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A.J. Withers (they/them)
Ruth Wynn Woodward Jr Chair (2022-2024)
A.J. Withers is the Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Department and an activist and scholar working towards decolonial social justice. Their primary focuses are on issues of homelessness and disability justice. Their latest book, Fight to Win: Inside Poor People’s Organizing (2021, Fernwood) is based on homelessness organizing work in Toronto – which they were involved in for about twenty years. They co-authored A Violent History of Benevolence: Interlocking Oppression in the Moral Economies of Social Working, with Chris Chapman (2019, University of Toronto Press). This book is an examination of the harms that people who believe they have good intentions cause when they set out to help others/‘the other’. It examines professional social work’s (and non-professionals doing social working) active role in genocide, white supremacy, eugenics and cisheteropatriarchy. Their first book is Disability Politics and Theory (2012, Fernwood) which provides an accessible entry into understanding disability, ableism and access. They teach courses that centre an intersectional analysis of social justice and examine issues of power, social relations, capitalism, colonialism and social change.
Future courses may be subject to change.