Feminist Dialogues  

Women and Social and Environmental Justice
Vol. 31, Nos. 1,2

Guest edited by: Leigh Brownhill, Ana Isla and Sujata Thapa-Bhattarai


About the Contributors

Guest Editors

Leigh Brownhill is an author, editor and independent scholar, focusing her research on women’s human rights, food sovereignty, community development and social movements in Kenya, Canada and globally. She teaches courses in Sociology and Communications Studies at Athabasca University and is the author of the 2009 book, Land, Food, Freedom: Struggles for the Gendered Commons in Kenya, 1870-2007. She is also lead co-editor of the 2016 book, Food Security, Gender and Resilience: Improving Smallholder and Subsistence Farming.

Ana Isla is Professor with a joint appointment in the Sociology Department and the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies (wgst) at Brock University. She teaches courses in the graduate and in the undergraduate programs. She also has an affiliation with the Social Justice Program. Isla’s research focuses on the consequences of the Earth Summits, and sustainable development, in particular in Costa Rica and Peru. Her book, The Greening of Costa Rica: Women, Peasants, Indigenous People, and the Remaking of Nature (University of Toronto Press, 2015) uncovers the creation of a new form of capital accumulation, which she calls “greening,” arguing that it is the final step of dispossession and privatization of the commons.

Sujata Thapa-Bhattarai holds a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Gender and Peace-building, from the un University for Peace in Costa Rica. She has directed and led initiatives on non-violence, environmental conservation, peace-building, women and youth empowerment, and post conflict reconstruction projects in South Asia for more than ten years as an active member of womenwagingpeace.org, and the South Asian Gender Activist Network (sangat). In 2003, she co-founded Youth Initiative, perhaps one of Nepal’s most successful youth-led institutions. She worked as a peace-building specialist at Search for Common Ground, supporting partnerships during Nepal’s peace process, and on reintegration of child soldiers in the post-conflict period. Currently she is a PhD candidate in Planning at the University of Toronto, with a research focus on safe mobility and transportation for women’s empowerment in cities of the Global South.


A self-identified African feminist Dorothy Attakora-Gyan straddles multiple often conflicting positionalities. With identities as hyphenated as her last name, she is currently completing her Ph.D. at the Institute for Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. Dorothy is invested in studying the processes, discourses and practices of solidarity building across differences within transnational feminist networks. Always keen on pushing boundaries and disrupting taken for granted assumptions of normativity, she is continuously interrogating how power and privilege operate in interlocking ways.

Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen is a social anthropologist, university professor, feminist activist, co-founder of German Women’s Studies, and an important contributor to feminist subsistence theory. She has done extensive research and been published on peasant societies (Mexico, Bolivia, Germany, Austria), among them the matriarchal community of Juchitán (Mexico).

Rosalie Bertell was born in the U.S. in 1929, and passed in 2012, at the age of 83, at her Order “The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart” in Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in biometrics from the Catholic University of America, Washington, in 1966. She was awarded nine PhD honoris causa and many awards, among others the Right Livelyhood Award in 1986. She was the co-founder of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (iicpc) in Toronto (1984) and the International Physicians for Humanitarian Medicine in Geneva (1999). She is the author of No Immediate Danger? Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth (Women’s Press, 1985) and Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War (Women’s Press, 2000). She was a consultant to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to Health Canada. Since 1990, she was a member of the U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission (ijc). She has conducted research with institutions in Japan, Germany, popular ecological organizations on the Marshall Islands, in Malaysia, India, and the Philippines. She was also a member of the Permanent Tribunal of Peoples, the International Medical Commission of Bhopal, and the International Commission of Physicians for Chernobyl in Viena (1996).

Leigh Brownhill teaches Sociology and Communication Studies at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada, with a focus on environment, social movements, food sovereignty and eco-feminism.

Ana Isla is a Professor at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, Brock University. She is the author of The“Greening” of Costa Rica. Women, Peasants, Indigenous people and the Remaking of Nature (2015).

Wahu M. Kaara is a global social justice activist from Kenya.

Laavanya Kaushik is currently working as a Legal Counsellor at the Delhi Commission for Women, a statutory body mandated to investigate and examine all matters relating to safeguards provided for women under the constitution of India and other relevant laws. She is also completing her undergraduate degree, with double major in Arts and Law. For the past five years, she has worked with the ngo, Folks and Us Foundation.

