acrosby


Alison D Crosby

Photo of Alison D Crosby

School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

Associate Professor

Office: Kaneff Tower, 851
Phone: (416)736-2100 Ext: 66340
Email: acrosby@yorku.ca


My research focuses on anti-racist feminist contestations of histories of militarized, colonial, and imperial violence, and in particular, how we understand survivors’ protagonism in struggles for redress, and the claiming, narration and performance of memory that challenges the hegemonic.

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I am particularly interested in the relational condition of violence and its aftermath, drawing on the work of Das, Kleinman and Martín-Baró, among others, who emphasize the nature of suffering as deeply social, collective, and historical, rather than exclusively or even primarily individual. How do those who experience violence resist and transform its structures and strictures, in relation to others? What does it mean to be defined by one’s story of being a victim of war, and in particular, to be defined by one’s story of sexual harm? And who exactly gets to define such experience? I problematize the boundaries between action and research, between insiders and outsiders, and between the local and the transnational, as situated within histories of colonizing forms of knowledge production. Much of my research takes place in Guatemala, where I have been working for over 25 years in various articulations of activism and research. My work is also transnational; for example, I am interested in how stories of harm are stories that travel within international human rights regimes such as the violence against women paradigm.

Degrees

PhD, York University
MES, York University
BA (Hons) (Cantab), University of Cambridge

Professional Leadership

2014-19 Director, Centre for Feminist Research, York University
2017-18 Chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant Adjudication Committee 16, Communications, Media Studies, Gender Studies, Library and Information Science
2014-17 Member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant Adjudication Committee #4A, Communications, Media Studies, Gender Studies, Library and Information Science

Community Contributions

2009-present. Member of the Advisory Board of the international organization Impunity Watch

Research Interests

Gender Issues , Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Transitional Justice, Memory and memorialization, Transnational, anti-racist and anti-colonial feminisms , Feminist participatory action research

Current Research Projects

Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues

    Summary:

    How colonial, imperial, militarized and state violence are remembered and memorialized—through, for example, memorials, museums, archives, performances, and art installations—are sites of constant contestation and anxiety. Questions of who and what gets remembered or forgotten, whose loss mourned and grieved, and how, what kinds of memorialization processes are assigned cultural value and how others are made absent, are shaped by racially gendered histories, ideologies, subjectivities and imaginaries. They also emerge within and are shaped by–sometimes in resistance to–transnational relations, discourses, ideologies, market flows, border controls, migration patterns, legal frameworks, media culture and more. Invoking a broad, critical and intersectional understanding of the transnational that attends to the particularities of place-based struggles and difference experiences as the grounds from which to explore connections, similarities and coalitional possibilities within, across and through borders and contexts, this project centrally asks what a transnational feminist lens might reveal about the space of remembrance and memorialization. Simultaneously, it seeks to explore what the lens of memory and memorialization may conversely illuminate about our transnational feminist engagements, scholarly, artistic, activist and otherwise.

    Description:

    Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues brings together feminist scholars from a wide range of contexts and disciplinary perspectives to explore the transnational dimensions of how we collectively remember and memorialize violence. Through events, workshops, publications and an interactive digital archive, we foster critical dialogue, collaboration and research innovation in feminist memory studies.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Jan   Year: 2019

    End Date:
      Month: Dec   Year: 2021

    Collaborator: Malathi de Alwis, Heather Evans, Honor Ford-Smith, Shahrzad Mojab and Carmela Murdocca
    Funders:
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    York University
    University of Toronto
The Inhabitance of Loss: A transnational feminist project on memorialization

    Summary:

    This project uses a transnational feminist lens to examine when and how survivor-led initiatives to memorialize loss in Guatemala and Sri Lanka create new articulations of agency, voice and community within and across national borders.The project is a collaborative initiative with Sri Lankan cultural anthropologist Dr. Malathi de Alwis, along with Maya k’iche’ anthropologist Dr. Irma Alicia Velasquez Nimatuj, and Heather Evans (PhD student, York University).

    Description:

    Guatemala and Sri Lanka have each endured decades of armed conflict that have had and will continue to have devastating effects on generations. How these wars are remembered and memorialized—through such devices as memorials, monuments, tombstones, archives, photographs, murals and art installations—are sites of constant contestation and anxiety. Memorialization practices are embedded in postwar relationships between and among individuals, communities and the state that are fraught and fractured, and laced with grief and anger about the lived experiences of violence and loss, victory and defeat. They also present an opportunity for survivors to (re)inhabit loss, to mobilize grief to create a new form of political community. Memorialization practices have transnational dimensions; the traveling of gendered racialized memorializing tropes, signs, claims, and power relations across borders informs and shapes how and by whom the experience of violence is represented and redressed. The project explores the place-making potential of memorialization initiatives by survivors in Guatemala and Sri Lanka and the organizations who accompany them, including the search for disappeared loved ones, and the struggle for redress for racialized gendered violence, including sexual violence. We also examine how the Sri Lankan and Guatemalan states and militaries have memorialized their wars.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2014

    End Date:
      Month: Mar   Year: 2019

    Collaborator: Malathi de Alwis
    Collaborator Institution: Open University, Sri Lanka
    Collaborator Role: Research Collaborator

