Previous Ruth Wynn Woodward Chairs

Ela Przybylo
Ruth Wynn Woodward Postdoctoral Fellow 2017-2019

Asexuality Studies Scholar and Feminist Editor

Ela is delighted to be undertaking work as the Ruth Wynn Woodward Fellow in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, located on unceded Coast Salish Territory, the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Kwikwetlem First Nations. Born in Wrocław, Poland and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Ela has a Bachelor of Design, a BA (Honors) in Women’s Studies, an MA in English and Film Studies and Women’s Studies (all from the University of Alberta), and a PhD in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies from York University. In 2016-2017 she was a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. Ela is also a Founding and Advisory Co-Editor and designer of the online feminist journal Feral Feminisms (

Focusing on the sexual identity and orientation of asexuality, Ela works on increasing the visibility of asexual communities, knowledges, and identifications in feminist and sexuality scholarship. Ela’s forthcoming book Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality (under advanced contract with Ohio State University Press) explores asexuality as facilitating a distinct form of erotic relating, drawing on the contributions of Audre Lorde and asexuality studies scholarship. Her work on asexuality includes the coining of the term “sexusociety” for exploring compulsory sexuality (Sexualities 2011), a co-authored methodological consideration of the implications of asexuality for queer theory (GLQ 2014), an analysis of a series of interviews with asexually-identified cisgender men (in Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives 2014), a brief exploration of asexuality in conversation with transgender studies (TSQ 2016), an examination of the scientific discourses around asexuality (Feminism & Psychology 2013), an intersectional overview of asexual community and research in the third edition of Introducing the New Sexuality Studies (2016), a co-written auto-ethnographic reflection on transnational post-socialist approaches to sexuality education (Memories of (Post)socialist Childhood and Schooling 2018), and a forthcoming co-written piece on asexual queer activism in the Polish context (in LGBTI+ Activism in Post-Soviet Spaces). While at SFU, Ela is thrilled to be teaching the first ever university-level course on asexuality offered anywhere, entitled “Critical Nonsexualities.” The class explores asexuality from intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives, includes two fieldtrips (to the UBC Sexual Health Lab with thanks to Lori Brotto and to a Vancouver ace-meetup at Qmmunity with thanks to Justine Munich), and asks students to build an asexual archive in the face of the historical absence of asexuality in LGBTQ2+ spaces. During her time at SFU, Ela is hosting talks and conferences on asexuality, such as the “Asexual Countercultures” and zine-making event co-organized with local ace activist Justine Munich and a first of its kind asexuality studies conference, co-organized with U.S. asexuality scholar KJ Cerankowski and planned for 2018.

In addition to teaching and researching asexuality, Ela is involved in a praxis-based approach to feminist digital cultures and feminist publishing through the inter/multimedia journal Feral Feminisms, which she co-founded in 2013. Through work on the journal, Ela has been involved in thinking about how feminist knowledge is made, how it circulates, and how it is in constant dialogue with activism, social media, and cultural production. Towards exploring these issues, Ela has been awarded a Teaching and Learning Development Grant to develop a course at SFU on “Intersectional Feminist Journal Praxis” which will bridge academic and popular feminism, art and text, practice and theory, scholarship and activism towards collectively developing—from start to finish—an inaugural issue of an undergraduate journal. Through this collaborative and hands-on course, students will have opportunities to think about the praxis of intersectional feminist action, the meanings of multiple voices and inter-media collaboration, and the dynamics of power flows and injustice. Ela’s interest in feminist digital cultures also extends to her scholarly contributions and she is at present co-editing a special issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology—a leading journal in gender and digital media—on the aesthetics of transnational protest, entitled “Visualizing Protest: Transnational Approaches to the Aesthetics of Dissent” (forthcoming 2018).

Working on cultivating an academic practice grounded in feminist collaboration, art, and creative writing, Ela is also proud of her recent nonfiction exploration of accents in “Bilingual Loneliness” (“Name Tags” series, Entropy 2017) and a crip reading of the invisibility of menstrual pain (Feminist Formations, forthcoming 2018, co-authored). Finally, Ela is the co-editor of two projects on bodies and representation: a special issue entitled “Hysteria Manifest: Cultural Lives of a Great Disorder” in the leading English Studies journal in Canada, English Studies in Canada (2014) and a forthcoming book project On the Politics of Ugliness (Palgrave 2018).

Ela is excited to work alongside and in conversation with feminist publishing and asexual communities in Vancouver, and invites collaborations, coven-making, and cranky-friendships in this regard. Please contact her with ideas and suggestions for overthrowing (in the words of bell hooks) the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and its attachments to compulsory sexuality, ableism, settler colonialism, and the gender binary. If you are curious about name pronunciation, please visit

On the Politics of Ugliness, co-edited by Ruth Wynn Woodward Postdoctoral Fellow Ela Przybylo and Sara Rodrigues is now published!

