Sheila Cavanagh

Department of Sociology

Associate Professor

Office: Founders College, 322
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext: 22336
Emailsheila@yorku.ca
Primary websitewww.yorku.ca/sheila

Sheila L. Cavanagh is an Associate Professor of Sociology and former Sexuality Studies Coordinator at York University, Toronto, Canada. She does gender and sexuality studies with a focus on feminist, queer, cultural, and psychoanalytic theories.

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Sheila L. Cavanagh is an Associate Professor in Sociology and former Sexuality Studies Coordinator at York University. Her research is in the area of gender and sexuality with a concentration on queer, cultural, and psychoanalytic theories. Cavanagh recently co-edited a collection with Angela Failler and Rachel A. J. Hurst titled Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis (2013) published by Palgrave Macmillan. Her first sole-authored book titled Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies (UBC, 2007) was given honorable mention by the Canadian Women’s Studies Association. Her second sole-authored book titled Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination (UTP, 2010) is a GLBT Indie Book Award finalist and recipient of the CWSA/ACEF Outstanding Scholarship Prize Honourable Mention (2012). Her performed ethnography titled Queer Bathroom Monologues (QBM) premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival (2011) and was given the Audience Pick Award. The play was professionally staged at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, in June 2014 and has already toured at conferences, colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. She has published in a wide range of international refereed journals and is now writing a book titled Transsexuality and the Other Sexual Difference.

Area of Specialization

Sociology

Degrees

PhD, York University
MA, University of Toronto (OISE)
BA, York University
BEd, York University

Research Interests

Gender Issues , Culture and Cultural Studies , Queer Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Trans* Studies, Performance Ethnography

Selected Publications

(2010) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

(2013) Co-edited with Angela Failler and Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst. Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

(2013) “Affect, Performance and Ethnographic Methods in Queer Bathroom Monologues” Text and Performance Quarterly, 33(4): 1-22.

(2014) Queer Bathroom Stories. Professional production in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Pride Program, Toronto, May 31st-June 15. (Playwright and Producer)

(2014) “Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Lacanian Mirror: Urinary Segregation and the Bodily Ego” In Psychoanalytic Geographies (Eds.) Paul Kingsbury and Steve Pile. Farnham and Surrey: Ashgate.

(2007) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Current Research Projects

Transgender and Performance Ethnography

Description: 
Recent studies show that transgender (trans) individuals in Ontario suffer from gender discrimination, lack of state recognition, often live in poverty despite high education levels, and suffer widespread transphobic harassment (Cavanagh 2010; Irving and Raj 2014; Scruton 2014). There is, however, a dearth of in-depth research about the lived experiences of trans people necessary to engage key audiences in the need to effect substantive policy and legislative change.

The Ontario-based Trans PULSE project (launched by Dr. Greta Bauer, partner on this project) (sample: 433) found that: 1) 48% of trans people did not have government issued identification reflecting their lived gender identity; 2) 71% of trans people have at least some college or university education but half make $15,000 or less per year; 3) 66% of trans Ontarians avoid public places due to fear of transphobic harassment; and 4) 34% of participants experienced verbal harassment or threats because they are trans.

A recent study also found that 70% of trans people interviewed in Ontario avoid public toilets, especially at school, work, in malls, gymnasiums and community centers because they fear transphobic harassment and/or assault (Cavanagh, 2010).The Trans Needs Assessment Report issued by the Canadian AIDS Society reflects similar findings and ranked better “public education, understanding and acceptance of people who are trans” (Scruton, 2014) as one of their main priorities. This research partnership brings together a team of academic and community organizations in Ontario dedicated to trans advocacy, research, and theatre-based education. The overall objective of this partnership is to study the legal, social, educational and economic barriers to public participation and citizenship trans people face in Ontario, and to disseminate the findings through a one-week theatrical production at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (BBTT). The project will be grounded in semi-structured life-history interviews with twenty Ontario-based participants who identify as trans, a term which is broadly defined to include those who are transsexual, transgender, gender queer, two-spirit and non-binary gender.

The interviews will form the basis of a performed ethnography (PE). An emerging methodological innovation, PE combines critical ethnographic interviews and theatre to stage academic research in a public forum. It thus optimizes social impact and knowledge sharing. The specific objectives of this project are to: a) generate original sociological research pertinent to trans people in Ontario; b) use theatre to educate the public, the relevant professional sectors and government bodies about the needs of the trans community; and c) produce the first PE on trans experiences in Canada for use in colleges, universities, professional training and community-based social services.