Born in Saskatchewan, Margaret Kress, a woman of Métis, French, English, and German ancestry, is guided by the words of elders in her quest of a transformative education, and a conscious society. As teacher, advisor, and learner, Margaret works to explore and present discourses encompassing inclusivity, gentleness, traditional knowledges, and justice frameworks to help others see in new ways. She has worked closely with women Elders and knowledge keepers throughout Canada in the area of Indigenous wellness and environmental justice. Currently, she supports students and faculty at the University of New Brunswick in teaching, research, and critical issues associated with Aboriginal education, Indigenous research methodologies, environmentalism, storywork, and decolonizing and self-determining practices.

Ronnie Joy Leah is an educator, dancer and feminist activist. She has a Ph.D. in Education (oise, 1986) and is a Certified Expressive Arts Practitioner (2009). She teaches Women’s and Gender Studies at Athabasca University and is course co-author for “Goddess Mythology, Women’s Spirituality, and Ecofeminism.” She has trained with deep ecologist Joanna Macy as a facilitator for “The Work That Reconnects.” Ronnie Joy’s vision of “Earth Love” is expressed through sacred circle dancing and sacred ecology workshops.

Martha McMahon is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the Director of the Human Dimensions of Climate Change minor degree program. She was a full-time farmer in Ireland before immigrating to Canada to do graduate work and now she farms part-time.

Rachel O’Donnell is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at York University, Toronto. Her ongoing work is on feminist critiques of science, colonialism, and biotechnology. She has lived and worked in Latin America, and has previously published on Sor Juana de La Cruz, revolutionary movements, and migration.

Xochitl Rubio is a graduate of fine arts from the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto. Xochitl’s paintings and photography take a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. Her work aims at documenting the human condition, altering landscapes and social injustice.

Reena Shadaan is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Currently, Shadaan is a member of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal-North America’s (icjb-na) Coordinating Committee, which, under the leadership of survivors and grassroots activists in Bhopal, seeks justice for survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster. In addition, Shadaan is part of the Endocrine Disruptors Action Group, which is concerned with the widespread prevalence of endocrine disrupting chemicals in Canada.

Terisa E. Turner is an independent scholar working mainly on petroleum issues.

Claudia von Werlhof, was born in 1943 in Berlin, Germany. She is an economist, sociologist and political scientist, and since 1988, Full Professor for Women’s Studies and Political Science at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. She has conducted empirical research in Latin America, is the co-founder of International Women’s Studies, the Bielefeld School, an activist against neoliberal globalization, and founder of “critical theory of patriarchy,” a new paradigm in science. She is also the founder of the “Planetary Movement for Mother Earth” (www.pbme-online.org), and co-founder of boomerang–Journal for the Critique of Patriarchy, available on www.fipaz.at.

Irene Friesen Wolfstone holds an ma (integrated studies) from Athabasca University (2016) and is pursuing doctoral work on matriculture and food sovereignty. She lives in Pinawa, Manitoba, where she is active in the transition movement. Living in a round house is a catalyst for thinking outside the box.


Vivian Demuth’s ecofeminist novel, Bear War-den, has been published April 2015 by Inanna Publications. Her poetry book, Fire Watcher (Guernica Editions, 2013) was a finalist for the 2013 Banff Mountain Fiction and Poetry Award. Vivian is also the author of an ecological novel, Eyes of the Forest (Smoky Peach Press, 2007). She has worked as a park ranger and park warden, an outdoor educator and as a fire lookout in the Rocky Mountains.

Katerina Vaughan Fretwell’s eighth poetry book, which includes her arrt, Dancing on a Pin, was published by Inanna Publications in 2015. Five of the poems placed as “runner-up” in subTerrain’s Outsider Poetry Contest, 2015. Her seventh book, Class Acts, also published by Inanna in 2013, was included in Kerry Clare’s Most Important Books of 2013: Poetry on the online 49th Shelf. She lives in Seguin, Ontario.

Terran Giacomini is a PhD candidate in Community Development and Adult Education at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (oise). She is an activist-researcher in the struggle for worldwide system transition away from fossil fuel-dependent capitalism toward a successor epoch characterized by solar commoning.

