The Inaugural Dr. Brian Pronger Lecture | In My Queer Zone: “Vulnerable” Bodies and Carnal Knowledge in Cancer’s Margins


6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

The Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE) cordially invites you to the inaugural Dr. Brian Pronger Lecture: In My Queer Zone: “Vulnerable” Bodies and Carnal Knowledge in Cancer’s Margins.

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Genevieve Rail, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Simone de Beauvoir Institute & Women’s Studies, Concordia University as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Dr. Brian Pronger Lecture.

The lecture is open to all, and will be livestreamed. It will be held on November 15th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Clara Benson Building (320 Huron Street Toronto). We welcome students, staff, and faculty from across the University of Toronto community, as well as alumni of the Faculty and members of the public.

There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Please register here using Eventbrite.

A link to the livestream will be provided to registrants a few days before the event.

About The Talk

Reflecting on Pronger’s legacy and ground-breaking writings on the body, gender, sexuality, desire, health, science and technology, Dr. Genevieve Rail will discuss recent research that aims to document how sexual minoritized individuals navigate fields of knowledge inflected by dominant discourses on biomedicine, risk, neoliberalism, homophobia and stereotypical rhetorics of “women’s health” and “lesbian health”, in line with Pronger’s stout resistance to patriarchal, homophobic and territorializing projects.

Based on over 100 interviews with a diverse sample of lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer (LBTQ) persons diagnosed and treated for breast or gynecological cancer, Rail’s research explores the notion of vulnerability and its applicability to LBTQ individuals living with cancer. Their appropriation of, and resistance to dominant discourses in health, while considering the dangers of labeling them as a “vulnerable population,” are examined, with consideration to the fact that their decision-making is punctuated by multiples efforts to contest or manage discrimination and institutional effacement within health systems.

These participants’ queer stories reveal a relationship to cancer health and knowledges that troubles sex, gender, sexuality, and medical norms and suggest, as Brian Pronger’s work has so brilliantly done, the need to consider “carnal,” subjugated knowledges and to queer health promotion interventions.

Speaker Bio

Geneviève Rail received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Cultural Studies specialist Norman Denzin supervised her. She has taught courses related to women’s bodies, physical activity and health at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Health Sciences from 1991 to 2009. Since then, she has been Principal, and then Professor of Feminist Cultural Studies of Health at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Concordia University. Geneviève was named Distinguished Professor Emerita in 2020 and is currently pursuing her research on women’s experiences of body-related institutions (e.g., health systems, pharmaceutical industries, media) and her approaches are feminist, poststructuralist, decolonial and queer. Author of over 100 articles or book chapters, she has been a keynote speaker in over 50 national or international conferences. In the last 20 years, she has received funding from Canadian and Australian research councils (ARC, SSHRC, CIHR) for a series of research projects involving women from varying sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, and socioeconomic milieus. She is interested in these women’s discursive constructions and embodied experiences of the body and health. Her latest CIHR-funded projects deal with: (a) fatness and fatphobia; (b) HPV vaccination, and (c) breast and gynaecological cancer care for LBTQ persons.

About the Dr. Brian Pronger Lecture

This lectureship honors the memory of scholar and activist Dr. Brian Pronger (1953 – 2018), an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and founding member of the University of Toronto’s Sexual Diversity Studies undergraduate program. The series aims to celebrate his legacy of teaching and social justice in critical studies of sports and physical activity.

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