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Video Recording | Working Papers Series: Sylvia Nowak | This Is Toronto: Finding Antifascism in the Neoliberal Archives, 1979-1998

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Archive/Counter-Archive is delighted to share the recording of Sylvia Nowak's Working Papers Series Talk, This is Toronto: Finding Antifascism in the Neoliberal Archives 1979-1998, which took place on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 

Contemporary media discourse has seen a renewed focus on antifascism, specifically with "Antifa" (a shortened form of the word antifascism). Antifa has also become a broad signifier, with fluid meaning, and is often used by the right-wing public and media to vilify various activist groups, particularly Black and Indigenous resistance. While the specific term "Antifa" may signify a recent phenomenon of allied social movements in North America, antifascism has always existed in its century-long resistance to fascism. 

Sylvia Nowak's research looks to the social history of Toronto to ask, what form(s) has antifascism taken locally, and how has it been represented? What stories do media archives hold, how have they been collected, preserved, and how can they be remediated for activism? What kind of archive can better embody antifascism, and how does it respond to or counter existing institutions? The intentions are to understand how antifascism has developed in the city, how media representations contrast with activist self-representations, and, crucially, gain insights into and for contemporary and future antifascist resistance while attempting to connect generations of resistance

Sylvia Nowak is a Toronto-based artist, activist and scholar. Working primarily in documentary media, she uses archives to explore radical histories and geographies of protest. She is a Ph.D. student in Cultural Studies at Queen's University (Kingston, Canada), with a BFA in Photography and an MFA in Documentary Media, both from Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada). 

Archive/Counter-Archive's Working Papers Series brings together PhD students from different Universities to hear about exciting doctoral research in the area of archival studies

Watch the video below!