Amelia Harris

Born in St. John’s, she grew up playing music and singing in choirs and now performs in several bands locally. She attended Concordia University in Montreal where she graduated in 2017 with a degree in sociology. Currently, Amelia is in the Gender Studies Masters’ program at Memorial.

How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your graduate degree?

I really wanted to come home after living away for a few years, and doing a degree at Memorial was the perfect way to do it. So many of my friends and family members have attended Memorial and I am glad to have had a chance to do a program here.
What drew you to explore gender studies originally? 
Through my sociology degree I was introduced to feminist theory and it made more sense to me than anything I had hitherto studied. It incited a sense of urgency to learn, and grow - the theories and issues we engage with in this field are academic, personal, and political. They offer a new way to think about and live in this world.

Can you tell us a bit about your current projects?

I am interested in the role gossip plays in negotiating a sense of belonging in communities. Feminized and devalued, the stigmatizing label of women’s talk as gossip is and has been used to silence and delegitimize women’s voices and experiences. Understanding gossip as a way in which people learn about the norms and values of their community underlies this work, and allows me to trace and dissect the power dynamics of who can speak, when, and where.

A supervisor can be key to the success of any grad student. What does your supervisor Dr. Carol Lynne D’Arcangelis bring to their role as your advisor and mentor?

Dr. D’Arcangelis is a wonderful supervisor to work with because she is extremely passionate about the work. When I need to explore new areas of feminist theory, she is always prepared with references and recommendations, and when I need to hone big ideas she is always able to guide me through the process of distilling to reach the heart of the matter, question or goal. It is also an inspiration to watch feminist theories and politics in practice as her academic work is reflected in how she works and teaches.

How does studying in the humanities and social sciences affect your worldview?

Broadly, humanities and social sciences offer a unique insight into how interconnected and complex our lives and histories are locally and globally. What is particularly challenging and exciting about Gender Studies for me is that it really turns a lot of what we take for granted on its head, and in doing so my worldview is made to shift and expand regularly (even when it’s uncomfortable).

Are you involved in any organizations on-campus or off? If so, can you explain and detail such involvement?

I am a volunteer with the Newfoundland Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Center.

What do you like most about being a graduate student at Memorial?

We have such a great department here in Gender Studies with incredible, powerful and inspirational professors and students, so learning in a supportive and open classroom is very special, and different from other learning environments I’ve been in before. This commitment to critical feminist thinking is reflected in the practices and hard work of the members of our department.

What do you hope to do after completing your graduate degree?

I am attending Dalhousie for law school in the fall, and I hope to continue my engagement with feminist thought and politics through practice and activism as a lawyer.


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