We acknowledge and bring emphasis to how this journal is created on unceded Coast Salish Territory; the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Kwikwetlem Nations. We recognize that as creators of an intersectional feminist journal, this production is not complete without Indigenous perspectives and voices, and as such, we also acknowledge that we have not challenged settler colonialism throughout this journal in the ways we had initially intended. While there is no simple or easy way to do this, we have still attempted to add our voices to the larger conversation that works to challenge the ongoing colonialist practices in our societies.
In the corners of the internet, there is a revolution growing.
An intersectional apocalypse is about to happen.
The invisible will become visible, travelling a million megabits per second.
Feel the wires buzzing, vibrating, signalling?
Yeah. That is us. And we are coming.
“Digital Dialogues: Navigating Online Spaces” is the inaugural issue of Intersectional Apocalypse, a student-produced open access journal that aims to discuss the numerous intersecting experiences one can have in a world that is far from utopian. Through digital dialogues, this issue aims to open up a conversation about the ways in which marginalized individuals navigate the online world, the impacts this virtual space can have on their bodies, and the limitless possibilities these intertwining worlds create.
In creating this journal, we aspired to highlight particular voices and amplify perspectives that are often unheard and unseen, in particular, those of queer, disabled, and/or racialized individuals. We felt that by bringing attention to these marginalized experiences, we could work to disturb the often dismissive assumptions of dominant white settler society. Additionally, looking at the complex and specific ways in which power operates allows us to gain insight into the impacts of the online world as parsed through an intersectional lens.
This image is a zine that was created collaboratively to map our journey of producing the Intersectional Apocalypse journal. The word “Mapping” is written on an unmarked map, with a dotted line connecting it to the words “Intersectional Apocalypse.” Below are two orchids with the words “An intersectional apocalypse is about to happen” laid overtop. The entire piece is set on a pink and gold nebula background.
Intersectionality, a term coined by African American scholar and civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw, marks an attentiveness to the ways in which privilege and oppression operate in a matrix: complex, overlapping, and ever-changing (Crenshaw, 1989). Intersectionality is a lens which illustrates how multiple forms of discrimination and oppression can shape each person’s reality in different ways, and can call attention to the ways in which single-issue politics can often fall short of meaningful change (Dzodan, 2011). For example, an individual's age, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual identity, religion, geographical location, and socioeconomic status all play a role in what reality they live in (to learn more, see Crenshaw’s TED Talk). Understanding the ways in which the internet – a seemingly virtual and “unreal” space – impacts our lives, our bodies, and the physical environment we live in, is imperative in also coming to terms with our own positions in the networked world that has been built.
This watercolour painting, “Transcendental,” is part of the Mindfulness Expressions collection by Queenie Wong. It is composed of colours of soft rose, red, purplish, and numerous hues of blues, ranging from deep royal to baby blue. Additionally, yellow, coral, tangerine, peach, orange, lavender, and cyan come together and overlap, creating shades of colour in-between. The captivating imagery can be interpreted to show how one can view the world through an intersectional lens.
Unpacking the nature of our “digital dialogues” reminds us that the internet is a symbol of compact complexity. It is the small face of infinite, invisible branching wires of inequality, privilege, censorship, freedom, stagnation, change, exploitation, exploration, and at its core, is always about tucking away the truth of its messiness. This issue, with its small aims and its few resources, cannot come close to truly unpacking these complexities, problematics, and questions, but instead explores the possibilities that those at the edges of power make with the opportunities that they have available to them.
Let us have a digital dialogue
Because no one else wants to hear from me.
I am everything the world did not want me to be.
Through the online world, I exist as I am.
This issue, “Digital Dialogues,” explores the complexities of marginalized experiences online; produced by passionate, diverse and creative writers and artists. As the producers of this journal, we have observed that our contributors share experiences in the personal ways their bodies have been politicized and shaped by the internet. Each author and collaborator reflects on and shares their unique voice and experiences through expressive, artistic, and written materials. You will find academic pieces, a short film, personal engagements with artworks and collages, zine pieces, poetry, a website, and personal writing entries.