The research will also be used to support the education, advocacy and legislative mandates of Supporting Our Youth (SOY) and EGALE Canada (both community partners), and the arts-based mandates of BBBT (community partner).

All members of this intersectoral partnership will contribute their respective expertise to the qualitative study, performance, and mobilization of research results central to the Ontario trans community. As such, the project is grounded in the community engagement of EGALE Canada and SOY, who will work closely with the academic partners (Cavanagh, Bauer, Levin and CFR) to ensure that all aspects of the research process are accountable and responsive to the needs of the trans community. BBTT will stage the PE, in collaboration with the PI (Cavanagh) and the Theatre Department at York University (Levin), who will also all work together in the play’s development, in dialogue with the other community partners.

Eight graduate students will actively participate in the research and theatrical components of this partnership, contributing to the enhancement of their academic abilities, professional skills, and community relationships.

Project Type: Funded
Role: Principle Investigator


Start Date:  Month: Sep  Year: 2015
End Date:  Month: Sep  Year: 2018

Selected Publications

(2010) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

(2013) Co-edited with Angela Failler and Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst. Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

(2013) “Affect, Performance and Ethnographic Methods in Queer Bathroom Monologues” Text and Performance Quarterly, 33(4): 1-22.

(2014) Queer Bathroom Stories. Professional production in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Pride Program, Toronto, May 31st-June 15. (Playwright and Producer)

(2014) “Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Lacanian Mirror: Urinary Segregation and the Bodily Ego” In Psychoanalytic Geographies (Eds.) Paul Kingsbury and Steve Pile. Farnham and Surrey: Ashgate.

(2007) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

All Publications

Books

(2013) Co-edited with Angela Failler and Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst. Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

(2010) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

(2007) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Book Chapters

(2015) “Transgender and gender nonconforming youth and school bathrooms” The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies (Eds.) by Abbie E. Goldberg, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

(2014) “Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Lacanian Mirror: Urinary Segregation and the Bodily Ego” In Psychoanalytic Geographies (Eds.) Paul Kingsbury and Steve Pile. Farnham and Surrey: Ashgate.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2009) “Sex in the Lesbian Teacher’s Closet: The Hybrid Proliferation of Queers in School” In Jo-Anne Dillabough, Julie McLeod and Martin Mills (Eds.) Gender and Education. New York: Routledge.

Journal Articles

(2013) “Affect, Performance and Ethnographic Methods in Queer Bathroom Monologues” Text and Performance Quarterly, 33(4): 1-22.

(2008) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Special Issue in Discourse: The Cultural Politics of Education entitled “Gender Trouble in Education.” Paper title: “Sex in the Lesbian Teacher’s Closet: The Hybrid Proliferation of Queers in the Jean Robertson Scanadal.”

(2006) Cavanagh, Sheila L. and Sykes, Heather. “Transsexual Bodies at the Olympics: The International Olympic Policy on Transsexual Athletes at the Athens Summer Games.” Body and Society 12(3): 75-102.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2006) . “Spinsters, Schoolmarms, and Queers: The Unmarried Teacher in Medicine and Psychoanalytic Theory.” Discourse: The Cultural Politics of Education 27(4): 421-440.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2005) “Sexing the Teacher: Voyeuristic Pleasure in the Amy Gehring Case,” Social Text 82, 23 (1): 111-134.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2005) “Female Teacher Gender and Sexuality in 20th Century Ontario, Canada.” History of Education Quarterly 45(2): 247-273.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2004) “Upsetting Desires in the Classroom: School Sex Scandals and the Pedagogy of the Femme Fatale.” Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society ( 9):315-332.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2003) “Teacher Transsexuality: The Illusion of Sexual Difference and the Idea of Adolescent Trauma.” Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society 6 (3-4): 365-388.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2003) . The Gender of Professionalism and Occupational Closure: The Management of Tenure Related Disputes by the ‘Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations of Ontario’, 1918-1949. Gender and Education, 15(1), pp.39-57.

Conference Papers

Book Reviews

(2013) Awfully Devoted Women: Lesbian Lives in Canada, 1900-65 by Cameron Duder. Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 22, No. 3.

Published Reviews Of Your Work

(2012) Author replies to critics in review of Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination in Gender, Place and Culture, Vol. 19, No. 4.

