Dr. Rachel Hurst to deliver StFX’s Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series
The Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series at StFX will hold its fourth annual lecture on Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m. in Schwartz 205. The annual lecture is an initiative of the Hive for Feminist Research, an interdisciplinary research group formed in 2013 to increase the visibility and understanding of feminist research at StFX in all its diversities. A reception will follow the lecture, and all are welcome.
This year’s presenter is Dr. Rachel Hurst of the Women and Gender Studies Program, whose talk is entitled: “Settler Fantasies and Colonial ‘Before and After’ Photography.” Drawing on her experience in her previous work on cosmetic surgery and other idealized representations of women, Dr. Hurst will discuss the connections between visual culture, embodiment, and power within the vast photographic archive of Indigenous peoples from the later nineteenth and early twentieth-century North America. These photographs were taken by colonial settlers and those of European descent rather than Indigenous peoples themselves. They therefore represent the fantasies that European settlers had about Indigenous peoples, yet they were presented as objective evidence of Indigenous life and peoples, Dr. Hurst says. She argues that this archive systematically imposed European norms of gender and sexuality on Indigenous peoples. She suggests: “While there are scholars who situate gender and sexuality as central to their analyses of photographs in specific places and times, what is missing is a broad understanding of how these photographs are connected to one another across time and place – and into the present – through gender and sexuality as they are framed within a settler ‘before and after’ logic of Indigenous transformation.”
Dr. Hurst is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at StFX. She founded the Hive for Feminist Research in summer 2013 to offer a space for StFX researchers to share and discuss work. The Hive defines feminist research broadly as a type of inquiry concerned with understanding relations of power, particularly those based on gender as it intersects with race, sexuality, class, and ability.
Dr. Christina Holmes, member of the lecture committee commented, “Dr. Hurst was chosen to give this year’s lecture both to honour her contributions to feminist research at St. Francis Xavier University, as well as the importance of her current topic of research to Canadian society and how we understand reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
The Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series serves as a connection between all four faculties, the Coady, and the library. The lecture series runs on a three-year cycle, with a speaker from the Arts/Science/Library in year one, a speaker from Business/Education in year two, and from the Coady International Institute in year three.
Members of the Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series committee include Christina Holmes (Arts), Ann Fox (Science), Laura Lee Kearns (Education), Lori McKee (Education) and Shelley Price (Business). Gratitude extended to Meghan Landry (Library) and Naima Chowdhury (Coady) who have supported the committee in the preparations of the lecture series.