The UofMosaic Fellows on each campus plan and participate in initiatives that build a culture of meaningful and peaceful exchanges of ideas on campus. These initiatives are typically connected to current global conflicts or social justice issues that are relevant to the Fellows and their broader student body. They range from moderated dialogues, to seminars, to art exhibits and more.
The UofMosaic Fellows at the University of Toronto (St George) recently completed their first initiative – keep reading to find out more!
At the onset of the 2016 academic year, our team (UofMosaic Fellows at UTSG) had a number of good discussions to identify the topics we wanted to cover in our programming. We decided on the intersectionality of experience as our overarching theme, and that is how we slated our first event: Are You Still #WithHer? Feminism, Politics & (Hopefully) Progress.
The reasoning behind the focus was simple: we feel the dominant feminist narrative is often not intersectional and also falls short on inclusiveness. In September, as we watched a number of issues unfold in the U.S. election, many questions arose. Admittedly, we timed our event two days following November 8th, in the hopes of deconstructing what we thought would be a historic result. Like a lot of people, we had counted on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s win. Presented with this surprising dilemma, we ended up amending the scope of our event. Instead of dissecting Clinton’s loss, we decided to reflect on what the American electorate’s choice in candidates were, and how this contributed to what ensued. The core question on gender equality still stood, which was: How much of an achievement was Clinton’s nomination and campaign?
We invited two panelists both working in subsects of International Relations: Professor Wendy Wong and Kim Carter, who were able to speak from their vantage points as women in academia. Fortunately, the panelists had a degree of rapport between them, resulting in a fruitful discussion.
One of the main highlights of the evening however, was the engagement from attendees. Following our dinner break, we divided up the room into smaller groups for moderated discussions. What followed were critical and insightful conversations about the kind of feminism that Clinton exemplified. For instance, her lack of appeal and value to minority communities, the electorate’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, were some of the key themes that emerged from our discussions.
At the end of the evening, it was clear that while there has been some progress made in embracing a diversity of narratives and the intersectionality of experience, it cannot be denied that we still have a long way to go. This dialogue clarified one thing: the solutions to meaningful progress rely in our collective perspectives – synthesizing them won’t be easy, but it is certainly possible if we can start by engaging in honest and respectful conversations.
Blog written by: UofMosaic Fellows at University of Toronto, St. George Campus (Anah Mirza, Millen Melles, Matthew Lipton, Naveeda Hussain and Nishani Chankar)