About

Biography

I started out at York University in Toronto as an English major, but after taking courses on women’s and social history, history’s relevance to contemporary political struggles became both apparent and exciting to me. Activism in feminist, anti-racist, and queer politics was as formative as were lectures and tutorials, and the intellectual approaches they have generated continue to inform my teaching and research interests. After taking a year off to sling hash in a
downtown Toronto diner, I decided to pursue graduate work on the history of sexuality in twentieth century Canada. I completed my doctoral studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 2001, took up a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University in 2001-2003, and taught for a year in McGill’s Women’s Studies program before taking up my current position here at SFU in 2004. I am also an associate faculty member of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Department.

Research Interests

My research projects focus on aspects of sexuality and gender in twentieth century Canada and the United States. My first major project was an oral history of butch and fem lesbian bar culture in post-World War Two Toronto, and my interest in this area of research continues to
the present day. I have also written about moral panics around sexual assault and immigration in 1950s Toronto, sex in Canadian and American male prisons, and in 2008 I published a book on the popularization of ‘sexual deviancy’ as a way of understanding and treating sex offenders in Canada. More recently I completed articles on debutantes and elite femininity in interwar Montreal, and on same-sex wedding ceremonies in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.