UnlearningVol. 5 No. 1 (2023)
Thank you for picking up this journal. We are very excited to have you here!
This issue has been curated from a place of healing. As we, the editorial team, reflected on the world-shifting events of the past few years, we found it necessary to consider what theme could spur action and hope. Grounded in these reflections and building on our previous issues, we selected UNLEARNING as our theme. In previous years, we have had to reckon with deep political unrest which has once again reflected the global capitalist and neoliberal structures of injustice and inequity and asked us to radically rethink our complacencies in these political systems. However, we have also seen communities come together, showcasing agency and activism to embark on the long and hard journey to social justice. Through protests in Iran, reproductive justice, continued Black Lives Matter action, climate change action, Indigenous Land Back resistance, and more, communities are making their voices heard to prompt all of us to unlearn and move towards a better, brighter, and more hopeful future.
When we say unlearning, we are asking you to reconsider what we think we know and question if it benefits all of us in the diverse global community. Unlearning encourages us to decentre dominant western and colonial modes of knowledge building and sharing. It requires sitting with discomfort and working through the ways we may benefit from the systems that harm others. While this process of unlearning is perhaps troubling and uncomfortable, it also creates communal spaces of joy. As you read through this edition of That’s What [We] Said, we ask you to take a moment to ponder on the unlearning you may need to take on to better support our communities.
We have received a record-breaking number of submissions this year. They included everything from poetry to prose to art. Our submitters have created these pieces to reflect on what they are in the process of unlearning or how they have encouraged those around them to unlearn. They problematize assumptions about whiteness, wellness, mental health, and more while offering personal narratives of their own journeys of unlearning.
We would like to thank all of our contributors, who come from different backgrounds and represent diverse identities, for allowing us to showcase their intimate experiences of unlearning with our readers. Your work allows us to continue this journal and present people with a space for joy, equity, activism, agency, and resistance.
We feel that this issue does an excellent job of imagining a hopeful future as we meditate on what we need to do to actively unlearn our preconceptions and prejudices. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did. Editing this journal has brought our team closer to one another as we supported each other in our unlearning journeys. We are so grateful for the support of the department to create this magnificent space for feminist undergraduate leadership.
That’s What [We] Said Editorial Team.
We want to acknowledge that UBC Okanagan is situated on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. As an editorial team of settlers/guests/visitors who are not from these lands, we deem it essential to learn what it means to be on these lands from the Syilx people and their captikʷł. If you are a settler, guest, or visitor to Syilx territory, we urge you to actively engage in learning directly from Syilx people. The Syilx people provide ample opportunity to learn from and alongside them, please take a look at the resources we have listed below that will direct you to engage in this learning.
As a feminist journal operating within an academic institution, we recognize our part in involuntarily reinforcing systems of power that are currently in place. We also acknowledge that much of feminist thought has been, and continues to be, rooted in colonial ethos. Every year, we aim to do our part in decolonizing these discourses by centering the works and voices of our BIPOC students, authors, and artists.
We are grateful to the Syilx Peoples for their stewardship, teachings, and decolonial efforts which make conversations and work around anti-racism and feminism possible.
The journal is an initiative of the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Program in the Community, Culture, and Global Studies Department at University of British Columbia, Okanagan. We are grateful for the funding generously provided by the Irving K Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Endowment Fund.
Modes Of BeingVol. 2 No. 2 (2020)
Welcome to the second edition of That’s What [We] Said. We are so glad that you’re here! The editorial board has worked very hard over the last few months to get this issue ready for you, and we cannot wait to show you the hard work and talent of students across our campus.
That’s What [We] Said arose out of the minds of seven students in the Gender and Women’s Studies program here at UBC Okanagan. The journal began as a space for collaboration and open conversation between faculties and students. Our mission statement has carried us through the last two years, reminding us of our intention to include a diverse range of voices, and our want to challenge hegemonic ideas that tend to govern our everyday lives.
Last year’s theme, “Body Politics,” centred around political themes pertaining to the physical body. Submissions brought forth topics like race, citizenship, statehood, family, relationships, disability, gender, and more. The first edition was a wonderful discussion that delved deep into the politics of the body.
This year, the editorial board chose the theme “Modes of Being.” The theme is intentionally open, with the hope that students would interpret it according to their particular scholarly and personal background. Indeed, the submissions we have received have varied greatly, from discussions of body hair to Christianity. This year’s journal contains poetry, artwork, research studies, essays, and collaborative works, all from UBCO students. Our second edition is somewhat of an homage to the theme of intersectionality, an open space of conversation and discourse surrounding how we, as students and as people, are shaped by compounding dynamics of power. The energy coursing through this edition is electric, and we cannot wait to share it with our readers.
Our second edition also marked the exit of three of the original editorial board members, those who came up with the idea for a gender studies publication. While we are sad to go, we are excited to leave it in the capable hands of the colleagues that collaborated with us on this issue. We hope to sustain the energy and interest of our readers, our writers and our editors, alike, well into the future.
