Panelists

Aqsa Ijaz

Aqsa Ijaz is a PhD student at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University and works on the Persian and Urdu literary traditions of the Indian Subcontinent. She is a translator and a reviewer who continues to write for Pakistan’s leading publications such as, Laaltain, Dawn and The Express Tribune

Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is a PhD student in Communication Studies at McGill University. Her research focuses on the intersection of gender, environment and activism in India. Her past work was specifically focused on feminist activism against sexual violence in India, and feminist uses of online platforms to reach global audiences in an effort to build transnational solidarity. She also works on a project addressing sexual violence on university campuses, and with the Canadian Women’s Foundation to promote healthy relationships amongst teens.

Daniela Pinto

Daniela Pinto is a filmmaker based in Toronto, Ontario. Her short documentary “Us = Them” was a finalist in the TVO Short Doc Contest in 2017, and recently aired on CBC’s Absolutely Toronto series. She works as a freelance sound editor, mixer, and composer, but often feels compelled to tell stories about issues that are important to her, such as LGBTQ identity and its intersection with both gender and culture. She is a recent graduate of Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Film and Television program, where she wrote and directed “”Priya”” (alongside her friend Kyle Smith) as her final year thesis project. Being a film of deep personal significance to her, she is looking forward to finally sharing it with a wider audience.

Dolores Chew

Dolores Chew teaches at Marianopolis College, including the Humanities course “Beyond Bollywood”.
She is a member of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, a Research Associate of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute and a member of CERAS (Centre sur l’asie du sud).

Jill Didur

Jill Didur is Professor of English at Concordia University. Her research interests include South Asian literature and culture, postcolonial studies, and the environmental humanities. She is author of Unsettling Partition: Literature, Gender, Memory (2006), and coeditor of Global Ecologies and the Environmental Humanities: Postcolonial Approaches (2015).

Karishma Dev Dube

Karishma Dev Dube is an Indian filmmaker based in New York. She was introduced to films while working as a production assistant on several documentaries and independent features in Mumbai, including TED fellow Shalini Kantayya’s documentary Catching the Sun. A recipient of the Dean’s fellowship, Karishma is currently a thesis MFA candidate at NYU’s Graduate Film Program.
Her most recent work is Devi (Goddess), an award winning short film that has been featured on BBC world and played in over 40 lm festivals around the world including BFI London Film Festival, LA Film Festival, OUTfest LA and Edinburgh International Film Festival. She is currently developing Devi into her first length script.
Karishma intends to continue making films that challenge cultural assumptions, both about and within her country.

Kavitha Culasingam

Kavitha is an anti-racist & feminist who works at the Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs as an community organizer. She is also active in a group called GARAM MASALA Montreal ( Groupe d’Action Révolutionnaire sud-Asiatique de Montréal / MontrealAssociation of South Asian Leftists & Allies)

Khatira Mahdavi

Khatira Mahdavi is an Afghan poet, author and speaker, currently studying Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at McGill University.

Kiran Omar

Montreal native for last 30 years, Kiran enjoys films and the art of film making intrigues her. She was affiliated with Montreal’s Kabir Cultural Centre for a few years, and helped with the then fledgling film club and festival. She strongly believes that film is an excellent medium to bring social issues to forefront and to tell stories. She has a background in adult education, international relations and social sciences. Women’s issues are another of her areas of focus and she is active in the Montreal chapter of ZONTA, an international organization, with chapters in North America and has advisory status at the UN. ZONTA undertakes activities to promote awareness on women’s health and education. Theater and the performing arts is another of her passions, and she continues to maintain strong links with Teesri Duniya theatre company that focuses on issue related to immigrant and marginalized communities in Montreal and Canada.

Lara Braitstein

Lara Braitstein is Associate Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Her research interests include Indian and Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhist literature and historiography. She is author of The Adamantine Songs (Columbia UP, 2014), translator and editor of Shamar Rinpoche’s Path to Awakening (Motilal Banarsidass, 2009, 2011; Delphinium Books 2014), and editor of Boundless Wisdom (Delphinium 2018). She teaches courses on Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist poetry, and Indian and Tibetan Buddhist tantric traditions.

Maud Pontel

Ms. Pontel immigrated to Quebec in 2001 to pursue graduate studies in social work at UQAM. Her academic and professional background has led her to work with the network of shelters for women victims of domestic violence and to take an interest in the issue from the point of view of intercultural relations. She has collaborated on the writing of several books and articles and trained hundreds of workers on the subject. Since 2008, she is the co-ordinator of the Multilingual Community Awareness Department of the Shield of Athena, a Montreal based non-profit organization for victims of family violence.