    Funders:
    SSHRC

    See more
    Collaborator: Dr. Malathi de Alwis
    Collaborator Institution: Imperial Institute of Higher Education
    Collaborator Role: co-Principal Investigator

    Funders:
    International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Understanding women’s struggles for justice, healing and redress: A study of gender and reparation in postwar Guatemala

    Summary:

    This eight-year feminist action research project examined a group of Mayan women’s collective struggle for justice in the aftermath of harm suffered during the height of Guatemala’s genocidal violence in the early 1980s, a harm these protagonists contend is irreparable yet must be redressed. The project was a collaboration with Professor M. Brinton Lykes (Boston College), along with research partner the National Union of Guatemalan Women (UNAMG). Crosby and Lykes co-authored the book Beyond repair? Mayan women's protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm (Rutgers University Press, 2019), published in Spanish as Más allá de la reparación: Protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida (Cholsamaj, 2019; translated by Megan Thomas).

    Description:

    In Beyond repair? Alison Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes explore a group of Mayan women’s collective struggle for justice in the aftermath of harm suffered during the height of Guatemala’s genocidal violence in the early 1980s, a harm these protagonists contend is irreparable yet must be redressed. Drawing on eight years of feminist participatory action research (PAR), the book examines how Mayan women’s protagonism has been shaped through dialogic interactions with intermediaries, including Mayan, ladina, mestiza and transnational activists, feminists, lawyers, psychologists, interpreters, and the authors as researchers. Crosby and Lykes trace how intermediaries accompanied Mayan protagonists in the performance of a “community of women” outside of their local geographic communities, as a space from which to enact actions for redress and engage in knowledge co-construction. In analyzing protagonists’ engagement with a Tribunal of Conscience, a paradigmatic legal case of sexual violence as a crime against humanity and a state-sponsored National Reparations Program—actions framed as “transitional justice”—as well as the authors’ PAR process, the book addresses a central tension between indigenous struggles to redress social suffering rooted in structural colonial violence and dispossession, and the tendency of Western rights-based regimes to individuate acts of harm and generate racialized gendered spectacles of pain and suffering, accentuated in cases of sexual harm. Crosby and Lykes consider the challenges and possibilities of decolonial feminist research praxis within such terrain.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2009

    End Date:
      Month: Oct   Year: 2013

    Collaborator: Professor M. Brinton Lykes
    Collaborator Institution: Boston College
    Collaborator Role: Research Collaborator

    Funders:
    Standard Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
    International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

    See more
Books

Publication
Year

Crosby, Alison and Lykes, M. Brinton (2019). Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. 282 pages. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. [co-authored monograph]

2019

Crosby, Alison y Lykes, M. Brinton (por salir, julio 2019), Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Guatemala: Cholsamaj. [co-authored monograph]

2019

Book Chapters

Publication
Year

Távara, Gabriela, M. Brinton Lykes & Alison Crosby (2020). De pie en el medio: Las prácticas de sanación de las mujeres mayas intermediarias después del genocidio en Guatemala. Costa, G.E. & Etchezahar, E. (eds.). Diversidad, Identidad, & Derechos. Buenos Aires, AR: Ediciones de la UNLZ, pp. 179-224.

2020

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Fabienne Doiron (2019). Contestaciones afectivas: Involucrando las emociones en el juicio Sepur Zarco. In Macleod, M. & N. De Marinis (eds.), Comunidades emocionales: Resistiendo a las violencias. Mexico & Colombia: UAM-X, y ICANH, pp.185-208.

2019

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Fabienne Doiron (2018). Affective Contestations: Engaging Emotion Through the Sepur Zarco Trial. In Resisting Violence: Emotional Communities in Latin America . Edited by Morna Macleod and Natalia De Marinis. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.163-185.

2018

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Brisna Caxaj (2018). Carrying a heavy load: Mayan women’s understanding of reparation in the aftermath of genocide. In Guatemala: The question of genocide. Edited by Elizabeth Oglesby and Diane Nelson. London and New York: Routledge, pp.129-148 (is also forthcoming in Spanish).

2018

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2015), Creative Methodologies as a Resource for Mayan Women’s Protagonism. In Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding . Edited by Brandon Hamber & Elizabeth Gallagher. Switzerland: Springer International Publications, pp. 147-186. (Also published in Spanish.)

2015

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2015). Participatory Action Research as a Resource for Community Regeneration in Post-Conflict Contexts. In Methodologies in Peace Psychology: Peace Research by Peaceful Means . Edited by Diane Bretherton and Siew Fang Low. Switzerland: Springer International Publications, pp. 237-254.

2015

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2015). Metodologías creativas como recurso para el protagonismo de mujeres Mayas. In Investigaciones en Psicología Social . Edited by G. L. Costa & E. Etchezahar. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la UNLZ, pp.71-120.

2015

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2014), Feminist Practice of Action and Community Research. In Feminist Research Practice: A Primer (Second Edition). Edited by Sharlene Hesse-Biber. Thousand Oaks: SAGE publications, pp.145-181.

2014

Blacklock, Cathy and Crosby, Alison (2004). “The Sounds of Silence: Feminist Research Across Time in Guatemala.” In Sites of Violence: Gender and Identity in Conflict Zones. Edited by Wenona Giles and Jennifer Hyndman. Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 45-72.

