Elemental Panel: Water // Anti-Colonal Methods Project

The Social Justice Institute
Critical + Creative Social Justice Studies Cluster

Research Network

in Anti-Colonial Methods

Elemental Panel: Water

Risk and renewal,
the refugeed and the refused,

ecological and political disaster,
remembrance and anti-colonial archives.

Water is a provocation to engage with some of the most imaginative and affecting research into anti-colonial memory, new nodes of relation and material histories of the present with five thinkers, writers and artists whose work knits these critical themes.

Saturday, October 28
Fairmont Social Lounge at St. John’s College

2111 Lower Mall, UBC


All events are free and open to the public. RSVP’s are not required to attend, only encouraged.

The Elemental Panels program assembles academics, artists, and activists whose contributions to critical racial, anticolonial, and feminist thought and practice draw from the signifying richness of the elements – air, water, fire, and earth. The hope is to create space for, and to support, conversations that spark the imagination and sustain all emergent and possible anticolonial practices.

UBC Social Justice Institute’s (SJI) Anticolonial Methods is a series of events, panels, workshops, screenings, and writings as well as other possible forms, in which the synergies and tensions between critical and creative work are explored. This includes work that engages ongoing colonial and racial violence in their various—total, symbolic, subtle, overt, unexpected, quotidian, casual, official—modes of actualisation.


Samirah Alkassim

Samirah Alkassim is a filmmaker and film scholar, with publications on experimental and independent film/video in the Arab world. Her films include experimental documentary Far From You (Certificate of Merit, San Francisco International Film Festival 1997) about Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum, and experimental films and installations, samples of which can be seen  her website and  Youtube channel. She is  co-author with Nezar Andary of Mohammad Malas (Palgrave Macmillan Press, forthcoming 2018) in her co-edited book series, Arab Cinema Series. She has taught film studies and production in Singapore (Ngee Ann Polytechnic), Egypt (American University in Cairo), the San Francisco Bay Area (U.C. Berkeley, Sonoma State University), and Virginia (George Mason University). With film projects on art and identity in Jordan underway, she is currently Program & Communications Manager at The Jerusalem Fund & Palestine Center, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC dedicated to educating the public about the Palestine issue and to ameliorating the lives of Palestinians in Palestine and the diaspora.

John Culbert

John Culbert was born in Tokyo and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the author of Paralyses, winner of the 2011 Modern Language Association Scaglione Prize for French Studies. His short stories have appeared in ZYZZYVAWave CompositionThe Manchester Reviewand Harvard Review. A book of collected short fictions, The Purgatory Press After the End, was published in 2013 by Perfect Edge Books. He lives in Vancouver, where he teaches in the French Program at the University of British Columbia.

Michelle Dizon

Michelle Dizon is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and educator based in Los Angeles,  California. Born in the United States as part of the Philippine diaspora, Dizon’s life experience has been shaped by the politics of migration across the Pacific Rim. The violence of imperialism and the intimate spaces of resistance within globalization form central pivots in her work which takes the form of multi-channel video installations, expanded cinema performances, essay films, photographs, discursive events, pedagogical platforms, and writing. Dizon is the founder of at land’s edge, an autonomous pedagogical initiative focused on cultural work as a site of critical resistance.  She earned an MFA in Art with specialization in Interdisciplinary Studio at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric with designated emphases in Film and Women, Gender, and Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley.   She is Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Jonathan M. Hall

Jonathan M. Hall is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College. Hall’s research engages queer theory, experimental media, and archival re-imaginations. Hall is co-director of Touch of the Other, a performance art piece drawing from archival documentation of pre-Stonewall male-male sexual encounters in public places.

Renisa Mawani

Renisa Mawani is a Professor of Sociology. She works in the fields of critical theory and colonial legal history and has published widely on law, colonialism, and legal geography. Her first book, Colonial Proximities (2009) details the legal encounters between indigenous peoples, Chinese migrants, “mixed-race” populations, and Europeans in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British Columbia. Her second book, Across Oceans of Law (under contract with Duke University Press), is a global and maritime legal history of the Japanese ship, Komagata Maru. The book draws on oceans as method to trace the ship’s 1914 route across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, to advance the argument that legal forms of colonial and racial violence are deeply entangled, and to consider time as a critical register of empire. With Iza Hussin, she is co-editor of “The Travels of Law: Indian Ocean Itineraries” published in Law and History Review (2014). In 2015, she received the Killam Prize for Graduate Instruction, a Dean of Arts Faculty Research Award, and was named a Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.

Co-Sponsors: CRACS Thematic Network, Social Justice Institute (GRSJ), Critical + Creative Social Justice Studies Excellence Research Cluster (CCSJS), A/C/T Thematic Network, and St John’s College