Ugliness or unsightliness is much more than a quality or property of an individual’s appearance—it has long functioned as a social category that demarcates access to social, cultural, and political spaces and capital. The editors of and authors in this collection harness intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches in order to examine ugliness as a political category that is deployed to uphold established notions of worth and entitlement. On the Politics of Ugliness identifies and challenges the harmful effects that labels and feelings of ugliness have on individuals and the socio-political order. It explores ugliness in relation to the intersectional processes of racialization, colonization and settler colonialism, gender-making, ableism, heteronormativity, and fatphobia. On the Politics of Ugliness asks that we fight against visual injustice and imagine new ways of seeing.

Asexual Erotics

Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality

Ela Przybylo

252 pp. 6 x 9
10 illustrations
EXPECTED Pub Date: August, 2019


ISBN 978-0-8142-1404-6

 ISBN: 978-0-8142-5542-1

Asexual Erotics strives to bring asexuality studies to feminist, queer, lesbian, and antiracist studies while thinking about how these fields have had nodes of non-sexual desire and attraction within them since at least the 60s. The book draws on Audre Lorde's formulation of the erotic to envision a way for thinking sexuality that is inclusive of asexuality and critical of compulsory sexuality.

Lucas Crawford
Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair, 2015-2016
Poet and Queer Humanities Scholar

Lucas was born in Halifax, raised in rural Nova Scotia, and attained BA Honours, MA, and PhD degrees in English from Saint Francis Xavier University, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Alberta respectively. In 2012, the University of Alberta awarded Lucas the Governor General’s Gold Medal as top doctoral graduate. Following this, Lucas took up a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at McGill, where the School of Architecture and the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies were co-hosts. Lucas was thrilled to join GSWS in 2013 as the RWW Lecturer.

Lucas’s primary fields of research are: modernist literature, queer theory and transgender studies, urbanism and architecture, popular culture (especially with regards to food), and critical theory. Transgender Architectonics: the Shape of Change in Modernist Space is Lucas’s scholarly book, which will come out in November 2015 (Ashgate). Publications such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, Mosaic, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Journal of Homosexuality, and English Studies in Canada have also published articles based on Lucas’s research. One such article was reprinted in The Routledge Queer Studies Reader and the second volume of The Transgender Studies Reader. Forthcoming book collections such as the exciting Queering the Countryside (NYU Press, 2015) and Trans Studies (Rutgers, 2016) will include work by Lucas as well.

As RWW Junior Chair 2015-2016, Lucas will be researching and organizing on the theme of “food matters” (with an emphasis on “food emotion” as it intersects with affect theory, food-stuffed novels, and queer theory). Lucas is excited to report that local and international food-writers alike are currently making plans to come speak with us on the lower mainland. In the Fall 2015 term, GSWS 333 (RWW Advanced Seminar) students will collaborate with the Thursday Writing Collective, a fabulous literary community based on the downtown eastside of Vancouver.

As a poet, Lucas will launch a book, Sideshow Concessions, in October 2015 (Invisible Publishing). This manuscript won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, while some of its poems also won the Atlantic Writing Competition from the Writers’ Federation of NS. Other venues where Lucas’s creative writing can be found include The Antigonish Review, The Nashwaak Review, Room, PRISM International, Other Voices, Rattle, Rampike, SubTerrain’s LineBreak project, The Literary Review of Canada and Best Canadian Poetry 2015. Lucas is the 2015 Critic-In-Residence of CWILA (Canadian Women in the Literary Arts).

Lucas is excited to continue collaborating with local change-makers and thinkers, and especially welcomes queries and conversations about food culture, urbanism, transgender aesthetics, and poetry.

Dr. Lucas Crawford is the winner of the 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.  

To read more please visit:
Matrix Magazine
Invisible Publishing

Dr. Tiffany Muller Myrdahl
Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair, 2012-2015
Feminist Urban Geographer

Tiffany is thrilled to be in residence as the Junior Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair in Gender and Urban Studies, 2012-15. Tiffany completed her PhD in Geography and a certificate in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2008. Since 2008, she has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies and an associate member of the Department of Geography at the University of Lethbridge. She is on leave from the University of Lethbridge during her tenure as the Junior RWW Chair.

Tiffany’s research links urban, social, and feminist geography with a focus on social inclusion and feminist praxis. She employs a community-engaged qualitative research practice to examine the social and spatial processes that constitute and shape cities. Her scholarship has attended to the spatial logics of sport-centred urban entrepreneurial policies; the social geographies and mobilities of marginalized communities, with an emphasis on women and LGBTQ populations; the relationship between urban contexts (histories, economies, and cultural politics) and the formation of gender and sexual subjectivities and communities; and the intersection between municipal social policy and planning praxis. Her academic publications can be found in Gender, Place and Culture; Social & Cultural Geography; Journal of Lesbian Studies; Leisure/Loisir; Leisure Studies; and ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies (forthcoming). Her recent work also includes chapters in Queerying Planning: Challenging Heteronormative planning practice (Ashgate, 2011) and in Stadium Worlds: Football, Space and the Built Environment (Routledge, 2010).

