Areas of Research Interest
Interdisciplinary analysis and critical research in:
Women and health; Racialization and biomedicalization of women’s bodies and skin; Anti-ageing; Women, science and technology; Political thought; Sociology of gender; Sociology of knowledge; Gender and the cinema; Anti-racist/anti-colonial research.
Current Research Projects
Women and Health: Anti-ageing and the biomedicalization of women’s bodies
This current research project uses an interdisciplinary analytic framework to examine the social, ethical, political and pedagogical implications of anti-ageing discourse and practice. The research focuses its analysis on global trends in nanotechnological and biotechnological innovation. The nano and biotech innovations that are they keystones of this industry purport to shield women’s bodies and skin from the harmful effects of ageing, environmental pollutants and bad lifestyles. One of the ongoing research questions for this project is to explore the discursive processes and concrete practices through which ageing in women came to be constituted as pathological. A second research question examines how the biomedicalization of ageing relates to the globalization of the emerging anti-ageing industry, the social imperatives of scientific consumerism, and the wellness lifestyle.
From Anti-ageing to Armoured Women
Another main objective of this research is to investigate the extent to which the female body continues to be a contested site of social investment and regulation. Specifically, this research interrogates societal investments in “shielding” and “protecting” the vulnerable female body. This research seeks to problematize the biomedical discourse of the vulnerable female body in the anti-ageing market by looking at the history of women and war and the dread of the militarized maternal body. The aim is to generate broader theoretical insights and useful methodological knowledge accessible to policy makers, health practitioners and the general public.
Globalization of the Skin-whitening Industry
This research project examines changing skin-whitening technologies by tracing their emergence from colonial encounters in which white skin was accorded social and cultural capital, toward the contemporary global marketing of biotechnology products that promise smooth, brightened and youthful-looking skin to affluent women. It draws upon interdisciplinary feminist and anti-racist analyses to examine medical literature and web-based advertisements by pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies, and to analyze research partnerships between public universities and private corporations. It examines the interlocking discourses of academic capitalism, scientific entrepreneurship and cutting-edge scientific discoveries in molecular biology and the life sciences that facilitate the development and dissemination of new and powerful skin-whitening biotechnologies on a global scale.
Recent and Selected Publications
Ursula Franklin’s Earthworms Theory for Social Change. TEDX Carleton University Colloquium (April 28, 2021).
The truth behind the racist message in skin ‘whitening’ creams. Toronto Star. (Interview).
What you need to know about rebranded skin-whitening creams. The Conversation.
2019 (Open Access).
Wellness in Whiteness: Biomedicalisation and the Promotion of Whiteness and Youth among Women. Routledge.
2017. Otherness and Stigmatized Whiteness: Skin Whitening, Vitiligo and Albinism in Anthropology and Alterity. Dr. Bernhard Leistle, (Ed.) (pp.124-147) New York: Routledge.
2014. ‘Skin Trade:’ Genealogy of Anti-ageing ‘Whiteness Therapy’ in Colonial Medicine. Medicine Studies 4 (1-4):119-129.
2012. The Scientification of Skin Whitening and the Entrepreneurial University-Linked Corporate Scientific Officer. Canadian Journal for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education 12(3): 271-291.
2011. Militarization of Somalia and the Geopolitics of War on Sea Piracy in Somali International Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC), The Role of Democratic Governance versus Sectarian Politics in Somalia: 9th Annual Horn of Africa Conference and book project on the Horn of Africa. Ulf Johansson Dahre, ed. Lund, Sweden: Media Printing Center of Lund University, pp 175 – 184.
A Euro Vision of Beauty? The Growing Skin Whitening Industry. Science’s Last Taboo. Channel Four Television Corporation (UK).
2007. Ethiopia’s Invasion of Somalia has U.S. Fingerprints. New Internationalist. (March, p. 23).
2005. Pigmentation and Empire: The Emerging Skin-Whitening Industry. In Counterpunch.
2002. The Genealogy of Witchcraft: Colonialism and Modern Science. Postmodernism, Postcoloniality and African Studies. Zine Magubane, ed. New Jersey USA Africa World Press Inc, pp. 80 – 97.
2001. Skin-Bleaching: Poison, Beauty, Power, and the Politics of the Colour Line. Resources For Feminist Research 28(3+4): 13-38.