2004

Crosby, Alison (1999). "To Whom Shall the Nation Belong? The Gender and Ethnic Dimensions of Refugee Return and Struggles for Peace in Guatemala." In Alan Simmons and Liisa North (eds), Journeys of Fear: Refugee Return and National Transformation in Guatemala. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, pp. 176-195.

1999

Book Reviews

Publication
Year

2009. Review of Reckoning: The Ends of War in Guatemala by Diane M Nelson, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 34, 68: 242-245.

2009

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

Távara, Gabriela, M. Brinton Lykes & Alison Crosby (2018): Standing in Between: The Healing Praxis of Mayan Women Intermediaries in Post-Genocide Guatemala, Women & Therapy ,41:1-2, 20-51. DOI: 10.1080/02703149.2017.1323477 (published online June 9, 2017).

2018

Crosby, Alison, Lykes, M. Brinton and Caxaj, Brisna (2016). Carrying a Heavy Load: Mayan Women's Understandings of Reparation in the Aftermath of Genocide. Journal of Genocide Research, 18:2-3, pp.265-283.

2016

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2014). Creativity as Intervention Strategy in Feminist and Psychosocial Accompaniment Processes with Mayan Women Survivors in Guatemala. Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas , 12 (1): 30-42.

2014

Crosby, Alison and Lykes, M. Brinton (2011). Mayan women survivors speak: The gendered relations of truth-telling in postwar Guatemala. International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol. 5, pp.456-476. (Also available in Spanish from the authors.)

2011

Crosby, Alison (2009). “Anatomy of a Workshop: Women’s Struggles for Transformative Participation in Latin America.” Feminism & Psychology, 19 (3): 343-353.

2009

Crosby, Alison (2007). “People on the Move: Challenging migration categorization.” Development 50 (4). December, pp.44-49.

2007

Crosby, Alison (2007). “The Boundaries of Belonging: Reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century.” Refugee Watch: A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration. Vol. 29, June, pp.31-53 (also available in French and Spanish from www.interpares.ca).

2007

Crosby, Alison (2000). “Return to the Nation: The Organizational Challenges Confronted by Guatemalan Refugee Women.” Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees. Vol. 19 (3), pp.32-37.

2000

Conference Papers

Publication
Year

May 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Justice-in-translation: Redressing racialized gendered harm in postgenocide Guatemala. Paper presented at the Latin America Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Boston.

2019

October 2019. Trans/national contestations: Memorializing sexual harm in postgenocide Guatemala. Paper presented at conference Reclaiming Justice: Memory and Memorialization of Violence, Department of Equity Studies, University of Toronto.

2019

May 2019. Unmapping protagonism: Agency in the aftermath of racialized gendered harm . Presented at symposium The Importance of Labelling in Transitional Justice. Centre for Transitional Justice, Western University.

2019

May 2018. Trans/national contestation: Memorializing sexual harm in postgenocide Guatemala . Presented at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Barcelona, Spain.

2018

May 2017 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Affective contestations: Engaging emotion in feminist research in postgenocide Guatemala. Presented at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Lima, Peru.

2017

May 2016 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Witnessing harm: Intermediary roles in accompanying Mayan women survivors of sexual violence in Guatemala. Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, New York.

2016

May 2015 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Constructing knowledge at the interstices of community: Feminist participatory action research with Mayan and mestiza protagonists in Guatemala. Presented at Latin American Studies Associate Conference Precaridades, exclusiones, emergenicas , San Juan, Puerto Rico.

2015

June 2015 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Feminist participatory action research with Maya survivors of sexual violence in postwar Guatemala. Presented at Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) Biennial Conference, Lowell, MA.

2015

August 2015 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Picking up the pieces: Mayan women’s struggles for reparation in postconflict Guatemala. Presented at the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention, Toronto.

2015

(Invited) November 2014. Moving beyond suffering: Mayan women’s struggles for reparation in postconflict Guatemala. Presented at Feminisms, Structural Violence and Transitional Justice conference , Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, York University.

2014

(Invited) September 2014. The making of the ‘abject victim subject’ in transnational discourses of sexual harm: An excavation of the racialization of gendered violence. Paper presented to the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies seminar series.

2014

(Invited) April 2014. Creativity as Intervention Strategy in Feminist and Psychosocial Accompaniment Processes with Mayan Women Survivors in Guatemala. Presented at Peacebuilding in Conflict Situations from a Psychosocial Perspective conference, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2014

(Invited) March 2014 (with Malathi de Alwis). The Inhabitance of Loss: A transnational feminist dialogue on memorialization. Centre for Refugee Studies and Centre for Feminist Research, York University.

2014

May 2014 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Reparation struggles of Mayan women survivors in postwar Guatemala. Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Congress, Chicago.

2014

(Invited) November 2012. Sexual Harm and Transitional Justice: Reflections from Guatemala. Presented at symposium Truth and Justice: Problematizing truth commissions and transitional justice . OISE/University of Toronto.

2012

May 2012 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Challenges in/to feminist participatory action research with indigenous women survivors of sexual violence in Guatemala Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, San Francisco.

