Five FASS women to watch on International Women’s Day

March 08, 2019

International Women’s Day (March 8) is being celebrated around the world today as people unite to advocate for women’s rights and gender equality across the globe. Simon Fraser University is no different: between Empowering Women Entrepreneurs and a movie screening of Soufra, there is no shortage of events to celebrate and promote women on campus.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is home to numerous female faculty breaking new ground in research every day. In honour of International Women’s Day, here are five FASS women to watch in 2019.

Kendra Strauss

An associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Director of the Labour Studies program in FASS, Strauss is a labour geographer and feminist political economist whose research revolves around class, gender, and working conditions in labour. Her passion for critical inquiry and desire to understand inequality and exploitation in modern society led her to approach research from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Strauss’s upcoming research tackles two topics that are extremely relevant today: adapting Canadian workplaces to respond to climate change, and eldercare labour markets in Vancouver and Shanghai. The former is a critical topic with our looming climate crisis, and the latter also a pressing issue with the aging boomer population.

Yuthika Girme

A social psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Girme’s research focuses on intimate relationships, attachment insecurities, and singlehood. She currently leads the Relationships and Wellbeing (REWE) Lab at SFU, which aims to understand through experimental research how social relationships can foster better psychological and physiological wellbeing.

Some recent surprising findings to come out of the REWE Lab include a new understanding of attachment insecurities, and how, contrary to long-standing views, they are not as stable as once thought to be.

Coleman Nye

An assistant professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Nye came to SFU from Brown University, where she completed her MA in anthropology and her PhD in theatre arts and performance studies. Her work traverses multiple disciplines, from feminist science and technology studies to crucial race and gender theory.

Some of Nye’s past work, including her book, Speculative Science, has examined “previval,” the pursuit of preventative surgery to amputate or remove body parts at risk for certain cancers. Her interest in the subject came about from exploring the medical and ethical issues surrounding people who sought to become amputees, and the doctors who performed those procedures.

In 2017, Nye also co-published an award-winning graphic novel with her MA supervisor Sherine Hamdy, Lissa, which brings anthropological research to life in graphic form.

Deanna Reder

An associate professor in the Departments of First Nations and English, Reder (Cree-Métis) was elected to the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars in 2018 for her contributions to the growing field of Indigenous literary studies.

Her research focuses on previously unpublished work by Indigenous writers—Edward Ahenakew, Vera Manuel, James Brady, Maria Campbell, Alootook Ipellie—to highlight works from the previously often neglected Indigenous archive. Reder has also focused on collaborative work to produce some of the first anthologies on Indigenous fiction and literary criticism in Canada, as well as a major database project on Indigenous writing in northern North America. She is a founding member of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) established in 2013.

Genevieve Fuji Johnson

Johnson, a professor in the Department of Political Science whose work and teaching includes a focus on feminist political thought and theories relating to sexuality and gender, has conducted research around prostitution laws and the governance of sex workers in Canadian cities.

She examined the complex relationships between laws, policies, practices, and actors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), a locale where many of Vancouver’s vulnerable women participate in sex work. Johnson’s research also drew on the parallels of drug users in the DTES, and whether the concept of harm reduction, which had become an accepted response to drug use, could present a framework applicable to sex work as well.