Katie Gravestock


Program: PhD

Supervisor: Kendra Strauss


  • Diploma (Peace & Conflict Studies) Langara College
  • BA (Political Science, Minor in Labour Studies) Simon Fraser University
  • MA (Political Science) University of Victoria

Research Interests

My academic training and research interests span Canadian politics, feminist political economy, labour market change, and critical commodity chains. My MA thesis explores the effects of fast fashion, and the overproduction and overconsumption of cheap, disposable clothing, through an examination of what happens to unsold clothing donations at thrift stores in Victoria, BC. Using a case study approach, I investigated two key levels of the commodity chain of second-hand clothing: individual consumers who donate excess clothes, and thrift stores. The results of my research highlight how thrift stores in Victoria, BC contribute to the global trade in second-hand clothing, a trade which (re)produces uneven geographical development between the global North and South.  

Currently, I am researching the relationship between urban governance and precarious employment in the retail sector in Vancouver, BC. Building on my MA work on feminist political economy, I am investigating gender segregation, working conditions, and barriers to unionization in the retail sector, and the political, social, and economic dimensions that contribute to precarity in this sector.