2012

September 2012 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Creative Methodologies as a Resource for Mayan Women’s Protagonism. Presented at Creative practice, activism and place-identities conference, Arts and Humanities Research Council & University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.

2012

(invited) October 2012. Critical Engagement with and Accompaniment of Maya Women and their Communities: Understanding Gendered Racialized Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Guatemala. Presented at What to Do about Race and Culture and Violence conference, Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture, Boston College.

2012

June 2011. A story that travels: The transnational narrative of sexual violence. Presented at Berkshire Conference on History of Women, Generations: Exploring Race, sexuality and labor across time and space, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

2011

(Invited) May 2011. Gendering historical memory processes. Presented at workshop Dialogues on Memory: Strategies for reconstructing memories in conflict and post-conflict zones. Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Colombia.

2011

(Invited) March 2011 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Psychosocial approaches to trauma in Guatemala. Presented at conference of the international research project Trauma, Development and Peacebuilding: Towards an integrated psychosocial approach , International Conflict Research Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

2011

(Invited) November 2011 (with M. Brinton Lykes) The Creative Arts as a Resource for Women’s Empowerment in postwar Guatemala. Presented at the conference of the international research project Trauma, Development and Peacebuilding: Towards an integrated psychosocial approach , International Conflict Research Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

2011

April 2010. A story that travels: The transnational narrative of sexual violence. Presented at Excavations, Appropriations, Collusions, and Contestations: A symposium on violence, memory, and memorialization, Centre for Feminist Research, York University.

2010

October 2010. (with M. Brinton Lykes) Claiming Subjectivity: An agenda for reparation for survivors of sexual violence. Paper presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Toronto.

2010

May 2008. Shaping transnational feminist praxis on militarized violence in the new millennium. Presented at Revisioning and Reimagining the Future. A conference of the Women in Conflict Zones Network. Dubrovnik, Croatia.

2008

September 2007. Women’s Struggles for Truth, Justice and Reparations in Latin America. Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Montreal.

2007

August 2006. The Boundaries of Belonging: Reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century. Presented at Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Global Division Symposium, Globalization and Neoliberal Crises: Social Problems and Social Struggles. Montreal.

2006

June 2006. The Boundaries of Belonging: Reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century. At International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) conference, Talking across Borders: New Dialogues in Forced Migration Studies, York University. Toronto.

2006

June 2004. “Global Migration Trends”, Paper presented at the Canadian Council for Refugees Annual Conference. Montreal.

2004

October 1999. Effects of International Intervention on Women’s Organizing in Guatemala. At Women in Conflict Network Conference Implications of Global Restructuring for Women in Areas of Armed Conflict. Budapest, Hungary.

1999

October 1999. Feminist Research Ethics Across Time and Space (with Cathy Blacklock). At Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Annual Meeting, Latin America and the Caribbean into the Coming Millennium: Equity, Democracy and Sustainability. Carleton University, Ottawa.

1999

December 1998. Empowerment and Containment: The Experiences of Guatemalan Refugee Women. Discussant of paper by Dr. Neloufar de Mel, “Agent or Victim? The Sri Lankan Women Militant in the Interregnum”. At Women in Conflict Zones Network Conference A Comparative Study of the Issues Faced by Women as a Result of Armed Conflict: Sri Lanka and Post-Yugoslav States. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

1998

June 1997. Women’s Organizing in Guatemala (with Cathy Blacklock). At Women in Conflict Zones Network conference, York University. Toronto.

1997

July 1996. Discovering "the zone of occult instability where the people dwell" across the boundaries of citizenship: Guatemala from Conquest to Modernity. At conference Women, Citizenship and Difference, University of Greenwich. London, England.

1996

November 1996. To Whom Shall the Nation Belong? The Gender and Ethnic Dimensions of Refugee Return and Struggles for Peace in Guatemala. At Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Annual Meeting, York University. Toronto.

1996

October 1995. Re-Imagining the Guatemalan Nation: A Feminist Action Research Perspective on Exile and Return. At conference on Refugee Return, Power and Transformation in Guatemala, York University. Toronto.

1995

Research Reports

Publication
Year

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Brisna Caxaj (2014), Understanding Women’s Struggles for Justice, Healing and Redress: A study of gender and reparation in postwar Guatemala (2009-13). Final report submitted to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and available in English and Spanish.

2014

Public Lectures

Publication
Year

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Cobán, Guatemala.

2019

March 2019. Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. Invited Talk, Centre for Transitional Justice, Western University.

2019

April 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. Book presentation. Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College.

2019

May 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. Book presentation. Centre for Feminist Research, York University.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Antigua, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Nebaj, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Huehutenango, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Metodologias de la Investigación Acción Participativa. Invited Lecture, Centro Universitario de Occidente (CUNOC), Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

2019

December 2016. Deconstructing transitional justice: Examples from Guatemala. Invited Talk, Institute for Cultural and Ethnic Studies (ICES), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

2016

December 2016. Deconstructing transitional justice: Examples from Guatemala. Invited talk, Consortium of NGOs. Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.

2016

October 2015. Gendering Globalization. Lecture for Living and Learning in Retirement course Globalization and Human Rights.

