I am currently a PhD candidate (ABD) in the Department of History at York University. My key areas of interest are Canadian labour history, the history of sexuality in Canada, cultural history, and gender history.
My dissertation is an examination of the relationship between organized labour, and gay and lesbian movements in Ontario in the second half of the twentieth century. I am particularly interested in exploring the ways in which gay and lesbian rights movements constructed a relationship with organized labour, and how queer union members struggle within their unions to make their rights a union issue. I also explore the broader working lives of post-WWII gay and lesbian workers, as well as the strategies they used to cope with workplace discrimination.
My MA thesis, titled Reforming Arbitration: Class, Gender and the Conseil des Prud’hommes in Tourcoing, 1848-1894, completed at the University of Ottawa in 2009, examined the rulings of the conseil des prud’hommes, a system of elected arbitration boards in France, in the northern French town of Tourcoing over the second-half of the century. Through a quantitative analysis of 4,400 cases heard by Tourcoing’s prud’hommes between 1848 and 1894, my MA thesis explored the ways in which gender and class intersected to shape the rulings of the prud’hommes following the a series of reforms in 1848 that granted working-class men the opportunity to run for and elect their own representatives to the boards.
An article based on my MA research, titled “Arbitrating Class and Gender: Working-Class Women and Labour Arbitration in Tourcoing, 1848-1894,” was published in 2014 in the volume Women in Law and LAawmaking in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Europe, edited by Eva Schandevyl and published by Ashgate.
When teaching interdisciplinary courses, or teaching students from a variety of backgrounds, my focus is always grounded in providing students with historical context of the course subject matter. Whether it be to first or fourth year undergraduate students, this approach has allowed me to not only provide students with the necessary knowledge to trace the historical origins and precedents of contemporary events, issues, and ideas, but also to draw the connections between the two.
I also make extensive use of historical and contemporary material culture in my teaching. This includes songs, video, art, and photographs. I have found that integrating this material and engaging with students in discussion and analysis helps maintain and encourage their engagement with the subject matter.
My teaching also seeks to strike a balance between teaching the key points of a lesson with providing students opportunities to discuss and interact, as well as contribute their own personal reflections and experience to the classroom. I have found that this helps keep students focused while increasing engagement with, and knowledge of, the material. In the past, my strategies have included small group activities, facilitating class debates, and allowing students to participate in classroom discussion, all with positive feedback from students.