Humanities Graduate Student Association

Humanities Graduate Student Association


About the Humanities Graduate Student Association: The Humanities Graduate Student Association (HUGSA) is a student-run club that represents the Humanities Graduate students. HUGSA aims to provide a space for our students to engage in discussions regarding topics within humanities and other disciplines. We also hope to help create a friendly social space for you to meet others in the program.

How to Connect With Us:


Connect on Social Media: Facebook, Youtube

In Office Visits: Vanier College, room 029, Graduate Office Lounge.

Please feel free to connect with us through the information above. We look forward to meeting you here. For more information regarding our executive team, please see “Meet Your Executive Team.” If you are interested in helping out HUGSA, please see the Opportunities, as well as the Conference Tab for more information.


Meet Our Executive Team

Ryan Lee
Co-President (M.A)

Research Interests: Biblical Studies, Kant, Nietzsche, Descartes, Religious vs Secular, the relationship between the self and other; democracy and education, the use of listening skills in ethical and political discourses, education pedagogies.
Hobbies Include: restaurant hopping, doing logic derivations (something oddly satisfying doing derivations), reading, cooking, sleeping, watching movies.

Narayanamoorthy Nanditha
Co-President (PhD)

Research Interests: My research here is focused on the interrogation of digital communities in the Global South through the study of social media movements in India. I look at representation, access, embodiment, and participation of feminist and queer communities online.
Hobbies Include: I enjoy reading and traveling (I guess it's the same thing!).

Tina Benigno
CUPE 3903 Representative

Research Interests: girls, youth, neoliberalism and neoliberal feminism, qualitative research, speculative fiction, cinema and media studies, young people's views on socio-political issues and activism, care.
Hobbies Include: running, baking, reading, spending time with friends, watching TV, hanging out with pets



Niloofar Ghorashi

Research Interests: I am currently working on my research paper which is all about social media and the new era of unveiling "The Truth".

I am also the mom of a toddler who is super clever and keeps outsmarting me, and talks back! My husband says he gets that from his mom.

Hobbies Include: I am a lover of life, so narrowing down my interests is really hard. Having said that I am creative soul and anything that entails creating, designing, or using your imagination fascinates me. I am also a Reiki Master, I work with energy and can help you heal your energy blocks 🙂 I love spirituality and metaphysics (hence my area of study).

Rumor has it that I am a decent cook, and entertaining and taking care of others is also extremely satisfying to me. My greatest skill I would say is networking and public relations. I have had a natural gift in this area since I was a little girl and I hope to eventually be able to build a career out of it.

Recia Brown

Research Interests: My research is focused on power, its role in social injustice and human relations.
Hobbies Include: I love reading, writing poetry, painting and creating anything arts and crafts related.


HUGSA is currently looking for talented and knowledgeable individuals to help plan out our 2020 End of Year HUGSA Conference, as well as our academic and social events. If you want to develop your event planning, leadership and communication skills, take a look at some of your job postings below:

Job Posting - Sub-Committee Editor

Job Posting - Sub-Committee Editor in Chief

Don’t See A Position You’re Interested In?

We are always looking for strong candidates to fill our team! If you do not see your role in our job postings, do not let that discourage you from applying. Send us your resume, including a brief description on how you can help out, and we will consider your application.

Thank you for your interest in joining HUGSA!



poster for the 2020 HUGSA conference-version 1
poster for the 2020 HUGSA conference-version 2

The Humanities Graduate Student Association, in collaboration with the Humanities Graduate department, is excited to announce our annual 2020 HUGSA Conference: Designing the Self. Our theme explores the various ways we construct our identity both in old and new media. The speakers presenting in this conference invite you all to question, critique and examine how intersectional identity is constructed? How does cultural production of the self occur in various forms of media? How representations of gender, masculinity or femininity occur in media?

This year we have received original and unique academic presentations. Our diverse cast of speakers are excited to present you their research.