2015


My research focuses on anti-racist feminist contestations of histories of militarized, colonial, and imperial violence, and in particular, how we understand survivors’ protagonism in struggles for redress, and the claiming, narration and performance of memory that challenges the hegemonic.

I am particularly interested in the relational condition of violence and its aftermath, drawing on the work of Das, Kleinman and Martín-Baró, among others, who emphasize the nature of suffering as deeply social, collective, and historical, rather than exclusively or even primarily individual. How do those who experience violence resist and transform its structures and strictures, in relation to others? What does it mean to be defined by one’s story of being a victim of war, and in particular, to be defined by one’s story of sexual harm? And who exactly gets to define such experience? I problematize the boundaries between action and research, between insiders and outsiders, and between the local and the transnational, as situated within histories of colonizing forms of knowledge production. Much of my research takes place in Guatemala, where I have been working for over 25 years in various articulations of activism and research. My work is also transnational; for example, I am interested in how stories of harm are stories that travel within international human rights regimes such as the violence against women paradigm.

Degrees

PhD, York University
MES, York University
BA (Hons) (Cantab), University of Cambridge

Professional Leadership

2014-19 Director, Centre for Feminist Research, York University
2017-18 Chair of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant Adjudication Committee 16, Communications, Media Studies, Gender Studies, Library and Information Science
2014-17 Member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant Adjudication Committee #4A, Communications, Media Studies, Gender Studies, Library and Information Science

Community Contributions

2009-present. Member of the Advisory Board of the international organization Impunity Watch

Research Interests

Gender Issues , Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Transitional Justice, Memory and memorialization, Transnational, anti-racist and anti-colonial feminisms , Feminist participatory action research

Current Research Projects

Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues

    Summary:

    How colonial, imperial, militarized and state violence are remembered and memorialized—through, for example, memorials, museums, archives, performances, and art installations—are sites of constant contestation and anxiety. Questions of who and what gets remembered or forgotten, whose loss mourned and grieved, and how, what kinds of memorialization processes are assigned cultural value and how others are made absent, are shaped by racially gendered histories, ideologies, subjectivities and imaginaries. They also emerge within and are shaped by–sometimes in resistance to–transnational relations, discourses, ideologies, market flows, border controls, migration patterns, legal frameworks, media culture and more. Invoking a broad, critical and intersectional understanding of the transnational that attends to the particularities of place-based struggles and difference experiences as the grounds from which to explore connections, similarities and coalitional possibilities within, across and through borders and contexts, this project centrally asks what a transnational feminist lens might reveal about the space of remembrance and memorialization. Simultaneously, it seeks to explore what the lens of memory and memorialization may conversely illuminate about our transnational feminist engagements, scholarly, artistic, activist and otherwise.

    Description:

    Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues brings together feminist scholars from a wide range of contexts and disciplinary perspectives to explore the transnational dimensions of how we collectively remember and memorialize violence. Through events, workshops, publications and an interactive digital archive, we foster critical dialogue, collaboration and research innovation in feminist memory studies.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Jan   Year: 2019

    End Date:
      Month: Dec   Year: 2021

    Collaborator: Malathi de Alwis, Heather Evans, Honor Ford-Smith, Shahrzad Mojab and Carmela Murdocca
    Funders:
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    York University
    University of Toronto
The Inhabitance of Loss: A transnational feminist project on memorialization

    Summary:

    This project uses a transnational feminist lens to examine when and how survivor-led initiatives to memorialize loss in Guatemala and Sri Lanka create new articulations of agency, voice and community within and across national borders.The project is a collaborative initiative with Sri Lankan cultural anthropologist Dr. Malathi de Alwis, along with Maya k’iche’ anthropologist Dr. Irma Alicia Velasquez Nimatuj, and Heather Evans (PhD student, York University).

    Description:

    Guatemala and Sri Lanka have each endured decades of armed conflict that have had and will continue to have devastating effects on generations. How these wars are remembered and memorialized—through such devices as memorials, monuments, tombstones, archives, photographs, murals and art installations—are sites of constant contestation and anxiety. Memorialization practices are embedded in postwar relationships between and among individuals, communities and the state that are fraught and fractured, and laced with grief and anger about the lived experiences of violence and loss, victory and defeat. They also present an opportunity for survivors to (re)inhabit loss, to mobilize grief to create a new form of political community. Memorialization practices have transnational dimensions; the traveling of gendered racialized memorializing tropes, signs, claims, and power relations across borders informs and shapes how and by whom the experience of violence is represented and redressed. The project explores the place-making potential of memorialization initiatives by survivors in Guatemala and Sri Lanka and the organizations who accompany them, including the search for disappeared loved ones, and the struggle for redress for racialized gendered violence, including sexual violence. We also examine how the Sri Lankan and Guatemalan states and militaries have memorialized their wars.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2014

    End Date:
      Month: Mar   Year: 2019

    Collaborator: Malathi de Alwis
    Collaborator Institution: Open University, Sri Lanka
    Collaborator Role: Research Collaborator

    Funders:
    SSHRC

    Project Type: Funded
    Collaborator: Dr. Malathi de Alwis
    Collaborator Institution: Imperial Institute of Higher Education
    Collaborator Role: co-Principal Investigator

    Funders:
    International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Understanding women’s struggles for justice, healing and redress: A study of gender and reparation in postwar Guatemala

    Summary:

    This eight-year feminist action research project examined a group of Mayan women’s collective struggle for justice in the aftermath of harm suffered during the height of Guatemala’s genocidal violence in the early 1980s, a harm these protagonists contend is irreparable yet must be redressed. The project was a collaboration with Professor M. Brinton Lykes (Boston College), along with research partner the National Union of Guatemalan Women (UNAMG). Crosby and Lykes co-authored the book Beyond repair? Mayan women's protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm (Rutgers University Press, 2019), published in Spanish as Más allá de la reparación: Protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida (Cholsamaj, 2019; translated by Megan Thomas).