Creative Works

(2014) Queer Bathroom Stories. Professional production in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Pride Program, Toronto, May 31st-June 15. (Playwright and Producer)

Current Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall/Winter 2015-2016 AP/SOCI3690 6.0  Sociology of Gender LECT  


Sheila L. Cavanagh is an Associate Professor of Sociology and former Sexuality Studies Coordinator at York University, Toronto, Canada. She does gender and sexuality studies with a focus on feminist, queer, cultural, and psychoanalytic theories.


Sheila L. Cavanagh is an Associate Professor in Sociology and former Sexuality Studies Coordinator at York University. Her research is in the area of gender and sexuality with a concentration on queer, cultural, and psychoanalytic theories. Cavanagh recently co-edited a collection with Angela Failler and Rachel A. J. Hurst titled Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis (2013) published by Palgrave Macmillan. Her first sole-authored book titled Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies (UBC, 2007) was given honorable mention by the Canadian Women’s Studies Association. Her second sole-authored book titled Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination (UTP, 2010) is a GLBT Indie Book Award finalist and recipient of the CWSA/ACEF Outstanding Scholarship Prize Honourable Mention (2012). Her performed ethnography titled Queer Bathroom Monologues (QBM) premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival (2011) and was given the Audience Pick Award. The play was professionally staged at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, in June 2014 and has already toured at conferences, colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. She has published in a wide range of international refereed journals and is now writing a book titled Transsexuality and the Other Sexual Difference.

Area of Specialization

Sociology

Degrees

PhD, York University
MA, University of Toronto (OISE)
BA, York University
BEd, York University


Research Interests:

Gender Issues , Culture and Cultural Studies , Education , Queer Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Trans* Studies, Performance Ethnography

Current Research Projects

Transgender and Performance Ethnography

Description: 
Recent studies show that transgender (trans) individuals in Ontario suffer from gender discrimination, lack of state recognition, often live in poverty despite high education levels, and suffer widespread transphobic harassment (Cavanagh 2010; Irving and Raj 2014; Scruton 2014). There is, however, a dearth of in-depth research about the lived experiences of trans people necessary to engage key audiences in the need to effect substantive policy and legislative change.

The Ontario-based Trans PULSE project (launched by Dr. Greta Bauer, partner on this project) (sample: 433) found that: 1) 48% of trans people did not have government issued identification reflecting their lived gender identity; 2) 71% of trans people have at least some college or university education but half make $15,000 or less per year; 3) 66% of trans Ontarians avoid public places due to fear of transphobic harassment; and 4) 34% of participants experienced verbal harassment or threats because they are trans.

A recent study also found that 70% of trans people interviewed in Ontario avoid public toilets, especially at school, work, in malls, gymnasiums and community centers because they fear transphobic harassment and/or assault (Cavanagh, 2010).The Trans Needs Assessment Report issued by the Canadian AIDS Society reflects similar findings and ranked better “public education, understanding and acceptance of people who are trans” (Scruton, 2014) as one of their main priorities. This research partnership brings together a team of academic and community organizations in Ontario dedicated to trans advocacy, research, and theatre-based education. The overall objective of this partnership is to study the legal, social, educational and economic barriers to public participation and citizenship trans people face in Ontario, and to disseminate the findings through a one-week theatrical production at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (BBTT). The project will be grounded in semi-structured life-history interviews with twenty Ontario-based participants who identify as trans, a term which is broadly defined to include those who are transsexual, transgender, gender queer, two-spirit and non-binary gender.

The interviews will form the basis of a performed ethnography (PE). An emerging methodological innovation, PE combines critical ethnographic interviews and theatre to stage academic research in a public forum. It thus optimizes social impact and knowledge sharing. The specific objectives of this project are to: a) generate original sociological research pertinent to trans people in Ontario; b) use theatre to educate the public, the relevant professional sectors and government bodies about the needs of the trans community; and c) produce the first PE on trans experiences in Canada for use in colleges, universities, professional training and community-based social services.

The research will also be used to support the education, advocacy and legislative mandates of Supporting Our Youth (SOY) and EGALE Canada (both community partners), and the arts-based mandates of BBBT (community partner).