We hope you will have an incredible experience reading the issue. We hope the articles, poems, and artworks included here will stay with you well beyond the limits of these pages. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey.
Enjoy, experience, and learn!
Re-CreationVol. 4 No. 1 (2022)
This year, we have come to face a number of legacies that are difficult to grapple with. This second year of the pandemic highlighted the overwhelming ableism apparent in our minds and our structures. Time and time again, the pandemic response has clearly shown that the government and the public see disabled and chronically ill folks as disposable - as nothing more than collateral so the “world” can go back to “normal.” This year also brought the harrowing realities of Canada’s residential school system to the forefront. In June, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation released the news that two hundred and fifteen unmarked graves were on the grounds of the residential school in the community. Since then, a number of communities have had confirmation of unmarked graves using the same ground penetrating technology. As we write this letter, only 12 out of 139 residential schools have been searched and the number of unmarked graves has reached 1,987.
These distressing occurrences are just two of the number of other injustices and conflicts that we have had to reckon with. These histories and traumas must be faced - by all of us. That is what our theme, re-creation, is asking us to do. It asks us to reimagine, refigure, and reconsider how the shapes and structures of our world need to be transformed. A transformation that does not assume a blank slate to begin from. A transformation that demands we recognize and work with our pasts and our futures.
This year brought forward a call to face the histories we have created, curated, and inherited, while also working towards a future that honours and values all of us. As guests on Syilx land, Syilx knowledge traditions have informed our scholarly approaches. Shared with one of our board members, Dani, from Dr. Bill Cohen at Okanagan College, is that the name Syilx translates to "dream in a spiral." From Dani’s understanding, this concept positions the community or person in the centre with their lives connecting to, interacting with, being informed by the past, present, and future as it spirals outwards. This concept may help us approach reimagining as growing from and with the present, while also growing from and with the past and future.
The many pieces of art, poetry, and writing featured in this issue of That’s What [We] Said point to the areas in need of radical reformation and also show transformation in action. They consider the histories already around us and search for new ways to approach the world with it in mind. They also reflect on our everyday relations to reimagine a new way for them to exist.
This theme of re-creation has also extended into the creation of this journal as well. As a team, we have been able to curate a slowness that lends itself well to the intentional collaboration that has been central to the success of this journal. We have maintained a non-hierarchical structure that honours our different strengths in leadership and teamwork. For many of us, working in this way has been a conscious choice and a new experience. We are grateful to one another for the deep respect we have cultivated between us. It has helped to recreate our approaches to future collaborative endeavours.
Finally, we want to send a million thank yous to our contributors, who so graciously offered their intimate understandings and representations of re-creation. It is your work that shaped this journal into a magnificent masterpiece.
This issue is brimming with new perspectives to learn from, so we hope you enjoy reading and that it encourages you to re-create in your own life!
That’s What [We] Said Editorial Team
We want to acknowledge that UBC Okanagan is situated on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Indeed, there is a lot of work left to be done towards solidifying Indigenous rights, sovereignty, and decolonization, especially on the part of non-indigenous people who are on this land.
Within a pandemic-ridden world, the systemic racialisation and discrimination of Indigenous communities were amplified and brought to the forefront through the confirmation of thousands of unmarked graves on the grounds of residential schools, militarisation of the Land Back movement, and lack of access to good healthcare. As many folks mourned the separation from their loved ones all around the world, it is critical to remember that many Indigenous communities are subjected to the colonial systemic destruction of families through the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans, and two-spirit peoples. Even though Canada has ratified the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we still have a long road ahead towards dismantling systems of power. However, by embodying the ideology of re-creation and envisioning reconciliation rooted in Indigenous knowledges, sovereignty, joy, and power, we can take the first step towards making this a reality.
As a feminist journal operating out of an academic institution, we recognize our part in involuntarily reinforcing systems of power that are currently in place. We also acknowledge that much of feminist thought has been, and continues to be, rooted in colonial ethos. Going forward, we aim to do our part in decolonizing these discourses by centring the works and voices of our BIPOC students, authors, and artists.
We are grateful to the Syilx Peoples for their stewardship, teachings and decolonial efforts which make conversations and work around anti-racism and feminism possible.
Body/PoliticsVol. 1 (2019)
I am so excited to have you join us.
That’s What [We] Said was conceptualized in September 2018. After months of meeting, careful decision making, and lots of resourcing, we have finally made this journal a reality! Our title, “That’s What [We] Said,” plays on the phrase “That’s What She Said,” a common expression used to denigrate female speech. “We” is the provisional replacement of the commonly used “she” in the phrase, illustrating our desire to challenge stereotypes and assumptions that surround gender studies. Our name is an act of reclamation.
We are a collective that seeks to deconstruct stereotypes, assumptions, and boundaries about gender, women, biology, bodies, race, sexuality, geography, religion, nationality, identity, and everything in between. We acknowledge and draw attention to the unceded Syilx Okanagan territories that we write and publish from.