Mayur Sanmugam

Mayur is Director of Product Management at TATA Communications. He is an avid photographer and film enthusiast. A Sri Lankan Tamil, his life been shaped by his family’s reluctant migration to India and the struggle to find one’s identity away from home. Post-war Sri Lanka’s slow journey towards normalcy is particularly close to his heart.

Megha Sharma Sehdev

Megha Sharma Sehdev is an anthropologist specializing in gender, violence, and law. Working extensively in New Delhi, India, Megha has explored how intimacy comes to manifest in families, and how it appears after law enters the scene. She occasionally writes on art and is a photographer. She received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2018 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Anthropology at McGill University.

Rachel Berger

“Rachel Berger is Associate Professor of History & Fellow of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University. Her research engages the history of the body in India across a variety of fields, including health, food, gender/sexuality and practices of resistance.”

Raymonde Provencher

In the 1970s she worked on a number of television programs at Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec. In 1983, she was part of a team that created and developed Télé-Québec’s Nord-Sud television program, which soon became the province’s benchmark international news show. In 1995, Raymonde and two colleagues decided to form their own private production company: Macumba International, where she both directs and produce documentary films dedicated to social and political issues from all over the World.

Rekha Iyer

Rekha is currently Professor of Organic Chemistry at John Abbott. She holds masters degrees in Literature and Science. She was previously the President of Bharatiya Sangeetha Sangam, Montreal. In her younger days in Bangalore India, she was associated with Repertory Theatre, putting up plays of famous authors. She was active in bringing Satyajit Ray’s films to Montreal during her student days at Concordia.

Rock Demers

“Founder (in 1980) and President of “Les Productions La Fête” and creator of CONTES POUR TOUS, Rock Demers has been involved in all facets of cinema (critiquing, distribution, export, operation, production). In early 50’s, he co-founded the magazine Images and established many film clubs. In 1958, after having studied teaching, he quit the country in order to travel across Europe and Asia for two years. On return to Canada, he joined the team that had just established the International Film Festival of Montreal. He became its Director General from 1962 to 1967. He was one of the co-founders of Cinémathèque québécoise in 1963 and established Faroun Films in 1965. In 1968 he devoted himself to Faroun Films, whose distribution of films for the youth rapidly expanded to more than ten countries. With the export of the film Martien de Noël and other films, such as Les Mâles (Gilles Carle), La Vie rêvée (Mireille Dansereau) and Les Smattes (Jean-Claude Labrecque), Faroun Films became the most important ambassador abroad for the nascent film industry of Quebec. Thanks to the brilliant success of the initial CONTES POUR TOUS, whose exceptional quality was appreciated by the public and the critics (215 national and international awards in under 30 years), the collection now consists of 24 titles and has brought Rock Demers numerous prizes, both national and international, among which are Prix Albert Tessier (Quebec), Companion of the Order of Canada and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (France).”

Sabeena Shaikh

Sabeena Shaikh is a PhD student in the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University, working under the guidance of Professor Pasha Khan. She also teaches Hindi-Urdu language courses at McGill and is passionate about Urdu poetry and South Asian history. Her current research project explores the voices and subjectivities of courtesans from the early modern period of South Asia. Sabeena is currently working on an edition and translation of a divan written in the 19th century Deccan plateau.

Sandeep Banerjee

Sandeep Banerjee is Assistant Professor of English at McGill University and author of Space, Utopia and Indian Decolonization: Literary Pre-figurations of the Postcolony (Routledge, 2019). His areas of specialization include South Asian Anglophone literature and Bengali literature from the colonial and postcolonial eras.

Sarah K. Khan

“””Artist/scholar Sarah K. Khan, a two-time Fulbright recipient, creates multimedia content about food, culture, women, and migrants grounded in social justice. She is in post-production on an animated documentary about [Indian women farmers] with a brown shero narrator, Amrita Simla. The series intersects globalization, environmental degradation, gender, and race/caste discrimination in addition to the loss of biocultural, and culinary diversities. The first film in the series is entitled, [Bowing To No One]. She also creates global media content on [Migrant Kitchens] and relays the [stories of migrants], through the lens of food with photography, film, and data-driven maps.
Khan has built a solid body of multimedia work that focuses on women, migrants, biocultural and agricultural diversity and sustainability. Since 2013, she completed 14 short films, over 25 articles, and 13 data-driven maps as part of the Migrant Kitchen Series and people of color farmers’ series.
She earned a BA in Middle Eastern history and Arabic (Smith College), two Masters (public health and nutrition, Columbia University) and a Ph.D. (traditional ecological knowledge systems, plant sciences, New York Botanical Garden/CUNY). She has received grants and fellowships to pursue her study, research, photography and filmmaking. “””

Sarah Nafisa Shahid

Sarah Nafisa Shahid is a freelance writer from Dhaka, currently based in Montreal. She writes about the intersection of popular visual culture and politics in South Asia. Her work has appeared in Hyperallergic, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and The Daily Star, Bangladesh’s leading English-language newspaper.