The art above is connected to the zine, “The Good Indian Daughter” created by an anonymous contributor to this issue. The portion of this zine features an image of a queer Indian woman with the words “The Good Indian Daughter” covering her eyes, while part of an illustrated laptop appears in the corner.
The first piece is our issue, “The Good Indian Daughter,” is a zine created by a queer Indian immigrant artist who would like to remain anonymous (2018). This art piece is about the good Indian daughter researching information regarding abortions through the internet. Along the way, she comes across Pro-Life and Pro-Choice discussions, reproductive justice discussions, and finally, the Elizabeth Bagshaw Women’s Clinic. The internet can be a helpful tool in assisting women in finding information about abortions and where to find abortion clinics. In addition, it can be a dark and lonely place for women looking for abortion information, and so in this way, the internet shaped the landscape of the good Indian daughter's abortion experience.
In a personal poem, “Young Girl” (2018), Melissa Wong tells the story of a young girl living in a westernized society who feels pressured by the beauty standards she is constantly faced with through social media and traditional media. The poet expresses the psychological and physical impacts this can have on a young girl’s mind and body from the way societal norms on the internet have shaped her relationship with her body.
This image is a portion of the erasure poetry piece, "the first man for me" by Heather Prost. Two words “strange” and “boundaries” are placed in the corner and surrounded by black and gold pen, blacking out the other words on the page underneath.
Next, the visual poem “the first man for me” was designed and submitted by queer writer and multimedia visual artist Heather Prost (2018). Her piece makes use of erasure poetry, a form of creation which removes portions of a pre-existing text to reveal a new story. The art piece captures the resiliency of the #MeToo movement taking place around the world today.
Following this, the article “Mitigating the Legal Grey Area of Amateur Naked Picture Distribution in Canada” by Taylor M. Wagner (2018), addresses the issues of ownership and property rights regarding the creation and distribution of pornographic images through online and visual technologies. The author provides a thorough analysis of the issue of ownership and distribution and proposes policy actions and reinforcements to improve the structure of relevant organizations. Wagner’s analysis communicates the implications of their research and directs their arguments to policymakers.
In “Teachers Integrating Technology: Sometimes, They Don’t” (2018), teacher-in-training Juliana Q offers a scathing, tongue-in-cheek critique of the education field. While its initial focus is to snarkily scold educators for their reluctance to utilize online communities, the article also explores the impacts of a teaching force devoid of diversity and uncovers the true personality of the educational structure.
This art piece created by Naiya Tsang is composed of purplish-pinkish branching lines with purple circular shapes at their ends, drawn on a gray surface.
The next piece, The Concussion Collective, is a website created by Naiya Tsang (2018) which incorporates a mix of personal narrative and disability theory to illustrate the social and physical impacts concussions can have on diverse individuals. The written engagement in this issue explores the praxis behind the creation of the website, including Tsang’s own experience with concussions, the theory she draws on, and her aims for the project in the future.
Following on this, Ian Liujia Tian’s “Diasporic Blaming, or the (Im) Possibility of Speaking” (2018) begins with a recounting of an incident in which two lesbians were caned in Malaysia, and unsettles the acts of online blaming that were carried out by members of the queer diasporic community living in the “West.” Tian questions the effectiveness and unintended consequences of these posts, arguing that without unpacking the residual/ongoing colonialism and material precarities engendered by processes of global capitalism, the act of “diasporic blaming” may render members of queer “third-world” populations silent. Furthermore, Tian argues that such blaming can reinforce settler/orientalist homonationalist projects in the U.S. and Canada, in which white sexualities are branded as modern and exceptional and “third-world”/Indigenous sexualities are branded as backwards and waiting to be enlightened.