The mission of That’s What [We] Said is to challenge social norms, facilitate a creative platform for an intersectional feminist discourse, and offer an approachable commentary. We believe that one of the strong suits of the Gender and Women's Studies program is that it is accessible across disciplines. We seek to amplify the voices of people from various backgrounds and to provide them with a space to be critical and creative. In so doing, we hope to deepen our connections with one another, acknowledging that community counters isolation.
This first edition is titled Body/Politics. Each written submission is from an editor and reflects a different commentary on the body and or/politic(s). “Body politics” refers to both the systemic regulation of bodies, the uneven decision making by those with power sustained through culture (Griffin); as well as “politic,” a political collective (OED, “body politic”).
This edition kicks off with Stephanie Awotwi-Pratt’s collection of poetry, followed by our featured artists: Moozhan Ahmadzadegan and Ari Sparks. The article section starts off with a critique of dress codes by Claire Feasby. Kenya Gutteridge then undertakes a close reading of Mad Max: Fury Road. Allison Brown analyzes constructions of the body politic and suggests how it can be rethought. Radia Mbengue follows with an article on reproductive exploitation and the black woman’s body. Wrapping up this edition is Tayana Simpson’s article on the body as a site of struggle in politics.
I hope you can learn and ask questions with us. As part of an open source platform, we seek accessibility and hope that our journal is applicable to daily lives and academic scholarship. We know that feminism is not limited to one realm of society but rather takes place in all areas.
This journal would not be made possible without the help and guidance from the faculty at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, including Lori Walter, the Scholarly Communication Librarian at The University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus; and Alison Conway, Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies. Acknowledgements are also due to Matthew Brown, who designed the That’s What [We] Said Logo. Thank you. And thank you, reader, for journeying with us. I hope you enjoy the journal as much as we do.
Christine is a second-year student pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. She previously worked as a birth and postpartum doula in Vancouver. Christine is passionate about reproductive healthcare and loves to knit.
Griffin, Gabriele. "body politics." A Dictionary of Gender Studies. Oxford University Press, January 01, 2017. Oxford Reference. Date Accessed 17 Feb. 2019
"body politic, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/273303. Accessed 17 February 2019.
World-BuildingVol. 3 No. 1 (2021)
If one thing can be said about 2020, it was a time of incredible upheaval. In the face of a worldwide pandemic, we saw ourselves viscerally confronted with the failures of how we have been imagining our relations to capital, to nature, and to one another. As the precarity of our global civilization, of our very lives, came to the fore, so, too, did the need to build communities that recognize our vital dependence on one another—and strengthen those that already do. The question of how to imagine the world otherwise, beyond the false confines of borders, money, and the nature-culture divide, press on us more heavily than ever, now, as we are forced to reckon with our system’s inability to take care of our most urgent and fundamental needs. World-building means many things: the bringing together of a people, the recovery of a history, the generation of a new knowledge, or way to relate to one another. In the political uprising that has sprung up against anti-Black racism and police brutality this past year, we have been witness to the hopeful promise of what community-building and dreaming—of a world beyond anti-Black violence—can do.
With the work social movements and activist groups have done, like the Black Lives Matter movements have done and continue to do; the need for community-building and imagining a future that addresses and works to challenge oppressive structures has proven itself imperative to fashioning a better world. This visible social unrest is evocative of the need to collectively and cohesively promote justice, equity, and inclusion on issues affecting marginalized groups. Kimberlee Crenshaw's term intersectionality comes to mind as a theoretical approach that acknowledges how complex and imperative positionality is in reimagining inequitable structures, intersecting issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class. This issue of That’s What [We] Said highlights, in part, the importance of anti-racism reform practices and pedagogy that influence how we think about and structure our social world. How can we all challenge these dominant, unquestioned ideologies embedded within society? How can we evoke change, resistance, and reform? What kind of world do you dream of? How might you work toward it?
World-building, as a concept, guides and inspires the pieces you will encounter within this issue. The collective voices of the authors, poets, and artists evoke the communal and pedagogical work needed to produce knowledge that resists, reforms, and challenges social norms and institutions.
Herein, you will encounter pieces that pay homage to activist movements that made our world possible, record correspondences on unlearning gendered oppression in the family, and honour the ways we have coped with these impossible times, among so much else.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this issue and that it will inspire you toward your own dreams of building another world.
& The Editorial Team
We want to acknowledge that UBC Okanagan is situated on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Indeed, there is a lot of work left to be done towards solidifying Indigenous rights, sovereignty and decolonization, especially on the part of non-indigenous people who are on this land.
As a feminist journal operating out of an academic institution, we recognize our part in involuntarily reinforcing systems of power that are currently in place. We also acknowledge that much of feminist thought has been, and continues to be, rooted in colonial ethos. Going forward, we aim to do our part in decolonizing these discourses by centering the works and voices of our BIPOC students, authors, and artists.
We are grateful to the Syilx Peoples for their stewardship, teachings and decolonial efforts which make conversations and work around anti-racism and feminism possible.