Join us in a ground-breaking conference on July 15, 16, 17 as we challenge identity in media. Please RSVP at

Download a copy of the Agenda (.pdf)

HUGSA Conference 2020 Agenda

Day 1: July 29, 2020

9:00–9:15 Registration and Meet and Greet
9:15–9:30 Introductions

  • Dr. Victor Shea, Graduate Program Director
  • Nanditha Narayanamoorthy, Co-President at HUGSA
9:30–10:30 Keynote Speaker:

  • Arun Jacob Blessed Be the Fruit: Interrogating the Cultural Logic of Alt-Right Feminism
10:30–11:30 (Panel) Identity and Politics:

  1. Philip Oddi
  2. Shauna Hughey
    The Impact of Supreme Court Judicial Decisions and Feminist Scholarship on Sexual Assault Legislation
  3. Jessica Falk
    Don Cherry’s Final Rant: Illuminating Canadian Nationalism, Racial Xenophobia, and Toxic Masculinity Through Critical Discourse Analysis
  4. Ashley Fearnall
    Virtual Islands: Finding Political Agency in time of Crisis
11:30–12:15 (Panel) Religion and Identity:

  1. Alexandra Sullivan
    Oh, To Have Somewhere To Lay My Head: Afro-Caribbean Traditions, Digital Religion, and the Creation of Sacred Space
  2. Yehuda Silverman
    Identity Constructions in Chabad-Lubavitch: Exploring Intrapersonal Conflicts
  3. Madeline Legg
    Site and Stories: The Importance of the Destroyed Bamiyan Buddhas to the Afghan People
12:15–1:00 Lunch Break:
1:00–1:20 (Panel) Business Women and Cosmetics:

  1. Rawan Al-Wakeal
    Diversity in Cosmetics: A Social Media Analysis of Three Women in Business
  2. Nicole Taylor
    The history of women in business in 1980s corporate America: Sin, Steel, and Sears
1:20–3:00 (Panel) Cultural Production in Reading/Writing Part 1:

  1. Qazi Mustabeen Noor
    Sprezzatura for the immigrant: Othello’s conduct and civility as a racialized other
  2. Stephanie Montalti
    Writing about Reading: How Memoirs of Childhood Reading Identify the Child Within
  3. Sara Gilbert
    Engaging with Audiences in the 21st Century: How Different Social Media Effects the Contemporary Author
  4. Disha Pokhriyal
    The Enclosing-Exposing Self: Reading an Indian Nun’s Autobiography
  5. Nishtha Pandey
    Locating the Absent Self: The Radical Potential of Martin Crimp’s Attempts on her Life
  6. Hannes Koberg
    (Dis)embodying the Nation: The Self at the Intersections of Disability/Gender/Nation in Kenny Fries’s Memoirs
3:00–4:30 (Panel) Construction of Identity through Photography and (Modern) Art:

  1. Laura Ryan
    Colonial Identity in Vogue: The Life and Art of Baya
  2. Collin Hawley
    Longing and Belonging: Anxiety and Absence in Domestic Photography
  3. Rachel Lallouz
    Sexual Self-Representation and Radical Corporeality in Natacha Merritt’s Digital Diaries
  4. Irina Kovalenko
    Staging Modernism: Sarah Bernhardt’s Public Image and Self-Promotion as a Modern Work of Art
  5. Betarice Cloutier-Trepanier
    No Wallflower: Constance Spry and Mid-Century Feminine Agency
  6. Meg Yamamoto
    A Naturally Creative Archive of Local Flora and Fauna
4:30–5:00 Coffee Break
5:00–6:00 (Panel) Construction of Identity through Film and Television:

