Presentations and Workshops

One of my personal goals as an anthropologist is to make anthropological knowledge available and accessible to members of the lay public. I enjoy giving presentations on various topics  about which people are often curious but on which they hear very little other than what is propagated in mainstream media. I believe that giving people access to this kind of knowledge will help them become more aware of the sources of many of the social issues they see around them and will therefore empower them to raise awareness in their own social circles or in their professions.

I also enjoy giving specialised talks to students or professionals  in various social sciences on topics in which I’ve taken a special interest. I always make sure to tailor these talks to the context in which they will be given such as a course or a special event. Some of my presentations are geared toward teachers, health care professionals and corporate managers or employees who wish to learn more about dealing with cultural or sexual diversity in the workplace. Finally, I offer personal testimonies on transgender issues, sexual orientation and non-monogamy.

In all my presentations and workshops, I endeavour to be approachable and interesting. Participants are always given a chance to contribute!

Here is a list of my presentations and workshops. All of these talks can fit into a 60-90 minute time frame.

Academic presentations

From the Stone Age to the Sexual Revolution: A Feminist Perspective on The Role of Women in Human Evolution

Did men lead all major cultural advances? Is anatomy destiny? Is it true that men are more sexual than women because pre-historic men needed to spread their seed? The presentation demystifies popular conceptions about gender roles through a critical analysis of how modern-day ideologies have been projected onto the prehistoric past in academia and in the media.

The Pink Triangle and the Persecution of Homosexuals during the Holocaust

This talk addresses the social, political and ideological contexts of the persecution of gays before, during and after the Holocaust and the ways in which the symbol of the Pink Triangle has been reappropriated today among many LGBT communities.

Born this way?: How sexual diversity issues fit into the nature vs nurture debate on gender

Many of the debates regarding sexual orientation and transgender identities revolve around whether people are “born this way” or whether they choose this “lifestyle.” Interestingly, arguments on both sides often echo similar debates about gender itself. This talk will go over the main points of the nature versus nurture debate and examine how debates relating to sexual diversity fit into this debate.

Facebook and the field: The changing face of ethnographic research

The first cultural anthropologists to do fieldwork over a century ago went to distant and unfamiliar lands and had to adapt to whatever local technology was available. Today, most of the people anthropologists work with have access to “modern technologies” like the Internet and cell phones. Not only does this change how an anthropologist relates to research participants and how they form social networks, but it blurs the line between “being at home” and “being in the field”. It also raises some interesting ethical dilemmas. Based on his own PhD research in Eeyou Istchee (James Bay), Jacky will describe how things like Facebook and texting affected his research process and his relations in the field during and after fieldwork.

“We’re surrounded you know?”: Getting to know young drinkers in James Bay

In this presentation, Jacky will describe his first fieldwork experience as a Master’s student in anthropology. You will hear about the process involved in starting and conducting fieldwork but also about real situations – some funny, some sad and some scary – that happened in the field when he ignored the advice of his hosts and “hung around with the drunks”. The most important lesson that he learned was that even the most marginalised people within a group have a lot to say. This lesson prompted him to pursue his PhD on the topic of drinking among Native youth with the hopes that more Canadians, both Native and non-Native, will take the time to listen to what the “drunks” have to say. An ongoing theme in the presentation is how current social issues in Aboriginal communities are tied into Canada’s colonial past and neo-colonial present.

Workshops

Sexual diversity in a nutshell

This workshop is designed to introduce basic notions related to sexual diversity to people who are unfamiliar with them. We will begin by distinguishing between sexual orientation and gender identity. Then, we will review some basic terminology related to each category. Finally, we will have a participant driven discussion about common myths and stereotypes about people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. This workshop is informative in nature and proposes that people respect the human rights and dignity of all other people regardless of their own opinions about morality. The workshop is not designed to convince people to agree with non-heterosexual orientations and non-traditional gender identities.

Sexual diversity 201: Sexual orientation

This workshop follows Sexual diversity in a nutshell. It focuses more specifically on sexual orientation issues. We will explore the actual  complexities of commonly known labels such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and asexual as well as learn about how people are increasing use other terms such as queer and pansexual due to a lack of satisfaction with more common terms. We will explore layers of sexual orientation such as attraction, behaviour and identity, go over variation in sexual orientation in history and in various cultural contexts and examine how homophobia and biphobia are connected with wider social issues in our society today.