All members of this intersectoral partnership will contribute their respective expertise to the qualitative study, performance, and mobilization of research results central to the Ontario trans community. As such, the project is grounded in the community engagement of EGALE Canada and SOY, who will work closely with the academic partners (Cavanagh, Bauer, Levin and CFR) to ensure that all aspects of the research process are accountable and responsive to the needs of the trans community. BBTT will stage the PE, in collaboration with the PI (Cavanagh) and the Theatre Department at York University (Levin), who will also all work together in the play’s development, in dialogue with the other community partners.

Eight graduate students will actively participate in the research and theatrical components of this partnership, contributing to the enhancement of their academic abilities, professional skills, and community relationships.

Project Type: Funded
Role: Principle Investigator


Start Date:  Month: Sep  Year: 2015
End Date:  Month: Sep  Year: 2018

Selected Publications

(2010) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

(2013) Co-edited with Angela Failler and Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst. Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

(2013) “Affect, Performance and Ethnographic Methods in Queer Bathroom Monologues” Text and Performance Quarterly, 33(4): 1-22.

(2014) Queer Bathroom Stories. Professional production in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Pride Program, Toronto, May 31st-June 15. (Playwright and Producer)

(2014) “Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Lacanian Mirror: Urinary Segregation and the Bodily Ego” In Psychoanalytic Geographies (Eds.) Paul Kingsbury and Steve Pile. Farnham and Surrey: Ashgate.

(2007) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

All Publications

Books

(2013) Co-edited with Angela Failler and Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst. Skin, Culture and Psychoanalysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

(2010) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

(2007) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Sexing the Teacher: School Sex Scandals and Queer Pedagogies. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Book Chapters

(2015) “Transgender and gender nonconforming youth and school bathrooms” The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies (Eds.) by Abbie E. Goldberg, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

(2014) “Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Lacanian Mirror: Urinary Segregation and the Bodily Ego” In Psychoanalytic Geographies (Eds.) Paul Kingsbury and Steve Pile. Farnham and Surrey: Ashgate.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2009) “Sex in the Lesbian Teacher’s Closet: The Hybrid Proliferation of Queers in School” In Jo-Anne Dillabough, Julie McLeod and Martin Mills (Eds.) Gender and Education. New York: Routledge.

Journal Articles

(2013) “Affect, Performance and Ethnographic Methods in Queer Bathroom Monologues” Text and Performance Quarterly, 33(4): 1-22.

(2008) Cavanagh, Sheila L. Special Issue in Discourse: The Cultural Politics of Education entitled “Gender Trouble in Education.” Paper title: “Sex in the Lesbian Teacher’s Closet: The Hybrid Proliferation of Queers in the Jean Robertson Scanadal.”

(2006) Cavanagh, Sheila L. and Sykes, Heather. “Transsexual Bodies at the Olympics: The International Olympic Policy on Transsexual Athletes at the Athens Summer Games.” Body and Society 12(3): 75-102.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2006) . “Spinsters, Schoolmarms, and Queers: The Unmarried Teacher in Medicine and Psychoanalytic Theory.” Discourse: The Cultural Politics of Education 27(4): 421-440.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2005) “Sexing the Teacher: Voyeuristic Pleasure in the Amy Gehring Case,” Social Text 82, 23 (1): 111-134.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2005) “Female Teacher Gender and Sexuality in 20th Century Ontario, Canada.” History of Education Quarterly 45(2): 247-273.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2004) “Upsetting Desires in the Classroom: School Sex Scandals and the Pedagogy of the Femme Fatale.” Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society ( 9):315-332.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2003) “Teacher Transsexuality: The Illusion of Sexual Difference and the Idea of Adolescent Trauma.” Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society 6 (3-4): 365-388.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. (2003) . The Gender of Professionalism and Occupational Closure: The Management of Tenure Related Disputes by the ‘Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations of Ontario’, 1918-1949. Gender and Education, 15(1), pp.39-57.

Conference Papers

Book Reviews

(2013) Awfully Devoted Women: Lesbian Lives in Canada, 1900-65 by Cameron Duder. Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 22, No. 3.

Published Reviews Of Your Work

(2012) Author replies to critics in review of Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination in Gender, Place and Culture, Vol. 19, No. 4.

Creative Works

(2014) Queer Bathroom Stories. Professional production in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Pride Program, Toronto, May 31st-June 15. (Playwright and Producer)


Teaching:

Current Courses

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TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall/Winter 2015-2016 AP/SOCI3690 6.0  Sociology of Gender LECT