Intersections of Gender builds upon existing research excellence across faculties and disciplines at the University of Alberta. Its goal is to make the U of A a globally recognized leader in intersectional gender-themed research that advances innovation and collaboration across disciplines and helps to respond to local, national and global challenges. Some examples of how intersectional gender research at the U of A already helps to expand our understanding of theoretical, social and technological issues include examining the ways popular representations of science and scientists discourage women from pursuing careers in STEM fields; researching the employment barriers newcomers to Canada face in their professions; analyzing the accelerating incarceration rates among Indigenous women; and experimenting with the ways in which arts-based research together with critical disability studies produces new forms of inclusion. Recognizing and developing these and the many other gender-themed intersectional research areas stands to benefit individual researchers, community partners, collaborative teams and the university as a whole.
With more than 250 researchers across all 18 faculties, schools and campuses currently conducting gender-related research at the university, Intersections of Gender's mandate is fourfold:
- Make visible existing research related to intersections of gender locally, nationally and internationally.
- Support existing and build new interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research collaborations.
- Grow mentorship and teaching across all status groups.
- Engage communities across all sectors (nonprofit, government and corporate).
Our initial goal is to build a hub that supports and fosters intersectional gender research. As a signature area, Intersections of Gender will shine the spotlight on the world-class gender expertise at the U of A. By identifying this capacity, we also make it more visible to government, industry, the public—and ourselves. As a signature area, Intersections of Gender will mobilize this expertise to build new capacity for small and large interdisciplinary research collaborations for both established and emerging researchers. By supporting and expanding its capacity in this area in research and teaching, Intersections of Gender will help the U of A to meet the new benchmarks that granting agencies are setting for intersectional gender analysis and inclusive excellence. Ultimately, Intersections of Gender will stand as a model for inclusive, intersectional research and teaching across all fields and faculties at the university.
Intersections of Gender began with a KIAS cluster grant, "Building Research at the Intersections of Gender." Since 2016, four principal investigators from various disciplines have been supported by numerous affiliates across campus.
Our original research cluster aimed to:
- Map relevant research studies to take stock of what we are doing right now
- Build digital and physical infrastructure to give Intersections of Gender a reference point
- Create opportunities for collaboration through events, networking and more
- Put down permanent roots to establish Intersections of Gender as a signature area of excellence
- Establish partnerships with community organizations
Our efforts to build infrastructure have been met with support from all corners of the university. In February 2018, Researcher Directory 1.0 was released.