This image is captured from the video “Un Sueño Hecho Realidad,” and features Ale Gonzalez applying makeup at her makeup table, awash in bright pink light.
Finally, “Un Sueño Hecho Realidad” is a video by Ale Gonzalez (2018) who is a queer, nonbinary trans womxn of Honduran (Mestiza and Asian) descent whose work explores themes of sexuality, gender, diaspora and Honduran & Central American identity. This piece visually illustrates the complexities of growing up as an individual who was assigned male at birth and of her experiences of feeling a disconnect from her family and culture. The feeling of disconnect was further reinforced as Gonzalez was not allowed to participate and experience specific cultural traditions, such as a Quinceañera because of her assigned gender. In spite of this, this piece focuses on the normalization of trans-Honduran womxnhood as something to be loved, protected, cherished and celebrated.
I have been invisible for so long, in a world that was not created for me.
I am a warrior in the Intersectional Apocalypse.
This painting, “Sunny Day” is part of the Mindfulness Expressions collection by Queenie Wong. The splatter of watercolour paint is ascending from the bottom left of the picture to the top right, coming together to create what may be seen as an abstract flower. The deep red, royal blue, purple and orange colours of this painting are concentrated in the centre and fan into colours of yellow, green, light blue, faint orange, and a bit of red.
As producers of this journal, we wanted to highlight the process behind its creation, as we believe that the specific decisions made to create the final product matter. Our process was highly collaborative and strived to be considerate of contributors and readers, stressing how important it was to us for our collaborators to feel safe while voicing their opinions in an open space. We drew on the notion of consent as a collaborative concept, as highlighted by Moya Bailey, to ensure participants of journals and research are given the opportunity to say “no” during a collaboration (Bailey, 2015). As a non-hierarchical journal, all contributors were aware of their participation options and were given the opportunities to disagree, ask questions, and say “no” at any given time. As a collective effort to create something new, it was vital to build trust and support each other throughout the process.
This painting, “Sunrise,” is from Queenie Wong’s Mindfulness Collection. The splatters of paint in this image take on shapes including teardrops, lines, ovals, circles and other abstract shapes. The colours throughout this piece are red, midnight blue, cadet blue, light blue, yellow, and purple.
In our call for papers, we aimed to challenge the domination of English in academia by gathering the languages in our classroom and explicitly stating that we would accept submissions in English, French, Polish, Hindi, Punjabi, and Spanish - though we received pieces primarily in English. We also mentioned that we would be happy to email contributors the work of the theorists we had cited, as we recognized that access to academic work can come with a steep price tag (Larivière et al., 2015) We decided our peer review process would be open and collaborative and primarily completed by the contributors of the journal, hoping to spark conversations and connections between contributors, as opposed to the traditional “double-blind” peer review process (to learn more, see Risam, 2014, Pontille and Torny, 2014, and Jackson, 2014 ).
The audio version of the introduction and all the submitted pieces is an integral aspect of the journal, meant to further expand its accessibility in the sensory realm. The captions of all our images have been written into the introduction to bring attention to the numerous ways in which information can be created and accessed, and the ways in which perspectives can shift when knowledge is translated from one form to another (Kleege, 2016).
Additionally, in writing this introduction, we wanted to include non-traditional forms of knowledge creation such as paintings, poetry, photographs, and zines, along with a recognition of the theorists and pieces that have informed our practice throughout the production of this journal. In particular, we wanted to highlight the work of Queenie Wong, an artist, Youtuber, and clinical researcher in Psychiatry who creates paintings inspired by “philosophies from mindfulness and art therapy for personal healing” (Wong, N.d). We felt that these paintings enhance the experience of the introduction by providing abstract and therapeutic explosions of colour and creativity.
“Calypso,” from the Mindfulness Collection by Queenie Wong, is a watercolour painting which displays an abstract mix of warm reds and oranges on the left, and colder blues and aquas on the right branching out in feathery strokes in opposite directions.
