Keynote Speakers


Swati Parashar

Swati Parashar is Associate Professor in Peace and Development at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is a research associate at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD), at SOAS, London and a Visiting Faculty at the Malaviya Centre for Peace Research, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. She has previously been a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. Her research and teaching engage with the intersections between feminism and postcolonialism, focused on conflict and development in South Asia. She is especially interested in studying the textured narratives of violence, its various forms and gendered nature and impact. She is the author of Women and Militant Wars: The Politics of Injury (Routledge: London, 2014), co-editor (with Ann Tickner and Jacqui True) of Revisiting Gendered States: Feminist Imaginings of the State in International Relations (OUP: London, New York, 2018) and co-editor (with Jane Parpart) of Rethinking Silence, Voice and Agency in Contested Gendered Terrains (OUP: London, New York, 2018). She serves on the advisory boards of International Feminist Journal of Politics and Millennium: Journal of International Studies. With Marysia Zawleski, Cristina Masters and Shine Choi she is the co-editor of the Book Series, 'Creative Interventions in Global Politics' with Rowman and Littlefield. She has been an active member of the International Studies Association for over a decade, serving within its Governing Council as Chair of the Peace Studies Section, Member at Large of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section and Member of the Academic Freedom Committee. She has been actively engaged with international media, as an op ed writer and radio and TV commentator. 

Keynote Abstract:

Ordinary Lives and the Certitudes of Violence: Rethinking Accountability and Justice

We inhabit the era of certitudes, and certitudes are violent. Discussions on the nature of violence itself has produced discursive certitudes that become obstacles in the pursuit of peace and justice. The attention to violence in public discourse is enhanced by extensive 24x7 media coverage of war affected landscapes, injured and mutilated bodies, blood, gore and displacement of people, all of which demonstrate the rupture of ‘normalcy’ and exceptionality. What does not get as much media/scholarly attention and does not make it to the public discourse are certain other kinds of violence and mass atrocities where the death and suffering are neither a rupture of everyday life, nor a body count that can be routinely sensationalized and evoked in the nurturing of political constituencies and in demands for accountability. These are slow, unaesthetic and ordinary deaths of ordinary lives. Consider, for example, that we pay attention to war bodies and fleeing refugees from Iraq and Syria, but very little attention is given to emaciated and 'feminized' bodies dying of hunger and famine in Yemen. In this talk, I focus on the ways in which we have normalised and masculinised what and how we know of violence.  I am interested in the visual, discursive and ethical exclusions and inclusions of political violence in particular, when and who maybe outside or inside it, and how it is significantly gendered. Why it is important to talk about violence, where the violence occurs, what counts as violence and who gets to speak about violence. Most importantly, how can we reframe and reclaim violence in the pursuit of justice?



Sima Shakhsari

Sima Shakhsari teaches in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. They are interested in transnational feminist theory, transnational sexuality studies, non-Eurocentric queer and transgender studies, Middle East studies, empire, militarism, neoliberal governmentality, digital media, refugee studies, diasporas, and political anthropology. They earned their PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University and have held postdoctoral positions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wolf Humanities Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Houston. Shakhsari was an Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Wellesley College before joining GWSS at UMN in 2016, and has a long history of activism at queer and women’s organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Shakhsari’s articles have been published in Feminist Review, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Sexualities Journal, Queer Necropolitics, and Transgender Studies II. Their forthcoming book manuscript titled “Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan” (forthcoming with Duke University Press in 2019) provides an analysis of Weblogistan as a site of cybergovernmentality where simultaneously national and neoliberal gendered subjectivities are produced through online and offline heteronormative disciplining and normalizing techniques. Shakhsari’s current research examines the way that Iranian queer and transgender asylum seekers in Turkey, Canada and the U.S. are nationalized/denationalized, sexed, gendered, and raced in multiple re-reterritorializations as they transition across national boundaries, online and offline “frontiers,” sexual norms, religious discourses, and geopolitical terrains during the “war on terror.”

Keynote Abstract: 

Violence of Freedom: Loaned Life and Rightful Killing

In this talk, I will focus on the conjoined politics of death and democratization under the rhetoric of rights.Postulating life as an asset that is afforded, denied, or conditionally loaned to populations that hold different value in relationship to the abstract notion of rights, I explore how notions of sexual rights and liberation are deployed by liberalizing projects that sanction violence in the name of democratization. Risky populations, those who are seen as containing the risk of “terrorism” while being represented as victims in need of rescue and protection, live a loaned life that is contingent on compliance and benevolence: The benevolence of liberalizing regimes depends on the compliance of risky subjects with geopolitical interests (make live only if) and temporality of rights (make live only as long as). Focusing on the “crippling sanctions” that have made life for most Iranians—especially the most vulnerable—unlivable, I argue that slow death is not the unintended effect of liberalizing projects (including the sexual liberation projects), but their very goal. 



Kathy Sanderson

Kathy Sanderson is an Assistant Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. She teaches human resources and organizational behaviour. Her research interests include emotional abuse at work, job rejection and sensitivity, abusive supervision, workplace ostracism, and cultural humility. Prior to joining Lakehead University, Kathy worked as an Executive Director in health-allied organizations, including a women’s shelter, sexual assault response team, and mental health and addictions residential facility. She has been involved in feminist organizations and feminist research throughout her career. Dr. Sanderson holds a Bachelor of Administration (BAdmin), Masters of Management (MMgt) and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Management (PhD). She is also a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada, and provides workplace-based crisis response services and interventions to both management and employees.

Keynote Abstract:

Coercive Control in the Workplace: Repositioning Ostracism and Emotional Abuse in a Violence Framework

Consistently, workplaces attempt to address aggression with conflict management practices. These approaches are largely ineffective, place blame on the victim, and potentially increase incidents of abuse at work. In this keynote, Prof. Sanderson will bring together the fields of intimate partner violence and abuse in the workplace. Drawing on her experience as a women’s shelter director and researcher of harm at work, the parallels between the two abuses will be explored. Using examples of ostracism and emotional abuse at work, workplace aggressions will be repositioned within a violence context. Reframing workplace aggression with a coercive control lens will present new options for interventions, which focus on victim safety and risk assessment, rather than reconciliation.