    Description:

    In Beyond repair? Alison Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes explore a group of Mayan women’s collective struggle for justice in the aftermath of harm suffered during the height of Guatemala’s genocidal violence in the early 1980s, a harm these protagonists contend is irreparable yet must be redressed. Drawing on eight years of feminist participatory action research (PAR), the book examines how Mayan women’s protagonism has been shaped through dialogic interactions with intermediaries, including Mayan, ladina, mestiza and transnational activists, feminists, lawyers, psychologists, interpreters, and the authors as researchers. Crosby and Lykes trace how intermediaries accompanied Mayan protagonists in the performance of a “community of women” outside of their local geographic communities, as a space from which to enact actions for redress and engage in knowledge co-construction. In analyzing protagonists’ engagement with a Tribunal of Conscience, a paradigmatic legal case of sexual violence as a crime against humanity and a state-sponsored National Reparations Program—actions framed as “transitional justice”—as well as the authors’ PAR process, the book addresses a central tension between indigenous struggles to redress social suffering rooted in structural colonial violence and dispossession, and the tendency of Western rights-based regimes to individuate acts of harm and generate racialized gendered spectacles of pain and suffering, accentuated in cases of sexual harm. Crosby and Lykes consider the challenges and possibilities of decolonial feminist research praxis within such terrain.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2009

    End Date:
      Month: Oct   Year: 2013

    Collaborator: Professor M. Brinton Lykes
    Collaborator Institution: Boston College
    Collaborator Role: Research Collaborator

    Funders:
    Standard Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
    International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

All Publications


Book Chapters

Publication
Year

Távara, Gabriela, M. Brinton Lykes & Alison Crosby (2020). De pie en el medio: Las prácticas de sanación de las mujeres mayas intermediarias después del genocidio en Guatemala. Costa, G.E. & Etchezahar, E. (eds.). Diversidad, Identidad, & Derechos. Buenos Aires, AR: Ediciones de la UNLZ, pp. 179-224.

2020

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Fabienne Doiron (2019). Contestaciones afectivas: Involucrando las emociones en el juicio Sepur Zarco. In Macleod, M. & N. De Marinis (eds.), Comunidades emocionales: Resistiendo a las violencias. Mexico & Colombia: UAM-X, y ICANH, pp.185-208.

2019

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Fabienne Doiron (2018). Affective Contestations: Engaging Emotion Through the Sepur Zarco Trial. In Resisting Violence: Emotional Communities in Latin America . Edited by Morna Macleod and Natalia De Marinis. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.163-185.

2018

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Brisna Caxaj (2018). Carrying a heavy load: Mayan women’s understanding of reparation in the aftermath of genocide. In Guatemala: The question of genocide. Edited by Elizabeth Oglesby and Diane Nelson. London and New York: Routledge, pp.129-148 (is also forthcoming in Spanish).

2018

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2015), Creative Methodologies as a Resource for Mayan Women’s Protagonism. In Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding . Edited by Brandon Hamber & Elizabeth Gallagher. Switzerland: Springer International Publications, pp. 147-186. (Also published in Spanish.)

2015

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2015). Participatory Action Research as a Resource for Community Regeneration in Post-Conflict Contexts. In Methodologies in Peace Psychology: Peace Research by Peaceful Means . Edited by Diane Bretherton and Siew Fang Low. Switzerland: Springer International Publications, pp. 237-254.

2015

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2015). Metodologías creativas como recurso para el protagonismo de mujeres Mayas. In Investigaciones en Psicología Social . Edited by G. L. Costa & E. Etchezahar. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la UNLZ, pp.71-120.

2015

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2014), Feminist Practice of Action and Community Research. In Feminist Research Practice: A Primer (Second Edition). Edited by Sharlene Hesse-Biber. Thousand Oaks: SAGE publications, pp.145-181.

2014

Blacklock, Cathy and Crosby, Alison (2004). “The Sounds of Silence: Feminist Research Across Time in Guatemala.” In Sites of Violence: Gender and Identity in Conflict Zones. Edited by Wenona Giles and Jennifer Hyndman. Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 45-72.

2004

Crosby, Alison (1999). "To Whom Shall the Nation Belong? The Gender and Ethnic Dimensions of Refugee Return and Struggles for Peace in Guatemala." In Alan Simmons and Liisa North (eds), Journeys of Fear: Refugee Return and National Transformation in Guatemala. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, pp. 176-195.

1999

Book Reviews

Publication
Year

2009. Review of Reckoning: The Ends of War in Guatemala by Diane M Nelson, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 34, 68: 242-245.

