a few words about

my research & work

I am a scholar-activist working to understand the ‘geographies of violence’  from a postcolonial feminist and transnational intersectionality frame. Here,
‘geographies of violence’ refers to the ways in which violence takes shape, manifests, changes, and maps across various spatial and temporal planes. The objectives of this research are to gain a deeper understanding of the ways violence, particularly violence against women, is produced, formed, authorized, and legitimized over a vast continuum of scales from the body—including sexualities, discursive space, and materialized carnal fabrics—to transnational structures. My academic work has been published in journals such as Human Geography: A New Radical Journal, and accepted for presentation at multiple venues globally. Adopting a multilayered perspective to critical theory as transcending any one ‘field’ or area of expertise, my point of departure is vast and borrows from social and political theory, cultural/human geography, feminist & women’s studies, and critical political economic thought.

current research

This research project is situated at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, and is funded by the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth. I have been engaged in the analysis of Women’s Police Stations in India, and the mechanisms through which they increase reporting of sexual violence, domestic abuse, and other gendered human rights abuses. The question of the project is focused on—how do we reach and provide justice to populations who are not physically disengaged, but are culturally, socially, and domestically disengaged from protective infrastructure?

Quantitative and qualitative research project with the goal to understand, analyze, and map out the different tools of oppression throughout history from a sociological, feminist, and political perspective; with the aim of teasing out the practical similarities and differences, as well as theoretical and conceptual frames through which oppression manifests itself, such as modern states, social norms, “common sense”, power relations, education infrastructure, and police/legal institutions at the Centre for Critical Development Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough.

Analysis of the mechanisms through which the “Real World of Technology” has shaped current understandings of the positive and negative externalities that technology presents in development; and the processes through which technology is reproduced in contemporary understandings of surveillance capitalism and feminist techno-science literature; through the Faculty of Information at UofT and the McLuhan Centre for Culture & Technology.

Partnering with the Digital Fabrication Laboratory and ITESO’s Center for High Impact Social Innovation (CISAI) in Mexico to understand the multiple axis through which violence permeates and imbues within the social cycle and lifetime of youth in Guadalajara; particular focus is on cartel violence in the region of Jalisco. Key deliverables of the project include: (i) research the state of social networks and activity hubs in fostering community engagement in the FabLab; (ii) research mechanisms for social network optimization to better reach those most vulnerable in the surrounding community; (iii) assist in developing a social network optimization campaign; and (iv) continue developing metrics to calculate the costs to reach the hardest to reach.

My focus as a feminist oral historian is on spatializing intersectionality and gauging an understanding of how the body is both a site for which multiple oppressions merge and collide, and a location to archive & document women’s history through storytelling. This project has focused on understanding survival as resistance, everyday forms of protest, and embodied forms of knowledge and knowers. Oral histories have been conducted in North America, Latin America, Middle East, and South East Asia; currently executing, preserving & archiving women’s stories. If you would like to be a part of this project and have your oral history archived, please connect with me: kanishka.sikri@mail.utoronto.ca

speaking & oral engagements

Any work that fundamentally challenges the crux and core features through which our lives are systematically manufactured and authorized to aid, abide, and uphold our colonial capitalist supremacist patriarchy, is bound to get criticism, censorship, and extreme, oftentimes threatening backlash. I am lucky however, to have found, and oftentimes had others find me, who value this dialogue. In one of the first teach-in’s I had, I spoke about such discussion as “a space of reciprocal dialogue and intentional sisterhood that forced wide open the political nature of our seemingly apolitical lives”. I find that sentiment and description to echo through my work, regardless of its audience at a university, college, high school, consciousness raising group, teach-in, protest, march, rally, or strike.

Whether it be disentangling the ways structural violence manifests in intimate relations and codifies sexualities today, examining the multifaceted nature of labour and its de-legitimization at multiple axis of race, gender, and class relations, or (un)learning how our notions of freedom and liberation are intimately entangled with our socialization and grooming within unjust structures, I not only strive to make salient the matrixes of power as they operate by and through our day to day lives, but attend to offer insights and engage in situated dialogue that attempts to transgress, protest, oppose, and transfigure these relations so that we not only free ourselves, but us all.

While majority of my speaking engagements are based on my current research projects and community-based participatory initiatives, they are tailored for the specific climate, environment, and individual/collective needs that you and yours may hold. Recent workshops and speeches (I seldom call them as such because these “speeches” are intentional manifestos and calls to action), include focal points from a postcolonial feminist and transnational intersectionality lens, attentive to the geographies and spatiality of violence.