Clara A. B. Joseph is Associate Professor of English at the University of Calgary. Her poems have appeared in journals such as the Toronto Review, Mother Earth International, Canadian Woman Studies and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Her first book of poetry, The Face of the Other, is forthcoming with ip Publishing, Brisbane, Australia.

Marlene Kadar is a Toronto writer, and Professor in Humanities and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University.

Poet, performer and playwright Penn Kemp is the League of Canadian Poets Life Member and their Spoken Word Artist of 2015. Her latest works are Barbaric Cultural Practice, a collection of poetry from Quattro Books, and two anthologies edited for the Feminist Caucus Archives of the League of Poets: Performing Women and Women and Multimedia.

Nashwa Kham is currently enrolled in the Masters of Environmental Studies at York University with areas of concentration focused on narrative medicine, community and public health, as well as refugee and migration studies.

Andrée Lachapelle’s work deals with issues of sexuality, survival and social isolation. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous online and print publications including Dining Out; Scarborough Arts; Safeword Magazine; Broken Pencil; and Canadian Woman Studies. She works as a Yoga and Pilates teacher in the Greater Toronto Area and shares her life with a wonderfully supportive husband, an aging lady cat. and birds of many feathers.

Donna Langevin’s latest poetry collections include In the Café du Monde (Hidden Brook Press, 2008), and The Laundress of Time (Aeolus Press, 2015).

Christina Lloyd holds an ma in Hispanic languages and literature from U.C. Berkeley and an ma in creative writing from Lancaster University. In addition to two chapbooks, her work appears in various journals, including, The North and Meniscus. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in creative writing through Lancaster Univeristy.

Ilona Martonfi is the author of three poetry books, Blue Poppy (Coracle Press, 2009), Black Grass (Broken Rules Press, 2012), and The Snow Kimono (Inanna, 2015). Ilona has published in Vallum, Accenti, The Fiddlhead, and Serai. She is also the recipient of the QWF 2010 Community Award.

Susan McCaslin is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, Toronto, 2014), and Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2012), which was short-listed for the bc Book Prize (Dorothy Livesay Award) and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award). Her next volume of poetry is Painter, Poet, Mountain (Quattro Books, Sept. 2016). In the Fall of 2017, Inanna Publications will be publishing her Into the Open: Poems New and Selected. Susan lives in Fort Langley, British Columbia.

A Montreal-based writer and translator, Alison Newall has been an avid reader and writer all her life, discovering the magic of words when she learned to read, and the magic of writing shortly after that. Short stories have appeared in Hejira and The Female Complaint, while her poems have been published in Fruits of the Branch, carte blanche, jarm, and cws/cf. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook and a novel for younger readers.

Naturalist/poet, Ceo Rourke is an award winning writer and a graduate of Vancouver Island University. Widely published in anthologies and literary journals, Ceo writes from a small island cabin, inspired by marine life, coastal storms, and the tenacity of trees.

Laura Sweeney facilitates Writers for Life in central Iowa. She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist’s Conference in Oslo, Norway. Her recent and forthcoming publications include poems in Evening Street Review, Negative Capability Press, Main Street Rag, Folia, Wordrunner eChapbook, Yellow Chair Review, Balloons Lit. Journal, East Jasmine Review, and Nuclear Impact Anthology: Broken Atoms in Our Hands.

Heidi Tabata is a traveller and student of life, love, law, and philosophy. Sometimes she writes incoherently about these things.

Heather H. Thomas is the author of Blue Ruby (FootHills Publishig), Resurrection Papers (Chax Press), and Practicing Amnesia (Singing Horse Press). Her work has been recognized with a Rita Dove Honorable Mention Prize in Poetry, two Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry, and a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship.

Joanna M. Weston is married with one cat, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen houses. Her most recent poetry collection, A Bedroom of Searchlights, was published in spring 2016 by Inanna Publications.

Kristin Camitta Zimet is the author of Take in My Arms the Dark, a collection of poetry, and the editor of The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. Her poetry is in journals including Lullwater Review, Poet Lore, and Salamander, and she co-founded a poetry performance troupe. She works as a nature guide, photographer, and Reiki healer.

Book Reviews

Tasia Alexopoulos is a Ph.D. candidate in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University. Her research is on polygamy in Canada and the United States. She currently teaches Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.

Elizabeth S. Cohen is a Professor of History at York University. She teaches and writes about women in early modern Europe, especially working women in Italy. She has recently visited Uzbekistan.

