Centre for Feminist Research celebrates feminist scholarship with new award

Rear view of four diverse women

York University’s Centre for Feminist Research has launched the inaugural Medal for Excellence in Feminist Scholarship in Canada to support and raise the profile of the rich and diverse contributions of feminist scholars nationally.

Ena Dua, Bonita Lawrence and Meg Luxton.
From left to right: Ena Dua, Bonita Lawrence and Meg Luxton.

“This award is a reminder that feminist research matters and that feminists of all genders are producing rigorous, relevant research and writing for our times,” says Elaine Coburn, director of the Centre for Feminist Research. “It creates a space to celebrate all that is excellent in feminist scholarship, across Canada.”

The award was created with an anonymous donor to honour and bring visibility to the work of three York University faculty members – Ena Dua, Bonita Lawrence and Meg Luxton – who have set standards of excellence by transforming understanding of women’s everyday realities and struggles through anti-racist, Indigenous feminist and feminist political economy scholarship.

Dua is a professor and graduate director in sexuality and women’s studies in the School of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies who teaches critical race theory, anti-racist feminist theory, postcolonial studies and feminist theory. She has taken up the question of racial justice, from feminist perspectives, across all of her writing. She forthrightly confronts racial injustices in Canada, and her scholarship has unpacked racial, gendered inequities in the University with the aim of creating space for each and all voices in the academy.

Lawrence (Mi’kmaw), who teaches in the Indigenous Studies program, has taken up the questions of colonialism and Indigenous identity, especially centering the experiences of non-status and urban Indigenous people. Her important work has looked at Indigenous Peoples’ “fractured homelands” under colonialism and celebrated strong Indigenous women, their power and their agency, despite a genocidal context.

Luxton is a professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and one of Canada’s best-known feminist political economists, with her work shedding new light on gender divisions of labour and the relationship between paid employment and unpaid domestic labour; working class lives, communities and class politics; and the history of the women’s movement, in Canada and internationally.

“We hope that the new award, in honouring these three scholars, makes clear the ways that feminisms must and does take up questions of racism, indigeneity and working class women’s lives as central to anti-oppressive feminist scholarship,” says Coburn. “Together, they inspire us to feminist scholarship that matters: scholarship that looks squarely at injustice and that celebrates and supports struggles for a more just world.”

Over the next 10 years, the medal will provide each recipient with $500, and winners will be invited to give a lecture at the Centre for Feminist Research – both to help further scholars and the Centre’s impact on the challenges still facing women today.

“We hope that others see this medal and CFR’s activities, more broadly, as contributing to important national and international conversations about women’s struggles for equality and our hopes for more just and liveable worlds,” says Coburn.

Applications for the Medal for Excellence in Feminist Scholarship in Canada will be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members. Those interested in being on the committee can write to cfr-coor@yorku.ca with their CV and one paragraph expressing their interest by Jan. 15, 2024.

Applications for the medal will open on Jan. 30, 2024 and the deadline is March 1, 2024 for submissions. The inaugural winner will be announced on May 1, 2024.