Sexual diversity 201: Gender identity

This workshop follows Sexual diversity in a nutshell. It focuses more specifically on gender identity issues. We will discuss how gender is assigned at birth and how this impacts a person’s identity development. Then we will learn about the different ways of experiencing gender dysphoria and the different ways in which people reject the gender they were assigned at birth. We will also learn about intersexuality and how our notions of discrete categories of biological sex obscure the existence of a wide spectrum of ways of being. Finally, we will learn about how to respect people’s self-declared gender identity at home, at work and in our social lives.

Sexual diversity 301: Current issues  

To the mainstream public, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are often interchangeable. However, the realities and needs of all these groups of people are varied and sometimes at odds with each other. Some people within these communities focus on the commonalities between all these groups to advocate for solidarity while others claim that the differences are too great for true solidarity to be achieved. Intertwined with these debates are reflections on how larger social problems such as sexism, racism, classism, sizism, ageism and ableism trickle into the LGBT community and too often poison community relations. This workshop will explore this dynamic and enable participants to understand why it’s important to avoid assuming things about the reality and identity of an individual based merely on their stated sexual identity.

Note: Ideally, participants in this workshop will be familiar with terms related to sexual orientation and gender identity either through prior knowledge or through the three previous workshops.

Queering the curriculum: Incorporating sexual diversity issues into the classroom in pedagogically sound ways

This workshop is designed for high school and college teachers who are already somewhat familiar with the basic terminology of sexual diversity but who feel intimidated about incorporating these issues into their course curriculum. We will discuss some of the barriers that even well-intentioned teachers face when it comes to the topic of sexual diversity. Then, we will go through 3 steps that anyone can take to gradually increase sexual diversity content in their courses according to their comfort level and to cultivate a safe space for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Girls, boys and others: Talking about sexual diversity to children of all ages

This workshop is designed for parents and for elementary or high school teachers who wish to discuss issues of sexual orientation or gender identity with children and teens. We will begin by covering the basic terminology related to sexual diversity and reasons why it is important to expose children to basic concepts of sexual diversity in order to promote social harmony and mutual respect. Then we will review some of the barriers that parents and teachers face when it comes to the topic of sexual diversity. Finally, we will go over techniques for speaking to children about sexuality in general and sexual diversity in particular in ways in that are appropriate to their age levels.

*Note: If the target audience for this workshop is completely unfamiliar with the topic of sexual diversity, it may be helpful to precede it with “Sexual diversity in a nutshell.”

Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination: How they work together and how to combat them

The words “stereotype”, “prejudice” and “discrimination” are often used interchangeably but they are seperate but related processes. This workshop is designed to help participants understand the mechanisms whereby we learn to think that we “know” the truth about groups of people with which we are unfamiliar and how we learn to think that it’s ok to set people apart based on their real or perceived group affiliation. We will work with commonly held stereotypes and explore how these often innocent looking beliefs can lead to harmful effects on people’s well-being.

Note: This workshop can be tailored to specific issues such as cultural conflict, sexual diversity, ableism, ageism and so forth.

Cultural diversity in the workplace: How to cultivate mutual respect

Do employees in your workplace complain about “accommodations” and about how they fear that they are being taken over by a particular group of people? Are some employees in your workplace routinely targeted by their fellow employees because of their national or ethnic origins? Are racist jokes common and unquestioned in your work environment? This workshop will expose participants to the concepts of culture shock, ethnocentrism and xenophobia and help them recognise how they have been influenced in their thinking by the educational system and the media. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own reactions to “otherness” and to identify ways that they can educate themselves and learn to be more culturally sensitive at work and at home.

Personal testimonies

I am available to provide personal testimonies on aspects of my own identity to groups such as health professionals, educators or other people seeking to become more sensitised to specific realities. These testimonies can stand on their own or be combined with one of the presentations or workshops listed above. Topics on which I can testify from a first-person point of view are transgenderism, transsexuality, genderqueerness, bisexuality, pansexuality, queer parenting and non-monogamy.

Rates and booking

For a prepared presentation from the list above, I charge a $150 speaker fee plus transportation and lodging if applicable. Home billeting is accepted. Rates are negotiable for organisations with low budgets.

For custom workshops, a rate can be negotiated taking into account the type of organisation and the audience size.

Please fill in the contact form below to let me know what your needs are!

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