Sarwat Viqar

Sarwat Viqar is a professor at John Abbot who has researched urban form in Karachi. She researches urban politics and everyday spatial practices in South Asian cities with a focus on Karachi. She has a PhD in Urban Studies/Anthropology. She teaches in the Humanities, Philosophy & Religion Department at John Abbott College in Montreal.

Shazia Javed

Shazia Javed is an award-winning, Indo-Canadian filmmaker living in Mississauga. She has directed with the National Film Board and her work has screened at prestigious film-festivals such as Hot Docs, DOXA, Global Visions and Durban International. Shazia’s work centers on underrepresented perspectives from her own communities. Her past works include Namrata, Can you hear me?, and WeSayKnow. Shazia has a M.A. in Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi; and a M.F.A in Film from York University, Toronto.

Sheetal Lodhia

Sheetal Lodhia has been working to foster relationships between academic institutions and the world-at-large, championing interdisciplinarity, collaboration and broad purchase for knowledge. She has a history of involvement in the media, education, nonprofit and social innovation sector, working with grassroots organizations, arts-education groups and policy organizations in strategic planning, community engagement and grant acquisition. A doctoral graduate in English Literature from Queen’s University, she has researched and taught in cultural studies, colonialism and critical race theory, Renaissance literature and history of medicine. She has produced radio documentaries and a film documentary short. Sheetal just completed her term as Executive Director of The Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas (IPLAI) at McGill University. She also founded Black Leg Productions, a company that is one-part creative production and one-part think tank. As a matter of course she writes, edits, reads, watches TV, games, crafts, noodles, teaches and harbours fantasies of becoming a pro-tennis player.

Syeda Nayab Bukhari

Syeda Nayab Bukhari earned her doctorate from the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University. She did her Masters in Journalism, MPhil in Mass Communications from Pakistan. Interested in analyzing race, class, gender vis-a-vis mainstream and ethnic media, she analyses lived experiences of minority ethnic communities in Canada. Her areas of interest include race, class and gender relations; immigration studies; ethnic media; and, gender and international development.

Thomas Waugh

Thomas Waugh is Professor Emeritus at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, where he taught for 40 years. His current book is I Confess: An Anthology of Original Essays on Constructing the Self Within the Third Sexual Revolution (forthcoming, McGill Queen’s University Press, co-edited with Brandon Arroyo). He will be co-teaching an intensive seminar “Images as Modes of Knowledge, Social Practice and Affect” at the National Institute of Technology, Silchar, Assam, in December.

Uzma Jamil

Dr Uzma Jamil is a Visiting Scholar at McGill University and also teaches in and directs the program in Muslim Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. Her research and teaching expertise is in Critical Muslim Studies, Islamophobia, racialization and whiteness, and the securitization of Muslims in the “war on terror” context. She has an interdisciplinary background in sociology, politics and postcolonial studies. She is a member of the Editorial Board of ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies.

Vaishali Sinha

Vaishali Sinha Co-Directed/Produced the feature documentary MADE IN INDIA about the personal stories behind the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers to India. The film premiered at Hot Docs Film Festival and aired on PBS in 2012. The film received several Jury awards at festivals and is currently a case study at Harvard Business School for their class on ethics. ASK THE SEXPERT is Vaishali’s second feature length documentary; a presentation by her company Coast to Coast Films. Originally from Mumbai, Vaishali now resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Yasmin Jiwani

Yasmin Jiwani is a feminist academic and activist. She is a full Professor at the department of Communication Studies at Concordia University and holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Intersectionality, Violence & Resistance In her research, she examines the intersectionality of race and gender in media narratives of violence against women and representations of racialized peoples.

Zahra Sabri

Zahra Sabri is a doctoral student in Mughal history and Indo-Muslim literatures at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. She has taught History and Urdu literature at the Aga Khan University and the University of Karachi’s Pakistan Study Centre. She is a literary translator and has translated folk and classical poetry for nine seasons of the music programme Coke Studio. She has also worked as a journalist for the Herald magazine, DAWN.

Zinnia Naqvi

“Zinnia Naqvi is a visual artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her work uses a combination of photography, video, writings, archival footage and installation. Naqvi’s practice questions the relationship between authenticity and narrative, while dealing with larger themes of post-colonialism, cultural translation, language, and gender. Her works often invite the viewer to question her process and working methods. Naqvi’s works have been shown across Canada and internationally. She recently received an honorable mention at the 2017 Karachi Biennale in Pakistan and was an Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of EMILIA-AMALIA Working Group.”