Tiffany’s current research combines critical analyses of urban policy with the development of a queer oral history archive and an examination of the socio-spatial formations of LGBTQ identities. She uses oral history methodologies and analyses of urban social policy and participatory planning schemes to understand urban change in Lethbridge, Alberta. This project, entitled "The lives of (sexual) others: social difference and urban change in Lethbridge, Alberta," is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the University of Lethbridge, and has been supported by the Centre for Feminist Research at York University, where Tiffany was in residence during spring 2012.

As Junior RWW Chair, Tiffany will be teaching, writing, and organizing events around the theme of feminist urban futures. The first component of this program is Tiffany’s fall course, the Advanced RWW Seminar. You can read about and participate in the course here: The course website includes lecture and discussion materials, texts, and links to many additional sources that explore questions of and experiments in urban social inclusion. (More links are always welcome!) You don’t need to be enrolled in the course to participate in the online conversation.

Tiffany will also be participating with the Women Transforming Cities initiative throughout the year: You can meet her at WTC events and at RWW events, which will be announced here and at the RWWP current activities website:

Dr. Dana Mohammed Olwan
Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair, 2011-2012
Critical Race Theory and Muslim Feminist Scholar and Activist

Dana began her BA studies in English Literature at Yarmouk Univeristy (Irbid, Jordan). She completed her BA in English at La Roche College (Pittsburgh, PA) and her MA at the English Department of Georgetown University (Washington, DC). In 2009, Dana received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Queen’s University’s English Department (Kingston, Ontario). Her dissertation, “The Politics of Legibility: Writing and Reading Contemporary Arab American Women’s Literature,” examined the practices of writing, publishing, marketing, and reading fictional works by Arab American women writers post 9/11. After completing her doctoral work, Dana became Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University where she received the W. J. Barnes Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. In the Summer 2011, she was the Future Minority Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women’s and Gender Studies Department of Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York) where she began her book-length project on honour killings in Canada.

Tentatively entitled "Dishonourable Crimes: Murder, Rescue, and the Politics of Canadian Multiculturalism," this project lies at the intersections of race, gender, and feminist studies. Utilizing a broad range of theoretical frameworks, my work maps the ways in which ideas about states, citizenship, belonging, and religion are deployed to code certain acts of violence against women as “honour crimes.” In this work, I explore a range of issues relating to the areas of Islam, Gender Studies, and the politics of Canadian multiculturalism.

During her tenure at SFU, Dana will teach a number of courses, including two courses on transnational feminist theory in the Fall term and one on Islam and feminism during the Spring term. Dana is committed to doing anti-racist feminist work in the classroom and beyond. She has participated in various activist organizations, including Free Queen’s!, OPIRG Kingston, The Ban Righ Center, and Faculty for Palestine.

Download Final Report
from RWW Junior Chair 2011-2012

Dr. Thea Cacchioni
Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair, 2010-2011
Sociologist and Activist

Thea earned her BA in Women’s Studies at UBC and her MA and PhD in Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK. For the past few years, she has worked as a full-time lecturer at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. Thea's research interests include gender; sexuality; health; medicalization; ‘Female Sexual Dysfunction;’ and ‘Sexual Revolution.’ She has published in the journals Sexualities, Sociology, and the Sociology of Health and Illness. She is currently working on a book entitled 'The Labour of Love: Women in the Second Sexual Revolution' (University of Toronto Press).

Thea believes that a truly integrated perspective on women’s health does not end in the classroom. In June, 2010 she testified at an FDA advisory hearing against the approval of Flibanserin, a daily anti-depressant drug with several 'unsexy' side-effects (proposed to treat 'hypo-active sexual desire disorder' in pre-menopausal women). In September, 2010 she attended a counter-symposium to the 'Second Global Symposium on Cosmetic Vaginal Surgery' in Las Vegas, Nevada. During her residency at SFU, she taaught a class on the medicalization of sex, chaired an interdisciplinary, multi-media conference on this theme (April 29th-30th, 2011), and engaged in other forms of public outreach in this area.