  1. Sebastian Zhao
    Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism in China: The Construction of the Chinese Identity on Television Show Singer
  2. Alex Ventimilla
    Muchos Tacos, Pocas Muxes (Many Tacos, Few Muxes): Gastronomy, Indigenous Nonheteronormativity, and Mexican National Identity in Netflix’s Taco Chronicles (2019)
  3. Eliza Sylvia
    Popularity is worth $100k: the construction of identity and the political world of social media as seen on The Circle U.S.A.
  4. Iris Pintiuta Multi-scalar identity construction in recent trans* cinema: Ester Martin Bergsmark, Charlotte Prodger and Dorian Wood

End of Day

Day 2: July 30, 2020

9:00–9:15 Registration
9:15–10:45 Keynote Speaker

  • Digital Innovation Lab, UNC Chapel Hill * Collecting and Curating Artifacts of the Self: Pinterest Data and Identity Construction
10:45–11:30 (Panel)Identity Construction through History and Language:

  1. Alvaro Gonzalez Alba
    An inside look on the lives of the Californios: Identity construction through the history of California
  2. Kyle Morrison
    Representation and Identity among Japanese Canadians
  3. Russell J. Arbic
    The Hessian Self: A Meeting-Ground of the Individual and the Collective
  4. Allie Oh
    Deconstructing the Space of Speech in the Poetry of Edwin Torres: Hegemony, Nuyorican Identity, and the Recovery of Linguistic Safe Havens
11:30–12:30 Cultural Production through music:

  1. Penrose M. Allphin
    A Trans History of the Castrato and Soprano Voices: from (In)Voluntary Castration to Gender Affirmation
  2. Shams Quader
    Online niche branding in the Central Sydney independent music scene
  3. Casey Robertson
    Moving Beyond Ocularcentrism in Media Associations of Identity: Locating Agency in Sonic Acts for Transgender Artists
  4. Brendan Kent
    Designing for Participation: Making Music Together During COVID-19
  5. Julia Garcia
    The Hypocrite in the Pistol Smoke: Rap Narratives of Implicated Subjects
  6. Adeerya Johnson
    The Radical Black Sex Praxis of Black Female Millennial Rappers
12:30–1:00 Lunch Break
1:30–3:30 (Panel) Identity Construction on Social Media Platforms Part 1:

  1. Samantha Teichman
    #NovaScotiaStrong: Online Mourning as Collective Identities and Sites of Healing
  2. Alan Toussaint
    You Need to Read It! How Reddit can influence our thoughts on diversity and inclusion
  3. Ece Arslan
    Virtual Presences of “Exiles-by-choice” of Turkey: The Role of YouTube on Recreation of Immigrant Identity
  4. Juliann Knaus
    “Why I Hate the Natural Hair Community”: Identity Formation, Self-Perception, and the Exclusionary Aspects of the Black ‘Natural Hair Community’ on YouTube
  5. Becky Cao
    Identity Development of an Art Educator in the New Media Age
  6. Denise Springett
    (Re-)Designing @Harto: Exploring the Multi-Media, Intertextual Life Writing Practices of ‘Hannah Hart’
3:30–5:00 pm (Panel) Cultural Production in Reading/Writing Part 2:

  1. Sijia Cheng
    “Live Happily Ever After Together”: Queering Chinese Canadian Women’s (Hi)Stories in Disappearing Moon Cafe
  2. Jerikho Ezzekiel
    Amores Humour in Construction and Critique of the Self in Eduardo Mendoza’s El enredo de la bolsa y la vida
  3. Avery LaFortune
    Fashioning the Self: History, Nation and Sansa Stark’s Sartorial Biography
  4. Annie Williams
    To Name Things Wrongly: Jeanette Winterson’s Romantic Taxonomies
  5. Luigi De Angelis
    The Red Tent: Divine Secrets of the Inanna Sisterhood
  6. Megan Perram
    Click Here for Body Stories: Employing Literary Hypertext as Illness Narrative for Women with Hyperandrogenism
5:00–6:00 (Panel) Media Theory:

