2016 Keynotes

Opening Keynote: Dr. Sunera Thobani

Sunera Thobani is Associate Professor in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. Her teaching and research focus on critical race, postcolonial and feminist theory, globalization and violence, citizenship, migration, Muslim women, the War on Terror, and media representation.

Dr. Thobani served as Director of the Race, Autobiography, Gender and Age (RAGA) Centre at the UBC (2008-12) and is a founding member of the Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equity (RACE), a cross-Canada network that promotes the research and scholarship of academics of colour and of Indigenous ancestry. She is also Past President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Canada’s then largest feminist organization.

dr thobani


Closing Keynote: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performance artist and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author of the Lambda Award-winning “Love Cake,” “Dirty River,” “Bodymap” and “Consensual Genocide” and co-editor with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani of “The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities,” her writings on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, and healing, disability and transformative justice have appeared in the anthologies “Octavia’s Brood,” “Dear Sister,” “Letters Lived,” “Undoing Border Imperialism,” “Stay Solid,” “Persistence: Still Butch and Femme,” “Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands,” “Colonize This,” “We Don’t Need Another Wave,” “Bitchfest,” “Without a Net,” “Dangerous Families,” “Brazen Femme,” “Femme” and “A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over The World.” She is the co-founder of Mangos With Chili, North America’s touring queer and trans people of color cabaret, a lead artist with the disability justice incubator Sins Invalid and co-founder of Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press’ 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future and she is a 2013 Autostraddle Hot 105 member.


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