Download Final Report from RWW Junior Chair 2010-2011

Dana Claxton
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair 2009 - 2010
Interdisciplinary artist

Dana Claxton is an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes film and video, installation, performance and photography. Her work is held in public collections, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Art Bank of Canada. Her work has been screened internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis). Her work has been screened at Sundance Festival and Microwave in Hong Kong. She has taught at the Indigenous Media Arts Group and Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver and she was the 2003 Global Television Chair at the University of Regina in the School of Journalism where she taught Television and Radio broadcasting from the perspective of critical thinking and experimentation with sound and images. Dana was awarded the prestigious VIVA Award from the Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation and in 2007 became an Eiteljorg Fellow sponsored by the Ford Foundation. She is an active member in the arts community and has participated in panel discussions, juries, curatorial projects, advisory committees, mentoring youth and young artists. She is of Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux ancestry.

Final Report from RWW Chair 2009-2010

Dr. Afua Cooper
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair 2008 - 2009
Historian and Writer

Afua Cooper holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in the history of the African Diaspora with specialties in Black Canadian history. Dr. Cooper’s research on Black Canadian history has made her a leading authority in the field. History was made in Vancouver, when scholars and community activists from various parts of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom formed the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA). The formation of the BCSA was the outcome of a very successful three-day workshop. The BSCA aims to create a common forum for scholars and activists from the various Black communities to study, research and share ideas to advance the interest and understanding of Black Canada and the Diaspora. Workshop organizer, Dr. Afua Cooper was elected interim Chair.

Final Report from RWW Chair 2008-2009

Dr. Susan Stryker
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 2007 - 2008
Historian, Philosopher, and Writer

Susan Stryker, PhD UCBerkley, historian, philosopher, and writer, served as the RWWP from September 2007 to August 2008. She organized a very successful conference while at SFU, TransSomatechnics:Theories and practices of Gender Embodiment

Final Report from RWW Chair 2007-2008


Kate Braid
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 2006 - 2007
Poet, Non-Fiction Writer and Carpenter

Kate Braid, MA SFU, MFA UBC served as RWWP from September 2006 to August 2007.

Women in Trades Conference Report




Dr. Elizabeth Philipose
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 2005 - 2006
Political Scientist

Elizabeth Philipose, BA UVic, MA York U, PhD York U served as RWWP from September 2005 to August 2006. Dr. Philipose researches and teaches in the area of political science, feminist theory and international relations.

Final Report of Liz Philipose RWW Chair


Dr. Louise Chappell
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, Spring 2005
Political Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Louise Chappell, BA UNE PhD Syd, served as RWWP from January to April 2005. Dr. Chappell researches and teaches in the area of human rights, comparative Australian politics and policy, and gender and politics.She coordinated a very successful symposium on March 18, 2005 "Working inside and outside government: Women's strategies for change".

Read the Final Report

Dr. Sue Wilkinson
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 2002 - 2004

Sue Wilkinson served as RWWP from 2002 to 2004. Dr. Wilkinson researches and teaches in the area of feminist psychology; feminist methodologies, including focus groups; women's health, particularly breast cancer and lesbian health issues; sexuality and sexual identities.

Read the Final Report

Dionne Brand
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 2000 - 2002
Poet, Novelist and Essayist

Dr. Sunera Thobani
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1996 - 2000
Sociologist and Activist

Dr. Vanaja Dhruvarajan
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1994 - 1995

Sad Passing of Vanaja Dhruvarajan

Dr. Margaret Malone
Ruth Wynn Woodward Post-Doctoral Fellow January - December 1993

Dr. Margaret Little
Ruth Wynn Woodward Post-Doctoral Fellow January - December 1993
Political Science

Dr. Marnie Stanley
Ruth Wynn Woodward Post-Doctoral Fellow September 1991 - August 1992

Dr. Deborrah Dunne
Ruth Wynn Woodward Post-Doctoral Fellow September 1991 - August 1992

Dr. Hilda Ching
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1990 - 1991

Dr. Marjorie Griffin Cohen
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1989 - 1990

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Professor, has written extensively in the areas of public policy and political economy with special emphasis on issues concerning international trade agreements, the Canadian economy, electricity deregulation, women, and labour. She is the author of Free Trade and the Future of Women’s work; Women’s Work, Markets and Economic Development; and a two volume series on Canadian Women’s Issues: Bold Visions and Strong women. Among her edited collections are Sexual Economics (Atlantis), Training the Excluded for Work, Global Turbulence, and Governing Under Stress. Professor Cohen is currently a director of NewGrade Energy (Sask) and has served on several boards and commissions in British Columbia including the B.C. Industrial Inquiry Commission on the Fisheries; Board of Directors of B.C. Hydro; Board of Directors of B.C. Power Exchange. She was also instrumental in establishing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in B.C., was its first Chair, and is on its Board of Directors. She has also been active in feminist issues, serving for many years on the executive board of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. She is past Chair of Women's Studies at SFU and heads the Economic Security Project.

Daphne Marlatt
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1988 - 1989
Writer and Literary Critic

Rosemary Brown
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1987

Dr. Susan Penfold
Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, 1985 -1986