Our History

In 1991 the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies was founded. In 2012 the Women’s and Gender Studies graduate and undergraduate programs merged to form the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. 

In establishing the Institute, the University of British Columbia 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.

Institute’s Vision

The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice gathers intellectual resources that place us in a privileged position to excel in engaged research, teaching, and outreach. 

The tasks before us are the planning, designing, and implementing a structural and intellectual framework necessary to sustain our project. The first year’s focus will be on creating conditions for building capacity, community, and institutional setting essential for developing and carrying out this task.

The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice is a leading hub of excellent collaborative, creative, and transformative interdisciplinary engaged research, teaching, and outreach on social justice. Focusing on patriarchal, racial, sexual, and colonial power histories, mechanisms, processes, and practices, we provide our students with the critical tools necessary to contribute to the project of realizing social justice locally, nationally, and globally.

Located in the unceded land of the Musqueam people, we take social justice as a duty and commitment and not solely an object of study. In the coming five years, our focus will be to fashion the GRSJ Institute as a leading global hub for research, teaching, and outreach portfolio dedicated to developing a notion of social justice that reflects the current ethico-political challenges of the global present. 

Both its undergraduate and graduate programs educate academics, artists, or activists interested in engaged social justice research, addressing entangled modalities of power, which have inspired new forms of activism:

  • Entangled Modalities of Power: The symbolic, economic, and juridical dimensions of hetero-patriarchal, colonial, and racial subjugation, as these architectures (structures, mechanisms, discourses, practices) operate at the local, national, and global levels.
  • Emancipatory Projects: The practices, discourses, and organizations created by indigenous and social (racial, gender-sexual, disabled) subaltern collectives to confront the dispossession, displacement, and death these architectures produce, that is, the many dimensions of social injustice

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