2009

Books

Publication
Year

Crosby, Alison and Lykes, M. Brinton (2019). Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. 282 pages. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. [co-authored monograph]

2019

Crosby, Alison y Lykes, M. Brinton (por salir, julio 2019), Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Guatemala: Cholsamaj. [co-authored monograph]

2019

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

Távara, Gabriela, M. Brinton Lykes & Alison Crosby (2018): Standing in Between: The Healing Praxis of Mayan Women Intermediaries in Post-Genocide Guatemala, Women & Therapy ,41:1-2, 20-51. DOI: 10.1080/02703149.2017.1323477 (published online June 9, 2017).

2018

Crosby, Alison, Lykes, M. Brinton and Caxaj, Brisna (2016). Carrying a Heavy Load: Mayan Women's Understandings of Reparation in the Aftermath of Genocide. Journal of Genocide Research, 18:2-3, pp.265-283.

2016

Lykes, M. Brinton and Crosby, Alison (2014). Creativity as Intervention Strategy in Feminist and Psychosocial Accompaniment Processes with Mayan Women Survivors in Guatemala. Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas , 12 (1): 30-42.

2014

Crosby, Alison and Lykes, M. Brinton (2011). Mayan women survivors speak: The gendered relations of truth-telling in postwar Guatemala. International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol. 5, pp.456-476. (Also available in Spanish from the authors.)

2011

Crosby, Alison (2009). “Anatomy of a Workshop: Women’s Struggles for Transformative Participation in Latin America.” Feminism & Psychology, 19 (3): 343-353.

2009

Crosby, Alison (2007). “People on the Move: Challenging migration categorization.” Development 50 (4). December, pp.44-49.

2007

Crosby, Alison (2007). “The Boundaries of Belonging: Reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century.” Refugee Watch: A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration. Vol. 29, June, pp.31-53 (also available in French and Spanish from www.interpares.ca).

2007

Crosby, Alison (2000). “Return to the Nation: The Organizational Challenges Confronted by Guatemalan Refugee Women.” Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees. Vol. 19 (3), pp.32-37.

2000

Conference Papers

Publication
Year

May 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Justice-in-translation: Redressing racialized gendered harm in postgenocide Guatemala. Paper presented at the Latin America Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Boston.

2019

October 2019. Trans/national contestations: Memorializing sexual harm in postgenocide Guatemala. Paper presented at conference Reclaiming Justice: Memory and Memorialization of Violence, Department of Equity Studies, University of Toronto.

2019

May 2019. Unmapping protagonism: Agency in the aftermath of racialized gendered harm . Presented at symposium The Importance of Labelling in Transitional Justice. Centre for Transitional Justice, Western University.

2019

May 2018. Trans/national contestation: Memorializing sexual harm in postgenocide Guatemala . Presented at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Barcelona, Spain.

2018

May 2017 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Affective contestations: Engaging emotion in feminist research in postgenocide Guatemala. Presented at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Lima, Peru.

2017

May 2016 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Witnessing harm: Intermediary roles in accompanying Mayan women survivors of sexual violence in Guatemala. Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, New York.

2016

May 2015 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Constructing knowledge at the interstices of community: Feminist participatory action research with Mayan and mestiza protagonists in Guatemala. Presented at Latin American Studies Associate Conference Precaridades, exclusiones, emergenicas , San Juan, Puerto Rico.

2015

June 2015 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Feminist participatory action research with Maya survivors of sexual violence in postwar Guatemala. Presented at Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) Biennial Conference, Lowell, MA.

2015

August 2015 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Picking up the pieces: Mayan women’s struggles for reparation in postconflict Guatemala. Presented at the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention, Toronto.

2015

(Invited) November 2014. Moving beyond suffering: Mayan women’s struggles for reparation in postconflict Guatemala. Presented at Feminisms, Structural Violence and Transitional Justice conference , Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, York University.

2014

(Invited) September 2014. The making of the ‘abject victim subject’ in transnational discourses of sexual harm: An excavation of the racialization of gendered violence. Paper presented to the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies seminar series.

2014

(Invited) April 2014. Creativity as Intervention Strategy in Feminist and Psychosocial Accompaniment Processes with Mayan Women Survivors in Guatemala. Presented at Peacebuilding in Conflict Situations from a Psychosocial Perspective conference, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2014

(Invited) March 2014 (with Malathi de Alwis). The Inhabitance of Loss: A transnational feminist dialogue on memorialization. Centre for Refugee Studies and Centre for Feminist Research, York University.

2014

May 2014 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Reparation struggles of Mayan women survivors in postwar Guatemala. Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Congress, Chicago.

2014

(Invited) November 2012. Sexual Harm and Transitional Justice: Reflections from Guatemala. Presented at symposium Truth and Justice: Problematizing truth commissions and transitional justice . OISE/University of Toronto.

2012

May 2012 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Challenges in/to feminist participatory action research with indigenous women survivors of sexual violence in Guatemala Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, San Francisco.

2012

September 2012 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Creative Methodologies as a Resource for Mayan Women’s Protagonism. Presented at Creative practice, activism and place-identities conference, Arts and Humanities Research Council & University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.

