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


ONLINE & FREE: This Is Toronto: Finding Antifascism in the Neoliberal Archives 1979-1998 


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The Working Papers Series:

Join us for another online iteration of the Archive/Counter-Archive Working Papers Series, which brings together PhD students from different Universities to hear about exciting doctoral research in the area of archival studies. Our second speaker of this term is Sylvia Nowak, who is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. Sylvia’s talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience, moderated by our student organizers, Michael Marlatt and Caroline Klimek.

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 is a SSHRC project dedicated to activating and remediating audiovisual archives created by Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis, Inuit), Black communities and People of Colour, women, LGBT2Q+ and immigrant communities. With 60+ participants, Archive/Counter-Archive looks to address how political, resistant, and community-based counter-archives disrupt conventional narratives and enrich our histories.  www.counterarchive.ca 

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Please click here to register! (FREE). The event will take place on ZOOM. Zoom link will be emailed to all who register on Tuesday, March 23.

ACCESSIBILITY: This event will be closed captioned.