CFP: Intersectional Approaches to Surveillance

Workshop dates: 11-13 June 2015, Queen’s University (Donald Gordon Centre), Kingston, ON, Canada

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 1st March 16, 2015

This workshop strives to bring intersectionality to the forefront of surveillance studies. As surveillance studies becomes increasingly multidisciplinary and post-structural, a thought-provoking frontier for surveillance scholars is to critically focus on the ways in which identity-based discrimination can impact surveillance processes and lived experiences of surveillance. Surveillance studies has traditionally been concerned with how and why populations are tracked, profiled, policed and governed, as well as the ways in which those who are subjects of surveillance manage, negotiate and resist these processes. As an interdisciplinary field of study, surveillance studies is shaped by questions that center on the management of everyday and exceptional life – for example, queries relating to personal data, privacy, security, and terrorism. We are excited to push the boundaries of these queries, encouraging approaches to surveillance studies that consider the ways in which surveillance processes are impacted by intersectional identity markers such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and (dis)ability. We are also interested in the ways in which surveillance studies can be methodologically or analytically impacted by adopting an intersectional approach when conducting surveillance-related research.

Surveillance scholars (for example, Kirstie Ball et al., 2009) have highlighted the importance of considering gender and sexuality in our analyses of surveillance studies. Further considerations of class, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, and race are also a key part of continuing to build more nuanced understandings of how experiences of surveillance can differ depending on individuals’ unique sociocultural identities. Building on work such as Dubrofsky and Magnet’s (2015 forthcoming) edited volume on feminist approaches to surveillance, this workshop seeks to highlight critical approaches to understanding the consequences and impacts of surveillance on individuals. In particular, we are interested in approaches that adopt perspectives grounded in feminist, queer, postcolonial, poststructural, Marxist, critical race, and/or critical disability studies.

Confirmed attendees include:

Oscar Gandy, Shoshana Magnet, Simone Browne, Kevin Walby, and David Philips.

The 2015 Workshop on Intersectional Approaches to Surveillance is guided by the following question:How can centering gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, dis/ability, socioeconomic status, religion, location and other identity characteristics as categories of analysis help social theorists, scholars and researchers to understand surveillance? We seek papers that explore the relationship between surveillance and configurations of these identity markers, with an emphasis on those that theorize these identity markers in an “interlocking”, interconnected way. We are also interested in papers that consider the methodological or analytical implications of intersectional approaches to surveillance studies. Papers that critically and creatively interrogate oppression, inequalities, discrimination, power and resistance are particularly encouraged.

Possible topics and approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical race, postcolonial, queer and feminist approaches to theorizing surveillance.
  • The role of surveillance technologies in social sorting, “big data”, digital discrimination, and ethnic and racial inequalities.
  • Analysis of the use of social network sites for anti-racist organizing and for shaming racist acts and “hate tweets” (for example, or the @YesYoureRacist twitter account)
  • Biometric information technologies
  • Stop-and-frisk, flying-while-brown, existing-while-black, racial and ethnic profiling in policing or the prison industrial complex.
  • Deployment of surveillance in the context of racialized transgender and gender non-conforming bodies and populations.
  • Role of surveillance in systems of colonialism, slavery, and indentureship.
  • Intersectional methodologies or analytical strategies for surveillance studies

We intend for the workshop to be a place for engaged discussion and debate; we encourage respectful discourse and critical inquiry. We envision a workshop where attendees can freely ask questions and presenters can receive feedback from their peers in an environment that is critical, yet also safe and supportive. Paper presentations will occur one at a time rather than concurrently, in the interest of providing each presenter an opportunity to engage in discussion and receive peer feedback.

Submission Information:

Please submit 200 word abstracts and author name(s), university affiliation and contact information via email to: Please put 2015 SSC Bi-Annual Workshop in subject line.

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 16, 2015

Workshop Dates: June 11th-13th, 2015

Workshop Information:

The workshop will begin with welcoming remarks, a keynote speaker and opening panel at 18:00 on Thursday 11 June. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Oscar Gandy, followed by an opening panel who will consider the role of intersectionality in surveillance studies and will also be available to answer questions put forth by workshop participants.

The workshop sessions will run from 9:00 to 17:00 on Friday 12 June and Saturday 13 June. Paper presentations will each be 15 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes for questions.

Following the final workshop session, a dinner for all workshop participants will be held on Saturday, 13 June at 18:00.


Donald Gordon Conference Centre
421 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario
Canada K7L 3N6


Overnight accommodation is available in the Donald Gordon Centre and will include breakfast, lunch and dinner for June 12, 13. Day attendees will receive lunch and refreshments throughout each full day, as well as the workshop dinner on June 13.


Day attendees: $275

Overnight attendees: $550

Any additional funding received by the workshop organizers will be used to supplement registration and accommodation fees for graduate student participants.

Please email the conference organizers with any questions at:


David Murakami Wood (Queen's University),
Ciara Bracken-Roche (Queen's University),
and Trevor Milford (University of Ottawa)