Women & Gender Studies Institute

WGS Research Seminar

Fall 2017 Schedule

The seminar is scheduled monthly on a Wednesday, from 4:00–6:00 p.m. The WGS Research Seminar is a monthly forum for interdisciplinary research in feminist and gender studies. Directed at both faculty and graduate students within the WGSI and across the campus as a whole, the seminar’s goal is to foster intellectual engagement with key theoretical, social and political questions touching on gender and feminism and their many intersections through the presentation of cutting-edge work by leading researchers both within and beyond the University of Toronto.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 4:00–6:00 p.m. WI 2007D, Wilson Hall, New College, 40 Willcocks Street
Talk title: Decentering Citizenship: Gender, Labor, and Migrant Rights in South Korea

Talk Abstract: Decentering Citizenship follows three groups of Filipina migrants’ struggles to belong in South Korea: factory workers claiming rights as workers, wives of South Korean men claiming rights as mothers, and hostesses at American military clubs who are excluded from claims—unless they claim to be victims of trafficking. Moving beyond laws and policies, Hae Yeon Choo examines how rights are enacted, translated, and challenged in daily life and ultimately interrogates the concept of citizenship. Choo reveals citizenship as a language of social and personal transformation within the pursuit of dignity, security, and mobility. Her vivid ethnography of both migrants and their South Korean advocates illuminates how social inequalities of gender, race, class, and nation operate in defining citizenship. Decentering Citizenship argues that citizenship emerges from negotiations about rights and belonging between South Koreans and migrants. As the promise of equal rights and full membership in a polity erodes in the face of global inequalities, this decentering illuminates important contestation at the margins of citizenship.

Hae Yeon Choo is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Affiliated Faculty of the Asian Institute and the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. Her first book, Decentering Citizenship: Gender, Labor, and Migrant Rights in South Korea (Stanford University Press, 2016), reveals citizenship as a language of social and personal transformation within the pursuit of dignity, security, and mobility. Choo’s research centers on gender, transnational migration, and citizenship to examine global social inequality.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 4:00–6:00 p.m. WI 2007D, Wilson Hall, New College, 40 Willcocks Street
Title: Fear and Loathing in Gringo Gulch: Gender, sexuality, and lifestyle migration
Description: This talk begins with a discussion of the key political, theoretical, and methodological ideas that inform my book, Gringo Gulch: Sex, tourism, and social mobility in Costa Rica. Focusing on the experiences of sex tourists, sex workers, and state employees, the book considers how the geopolitics of transnational tourism are played out in the embodied encounters of sex work and how the specific configurations of the sex industry in San José, Costa Rica are tied to a variety of local, national, and global processes. I then present the preliminary results of new research into the role that sexuality plays in the decision of some sex tourists to migrate to Costa Rica permanently. I ask how we might theorize the shift from tourist to migrant, considering the gendered dynamics involved in migration from north to south for a complex combination of affection, care, and sex. I argue that migration to Costa Rica for this group of men must be analyzed in terms of negotiations over class and masculine identities, intersecting with an interest in sexual access to younger, exoticized women. I explore the complex and uneven impact of migration on the class and ethnic identities and sexual practices of these migrants, focusing on their experiences of negotiating community and belonging in a city in the global South where they are simultaneously welcome and isolated.

Bio: Megan Rivers-Moore is assistant professor at the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton University. Her book, Gringo Gulch: Sex, tourism, and social mobility in Costa Rica, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016.

Reception with food to follow in the WGSI Lounge.


November WGS Research Seminar
More information will be posted soon.


Spring 2018 Schedule

More information will be posted soon.



Wednesday, April 11, 2018 3:00–6:00 p.m. WI 2053, Wilson Hall, New College, 40 Willcocks Street
Ph.D. students in the Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies present their doctoral research.