmental activism, volunteered for environmental NGOs, and worked on election campaigns for progressive candidates. She seeks ways of interweaving her theoretical questioning with wider movements for change.


In her Bachelor’s and her Master’s research, May Burton explored philosophical approaches to community and otherness. She began to tease together the deconstructive approach of Jean-Luc Nancy and a nexus of psychoanalytic tools from Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Julia Kristeva to articulate the unevenness in national treatments of minority groups with respect to the national culture’s appearance of neutrality.

In her doctoral research, May Burton will further her critique of liberal and neoliberal articulations of the subject. By focusing on climate change as a perfect moral storm, May Burton will expose insufficiencies in the conceptual underpinnings of liberal politics in the face of complex and large-scale political problems stemming from global capital and extractionism.

Selected Publications

Non Peer-reviewed (In all publications, I am the sole author, unless otherwise indicated)

Master of Arts Dissertation, “Identity, Culture, Contestation: Theorizing the Invisibility of Dominant Group Identity with Freud, Kristeva, and Nancy” — in progress

“Janelle Monàe’s Spiritual Android,” Social Robot Futures (blog), May 12, 2015. Available at   

“Against the Canon: Derrida’s Metaphoricality and Spivak’s Postcolonial Critique,” 2015 Student   Empowerment Conference, Saint Mary’s University, Feb. 2015. Available at

Credited in, Toughill, K. “ Success or Anomaly?” Case Consortium @ Columbia. New York: Columbia University. 2013. Available at

“Unsettling Narrative: Coetzee’s Political Resistance through the Lens of Abjection.” Hinge (University of King’s College Journal of Contemporary Studies) XIX (2013). 70–81.

“How Agency and Time Intertwine: Humans and Other Animals in Leibniz and Schopenhauer.” Babel (University of King’s College Journal of Early Modern Studies) XII (2013). 26–33.

Bennett, J. & May-Burton, V., “Environmental Justice for Lake Ainslie”, The Chronicle Herald (Opinions). Aug. 15, 2012. Available at

Graduate Student Research Award, University of British Columbia
Canada Graduate Scholarships Master’s Award