2012

(invited) October 2012. Critical Engagement with and Accompaniment of Maya Women and their Communities: Understanding Gendered Racialized Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Guatemala. Presented at What to Do about Race and Culture and Violence conference, Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture, Boston College.

2012

June 2011. A story that travels: The transnational narrative of sexual violence. Presented at Berkshire Conference on History of Women, Generations: Exploring Race, sexuality and labor across time and space, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

2011

(Invited) May 2011. Gendering historical memory processes. Presented at workshop Dialogues on Memory: Strategies for reconstructing memories in conflict and post-conflict zones. Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Colombia.

2011

(Invited) March 2011 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Psychosocial approaches to trauma in Guatemala. Presented at conference of the international research project Trauma, Development and Peacebuilding: Towards an integrated psychosocial approach , International Conflict Research Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

2011

(Invited) November 2011 (with M. Brinton Lykes) The Creative Arts as a Resource for Women’s Empowerment in postwar Guatemala. Presented at the conference of the international research project Trauma, Development and Peacebuilding: Towards an integrated psychosocial approach , International Conflict Research Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

2011

April 2010. A story that travels: The transnational narrative of sexual violence. Presented at Excavations, Appropriations, Collusions, and Contestations: A symposium on violence, memory, and memorialization, Centre for Feminist Research, York University.

2010

October 2010. (with M. Brinton Lykes) Claiming Subjectivity: An agenda for reparation for survivors of sexual violence. Paper presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Toronto.

2010

May 2008. Shaping transnational feminist praxis on militarized violence in the new millennium. Presented at Revisioning and Reimagining the Future. A conference of the Women in Conflict Zones Network. Dubrovnik, Croatia.

2008

September 2007. Women’s Struggles for Truth, Justice and Reparations in Latin America. Presented at Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress, Montreal.

2007

August 2006. The Boundaries of Belonging: Reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century. Presented at Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Global Division Symposium, Globalization and Neoliberal Crises: Social Problems and Social Struggles. Montreal.

2006

June 2006. The Boundaries of Belonging: Reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century. At International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) conference, Talking across Borders: New Dialogues in Forced Migration Studies, York University. Toronto.

2006

June 2004. “Global Migration Trends”, Paper presented at the Canadian Council for Refugees Annual Conference. Montreal.

2004

October 1999. Effects of International Intervention on Women’s Organizing in Guatemala. At Women in Conflict Network Conference Implications of Global Restructuring for Women in Areas of Armed Conflict. Budapest, Hungary.

1999

October 1999. Feminist Research Ethics Across Time and Space (with Cathy Blacklock). At Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Annual Meeting, Latin America and the Caribbean into the Coming Millennium: Equity, Democracy and Sustainability. Carleton University, Ottawa.

1999

December 1998. Empowerment and Containment: The Experiences of Guatemalan Refugee Women. Discussant of paper by Dr. Neloufar de Mel, “Agent or Victim? The Sri Lankan Women Militant in the Interregnum”. At Women in Conflict Zones Network Conference A Comparative Study of the Issues Faced by Women as a Result of Armed Conflict: Sri Lanka and Post-Yugoslav States. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

1998

June 1997. Women’s Organizing in Guatemala (with Cathy Blacklock). At Women in Conflict Zones Network conference, York University. Toronto.

1997

July 1996. Discovering "the zone of occult instability where the people dwell" across the boundaries of citizenship: Guatemala from Conquest to Modernity. At conference Women, Citizenship and Difference, University of Greenwich. London, England.

1996

November 1996. To Whom Shall the Nation Belong? The Gender and Ethnic Dimensions of Refugee Return and Struggles for Peace in Guatemala. At Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Annual Meeting, York University. Toronto.

1996

October 1995. Re-Imagining the Guatemalan Nation: A Feminist Action Research Perspective on Exile and Return. At conference on Refugee Return, Power and Transformation in Guatemala, York University. Toronto.

1995

Research Reports

Publication
Year

Crosby, Alison, M. Brinton Lykes and Brisna Caxaj (2014), Understanding Women’s Struggles for Justice, Healing and Redress: A study of gender and reparation in postwar Guatemala (2009-13). Final report submitted to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and available in English and Spanish.

2014

Public Lectures

Publication
Year

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Cobán, Guatemala.

2019

March 2019. Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. Invited Talk, Centre for Transitional Justice, Western University.

2019

April 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. Book presentation. Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College.

2019

May 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Beyond repair? Mayan women’s protagonism in the aftermath of genocidal harm. Book presentation. Centre for Feminist Research, York University.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Antigua, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Nebaj, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Huehutenango, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Más allá de la reparación: protagonismo de mujeres mayas en las secuelas del daño genocida. Book presentation, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

2019

July 2019 (with M. Brinton Lykes). Metodologias de la Investigación Acción Participativa. Invited Lecture, Centro Universitario de Occidente (CUNOC), Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

2019

December 2016. Deconstructing transitional justice: Examples from Guatemala. Invited Talk, Institute for Cultural and Ethnic Studies (ICES), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

2016

December 2016. Deconstructing transitional justice: Examples from Guatemala. Invited talk, Consortium of NGOs. Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.

2016

October 2015. Gendering Globalization. Lecture for Living and Learning in Retirement course Globalization and Human Rights.

2015