Speaker Series Highlights Innovative Research in the History of Gender and Health

Graphic with text Gender, Health & Social Justice written on it.

Research presented during the Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series highlights the intersections between gender, health and social justice on a global scale. Image submitted.

November 9, 2021 - 1:45pm

The Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series presented by VIU and the University of Saskatchewan is offered for free via Zoom and kicks off on November 19.

A speaker series running this winter and spring will introduce attendees to the innovative scholarship being done by early-career researchers in the history of gender and health.

“The conversations taking place around this research highlight intersections between gender, health and social justice on a global scale, and provide important historical context for social issues and inequities that are made increasingly visible due to the ongoing pandemic,” says Dr. Karissa Patton, a Vancouver Island University (VIU) Canada Research Chair Post-Doctoral Fellow and one of the series organizers.

The series – the Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series – is being jointly presented by Dr. Whitney Wood, VIU’s Canada Research Chair in the Historical Dimensions of Women’s Health, and Dr. Erika Dyck, Canada Research Chair in Health and Social Justice at the University of Saskatchewan.  

The series was organized by Patton and Letitia Johnson, a PhD Candidate from the University of Saskatchewan. 

“We are thrilled to lend our support to Karissa and Letitia’s initiative. In this virtual moment, it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to come together and coordinate our research programs to support these essential conversations,” says Dyck.

Patton and Johnson have taken the lead in creating a program that will build community around the important topics covered in the series.

“Living in pandemic isolation, we hoped to bring scholars together to create a sense of global community, while also working to support early-career scholars studying gender and health histories in different parts of the world,” says Wood.

There are five presentations in the series. Topics being discussed include histories of birth control, vasectomy, health technologies, and public health, from global perspectives ranging from Canada, to Britain, to India. The presentations are free to attend and are being offered via Zoom on select Fridays, from 10 - 11:30 am. People can register for any one of the presentations at the Eventbrite website.

“Our first four speakers take conversations about reproductive rights and access to health care to a global level and speak to our current historical moment,” says Johnson. 

The Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series kicks off on Friday, November 19 with Birth Control in India: Women’s Stories, Health, and Technology, 1930s-60s, presented by Urvi Desai, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at McGill University. Urvi will discuss how by the early 1930s contraceptives had entered Indian markets, but “danger arose from patronizing leadership, both colonial and postcolonial, that upheld rather than contested existing power structures.” Most women went unheard in discussions that affected them directly.

The other presentations in the speaker series are:

  • Vasectomy in Twentieth-Century Britain: Uncovering Men’s Reproductive Choices, presented by Georgia Grainger from the University of Strathclyde on January 21, 2022.
  • Diseased Delinquent Bodies: Sanitation, Healthcare, and Jail-Discipline in Colonial India, presented by Ipshita Nath from the University of Saskatchewan on March 4, 2022.
  • Behind the Screen: The History and Politics of Canadian Breast Cancer Imaging, presented by Jennifer Fraser from the University of Toronto on March 25, 2022.
  • Publishing in Scholarly Journals: Q&A with the North American Editors of Gender and History, with VIU History Professors, Drs. Cheryl Krasnick Warsh and Katharine Rollwagen, and Dr. Cathryn Spence from the University of Guelph, on April 1, 2022.


Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews

Tags: History | Research | Women and Gender Studies | Announcements

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