Elizabeth D’Angelo is a doctoral candidate at York University in the department of English Literature. She has worked in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock University for several years.

Trina De Souza is a Ph.D. student in York University’s graduate program in Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies. Her research interests include feminism and Women’s Studies in higher education, and arts-based pedagogy.

University Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Policy and Administration, Robert Drummond taught at York University for 42 years; former Dean of Arts at York 2001-2009.

Lauren Fournier is an artist and PhD student in the Department of English at York University, where she studies contemporary feminist literature, art theory, and performance. HShe is currently a sshrc Doctoral-cgs holder.

Deborah Herman is an emerging academic with a doctorate in the Humanities from York University. Her fields of expertise include gender, European history, myth and folktale.

Jolin Joseph is a Ph.D. candidate and Vanier Scholar in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York University. She is interested in questions of (il)legality, precarity, and gendered migration policy in South and West Asia. Her dissertation takes a feminist political economy perspective on Indian migration to Saudi Arabia.

Kaarina Kailo, Ph.D., has held positions as professor or ass. professor of women’s and gender studies in Canada (Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Montreal) and Finland (Oulu University). Currently she is active as City Councillor of Oulu while continuing her research on gender and neoliberalism, Finno-Ugric goddess mythologies and the Gift ecology. She has also begun holding exhibitions of her textile art on Finnic deities and traditional ecological knowledge.

Sona Kazemi is a feminist woman of colour, community organizer, human rights activist, trauma counselor in practice, and a doctoral student at oise/ut in Adult Education and Community Development. Sona’s research interests are Transnational Disability Studies and Critical Race Feminist Theory both framed in the Marxist analysis of political economy of disability and difference. Sona is a therapist specialized in “internalized oppression” and “trauma” in vulnerable yet resistant populations of immigrants and refugees of colour. Sona founded her two community-based projects around acquired disability and marginalized populations’ empowerment in Toronto at the age of 21, and has been a disability-rights advocate since.

Patricia Keeney is an award-winning poet, novelist and cultural critic who is translated and published internationally. Her newest novel One Man Dancing (Inanna Publications) and her latest poetry collection Orpheus In Our World (NeoPoiesis Press) were both published in 2016. Pat’s website can be found at www.wapitiwords.ca

Renate Krakauer began writing fiction after retirement, and she had short stories and essays published in literary magazines, the Globe and Mail, and two anthologies. Her memoir, But I Had a Happy Childhood, was published by the Azrieli Foundation in 2009 and her novel, Only by Blood, was published by Inanna in 2015.

Ryan Koelwyn is studying Education at York University. Her research focuses on the roles that digital media and collaborative pedagogies play in fostering education opportunities.

Carol Lipszyc’s book of short stories, The Saviour Shoes and Other Stories, was published in October 2014 by Inanna Publications, which also released her collection of lyrical poetry, Singing Me Home. Carol has also published on arts-based education in international journals. Earning her doctorate in education at oise/ut, Carol is currently an Associate Professor at State University of New York, Plattsburgh teaching English teacher education and writing arts.

Judith Mintz is a Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York University. Judith is co-editing a book for Demeter Press called Meditation Mamas: Intersections of Empowered Mothering, Mindfulness and Yoga Practices. Judith is also mother to two daughters.

Anna F. Peppard is a Ph.D. candidate in English at York University, where she researches representations of identity in television, film, genre fiction, and comics. Her work has appeared in the Canadian Review of American Studies and the International Journal of Comic Art.

Annaliese Pope is a Trillium Scholar and Ph.D. student in Social and Political Thought at York University. She is interested in the intersections between Critical Theories of Everyday Life and Postcolonial Thought, and has worked with various communities in Mexico including the Zapatistas and a group of nomadic artisans, musicians, and street performers who identify as el Colectivo por el Acción de Unión Mundial.

Carol Ricker-Wilson has worked primarily in teacher education, as an English/Literacy consultant at the Toronto District School Board and as a course director and instructional leader at both York University and oise/ut. In her PhD thesis, she used current literary criticism and critical literacy to examine how women read popular romance and to what purposes.

Kathryn Travis is a Ph.D. candidate in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University. Drawing from her field research in France, her research examines how place and identity are constructed through various textual, visual, and auditory mediums that happen in street timespaces.