Reflections on Attending Thompson Rivers University’s 10th Annual Philosophy, History,
and Politics Undergraduate Conference
Thompson Rivers University lies above the valley that holds the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers. From the windows of many of the classrooms in which the 10th Annual Philosophy, History, and Politics Undergraduate Conference was held, attendees could view the rolling, snowy mountains over the arms of the forked river.
Papers on topics as wide-ranging as local history, international politics, literature, and art
theory were presented with the sagebrush and ponderosa pines as a backdrop. I was
honoured to present alongside more than fifty other undergraduate students with
promising work in many disciplines across the arts and social sciences. As a joint gender,
sexuality, and women’s studies and humanities major, it was inspiring to share my
perspectives and to listen to the thoughts and research of other undergraduate students.
I was excited to present my paper in the “Race and Identity in the Eyes of the Law”
panel. My paper, “The X Factor: Creative Possibilities Between Lines” explores issues of
mixed race identity at the conjunctions of storytelling and theoretical approaches to
embodied experience. I was nervous to present (it didn’t help that my grandparents were
watching from the first row), but I was quickly encouraged by the thoughtful questions
from the audience. I was also inspired by the brilliance of the two other presenters in my
panel, Brett Hill and Braden Mackenzie, both TRU students discussing issues of Indigeneity
and Canadian law. In a panel that aimed to tackle such a broad and difficult topic, I felt
fortunate to have my perspectives and knowledge rooted in the queer, feminist, and critical
theories which I have worked with in both SFU departments I belong to. “The X Factor” is a
paper I have worked on with several SFU GSWS profs, particularly Dr. Coleman Nye. The
guidance and critique I have received throughout my degree has been integral to shaping
and strengthening my work.
The conference was well attended by faculty and both local and visiting students,
engendering lively discussion even as the weekend closed. Making connections with
students from TRU and as far as the University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University
was one of the highlights of the weekend, and a part of the conference which I had not
anticipated. The energy and inspiration I am left with is carrying me through my final
semester, and inspires me to continue to develop and share my research.
Thank you to the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department, Gender, Sexuality,
and Women’s Studies Student Union, the Simon Fraser Student Union, and the Humanities
Department for their generous support in making my presentation at this conference
Jane Komori is a joint gender, sexuality, and women’s studies and humanities major in her
final semester at Simon Fraser University. She pursues creative writing, activism, and
academic work in Vancouver, BC.