Ideas of access are at the core of this intersectional feminist journal, this digital-focused issue, and the materiality of the content we have produced. In a world and a time in which knowledge itself is constantly growing and transforming, attending to the nuances and implications of differential access is paramount. Being open access as a journal, meaning that one does not need to attend a university or pay large amounts of money in order to access its content, is central to the praxis behind the production of this journal (Larivière et al., 2015). For example, our Non-Commercial Creative Commons copyright status maintains ownership for the authors while ensuring that their work is not appropriated for commercial use without their approval, inspired by conversations about open access by theorists and activists such as Aaron Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” and Meredith Kahn’s “Open Access as Feminist Praxis” infographic, among many others (see references for more information). Yet this does not tell the entire story, such as how ideologies of knowledge as “open” have facilitated the theft of knowledge from Indigenous communities and nations both in the past and present. We have thus also included a Traditional Knowledge Commons option for authors who would like to limit their work to certain communities or individuals and to provide room for Indigenous knowledge management systems (see Christen, 2012 and Nagel, 2013 for more information).
Beyond this, however, it is important to acknowledge that accessibility is an ongoing and never-complete process of contending for physical, intellectual, cultural, linguistic, and multiple other forms of access (Ellcessor, 2015). Integral to this is the lack of access for many individuals that has been created through colonialism and imperialism (Christen, 2012, p. 2881). While we did not want to simply include Indigenous voices in a tokenistic manner, nor did we want to demand uncompensated labour in order to primarily fulfill our own ends and desires, there are still myriad ways in which this issue could have better challenged the dominant narratives of colonialism and nationalism. In the future, we hope to meaningfully challenge the ways in which settler colonialism still operates on Turtle Island and worldwide. We want to bring attention to the histories and current configurations of power imbalances on these lands and truly challenge the assumptions, injustices, and exploitative practices that continue to disadvantage Indigenous peoples at the expense of settler colonialists. This is not just a metaphor or a box we want to check off. This is a reflection of the truth of how far we have not come.
The image above is from NASA's Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes. The image showcases the Orion nebula in an eruption of “infrared, ultraviolet and visible-light colours” (Nasa 2006). This image can also represent a metaphor for intersectionality. The colours and stars work to symbolize the cosmic energy we all possess as we navigate the intersectional apocalypse together.
We would like to thank our contributors: without their work, this journal would not have been possible. It takes immense energy and time to produce work to share with others. We acknowledge the emotional and mental labour that is required and involved in being a creator.
We would also like to thank the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department at Simon Fraser University and independent donors Donna Lee and The Village Bloomery, who contributed financially to Intersectional Apocalypse. This funding was used to provide our contributors with honorariums, which we felt was an important part of acknowledging the labour that goes into creating, challenging the way in which academic journals often do not compensate their contributors.
Many thanks to the Public Knowledge Project and Open Journal Systems Software, and specifically to Associate Director with the Public Knowledge Project Kevin Stranack. We would also like to thank our wonderful guest speakers: artist and activist Xavier Aguirre Palacios, storyteller and writer Ivan Coyote, Digital Scholarship Librarian Kate Shuttleworth, GSWS PhD candidate and Research Assistant Shahar Shapira, University Copyright Officer and Research Repository Coordinator Donald Taylor, Professor of Archaeology and Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Director George Nicholas, the Vancouver Public Library Staff Jessie, and Zine Workshop Coordinator Heather Prost for enriching our learning process and expanding our understandings of the publishing and knowledge production worlds.
We are extremely grateful for the beautiful and breathtaking work by Queenie Wong (also known as Coco Bee on Instagram and Facebook at cocobeeart, and at www.cocobeeart.com), NASA for the Orion Nebula image, Navi Rai for creating the zine at the beginning of the introduction, and the many theorists and activists who inspired the work in this issue and introduction.