  1. Peter J. Johnson
    Selfhood in the Neoliberal Information Age: Updating the Frankfurt School’s “Culture Industry” & Disney
  2. Sonia Zawitkowski
    Explaining Contemporary Experiences of Gender Using Debord’s Society of the Spectacle
  3. Sandra Kroeker
    Intersectionality and Agency
  4. Brian Gilmour
    The Self in a World of Systems
  5. Samuel Caleb
    All the News That’s Fit to Print: Materiality, Authorship, and Internet 2.0

End of Day

Day 3: July 31, 2020

9:00–9:15 Registration and Meet and Greet
9:15–10:45 (Panel) Posthuman Identity:

  1. Guni Vats
    Finding Self in the Spectacle: Unbecoming a Cyborg
  2. Benjamin Ghan
    Human Expansions: Literary Worlds of Distributed Cognition
  3. Meike Robaard
    (Re)collecting my Self: Identity Construction, Body-Bricolage, and Memory-Archeology in Shelley Jackson’s Hypertext My Body—A Wunderkammer
  4. Paolo Gentile
    Technology, Individuality and the Demise of Thinking
  5. Shubhayan Chakrabarti
    Preserving the Analogue Body in the Digital Age
10:45–12:15 (Panel) Identity Construction on Social Media Platforms Part 2:

  1. Stevie Scheurich
    “This Post is a Spell:” Instagram Witches and Their Deployment of Digital Technologies of the Self as Intersectional Self and World Making Practices
  2. Natalia Kovalyova
    My Profile, My Self: A Tale of Assembling an Academic Self Online
  3. Swasti Acharya
    Doin’ it for the Gram: Constructing the Self on (F)instagram Account
  4. Tanja Grubnic
    Instagram, Poetry and the Aestheticized Self
  5. Erin O’Neil
    There’s Something about Karen: How do white women contemplate their own racism in relation to a stereotype?
  6. Lauren McLean
    A Reference Guide for Gender Inclusivity Online: Reflecting on my Creation of a Digital Gender Representation Resource
12:15–1:00 Lunch Break
1:00–2:00 (Panel) Data Visualization and Digital Archives:

  1. Rigal Alexandre
    The Production of the Self and Data Visualization in a Group of Self-Trackers
  2. Dario Rodighiero
    Visually design the part-whole self
  3. Cassandra Tanks
    Documenting Place and Space: "Digital Humanities & Apartheid-Era Soweto: Place, Space, and Identity”
  4. Baylee Woodley
    Remediating Pleasure(s) in the Queer Digital Archive: Visual Knowledge Production and “Intra-Action” in Medieval Material and Contemporary Digital Culture
2:00–3:15 (Panel) Identity in Diverse Media: Digital Games, Fan Fiction, Comics, Animation, Live Performance:

  1. Sooyung Clara Hong
    What’s in a (Stage) Name? Public Personas, Private Selves, and the Transgression of Authenticity
  2. Alexander Carty
    What Is the Meaning of My (Online) Life?
  3. Jennifer Dumoulin
    Tattoos and Comics: The Uneasy Convergence of Two Cultures at Comic-Con
  4. Jacen Dennis
    Animation as Identity Construction in Gender Transition and Grief
  5. Amy Keating
    Finding a ‘Queer Sense of Belonging’ through Live Performance Art
3:15–4:00 (Panel) Political Identity—Refugees, Immigrants, and Marginalized Communities:

  1. Vicky Panossian
    Mapping the Multi-layered Self: Third Generation of Armenian “Refugees” in Lebanon
  2. Niveditha N.
    The Sardar Sarovar Dam: Does it have the power to raise nationalism but also erase communities simultaneously? Analysis of online advocacy and opposition
  3. Bibi Imre-Millei
    We, the Border: Biometric (Re)Bordering Practices as Global Governance
  4. Helen Kennedy
    On the Periphery: Conceptualization of Women During the Siege of Sarajevo in the American Press, 1992-1995
  5. Sangeeta Dharmarajan A thrust Against Gender Roles: An Indian Perspective