Finally, we would like to recognize the bonds and alliances we formed while working on this journal, as we believe there is great importance in building friendship and trust when performing feminist collaboration. Additionally, we are very thankful for the individuals in our personal lives who provided emotional and other support for each of us, including our partners, cats and other organisms, parents, and friends.
Intersectional Apocalypse: Digital Dialogues was produced by Maki Cairns, Kaiya Jacob, Sarah McCarthy, Ela Przybylo, Navi Rai, Sam Robinson, Isaac Torres, Naiya Tsang, and Kayla Uren.
Bailey, M. (2015). #transform(ing) DH writing and research: An autoethnography of digital humanities and feminist ethics. DHQ:Digital Humanities Quarterly, 9(2). Retrieved from http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/9/2/000209/000209.html
Bold, M. R. (2017). Why diverse zines matter: A case study of the people of color zines project. Publishing Research Quarterly 33(3), 215-228. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/y8ttzwnw
cárdenas, m. (2015). Shifting futures: Digital trans of color praxis. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology (6). Retrieved from https://adanewmedia.org/2015/01/issue6-cardenas/
Christen, K. (2012). Does information really want to be free? Indigenous knowledge systems and the question of openness. International Journal Of Communication, 6. Retrieved from http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/1618
Combahee River Collective. (1977). A black feminist statement. In C. Moraga and G. Anzaldúa (Eds.), This bridge called my back: Writings by radical women of color (210-218). Albany: Suny Press. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/y7sm92ng
Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241. doi:10.2307/1229039
Dzodan, F. (2011). My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit. Retrieved from http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/1 0/10/my-feminism-will-be-intersectional-or-it-will-be-bullshit/
Ellcessor, E. (2016). Interrogating and integrating access. Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation, 1-28. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/yb7crvxj
Kleege, G. (2016). Audio description described. Representations, 135, 89-100.
Licona, A. C. (2012). Borderlands rhetorics and third‐space sites. Zines in Third Space: Radical Cooperation and Borderlands Rhetoric, 1-25. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from https://tinyurl.com/yd4n8ny3
Lorde, A. (1984). The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Sister outsider: Essays and speeches, 110-113. Retrieved from https://www.muhlenberg.edu/media/contentassets/pdf/campuslife/SDP% 20Reading%20Lorde.pdf
Loza, S. (2014). Hashtag feminism, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and the other #FemFuture. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, 5. Retrieved from https://adanewmedia.org/2014/07/issue5-loza/
McLaughlin, L. (2014). Feminist journal editing: Does this job include benefits? Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, (4). Retrieved from https://adanewmedia.org/2014/04/issue4-mclaughlin/
NASA (2006, November 7). Chaos at the heart of orion [Photograph found in Trapezium, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California]. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/spitzer/multimedia/pia01322.html
Nagar, R., Aslan, Ö., Hasan, N. Z., Rahemtullah, O. S., Upadhyay, N., and Uzun, B. (2016). Feminisms, collaborations, friendships: A conversation. Feminist Studies, 42(2), 502-519. Retrieved from https://quote.ucsd.edu/sed/files/2017/05/FeministStudies42-2-Nagar-interview-1.pdf
Nagel, M. (2013). OAJ and Wagadu: Towards a diamond model of feminist, postcolonial publishing. TripleC: Communication, 11(2), 598-603. https://doi.org/10.31269/triplec.v11i2.527
Senier, S. (2015). Decolonizing the archive: Digitizing native literature with students and tribal communities. A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 1(3). Retrieved from http://www.resiliencejournal.org/ wp-content/uploads/2014/09/1.3_senier.pdf
Swartz, A. (2008, July). Guerilla open access manifesto. Retrieved from https://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt
Wong, Q. (2017). [Photograph found in Mindfulness Expressions, © 2017 Queenie Wong, Toronto]. Retrieved from www.cocobeeart.com/about-1