Ph.D. (McMaster University)
M.A. (Dalhousie University)
B.A. (University of Western Ontario)
Research and Supervisory Areas
Sex work/prostitution, Missing and murdered women, Anti‐racist theory and activism, Feminist cultural studies, Gender in popular/visual culture, Urbanization and violence
Shawna Ferris teaches and researches in the areas of sex work/prostitution studies, critical race studies, decolonization, and violence against women, with an emphasis on representation and resistance. She is particularly interested in cultural representations of and responses to sex work/ers, as well as cultural marginalization, and raced classed and gendered violence resulting from the same. Her current research examines anti‐violence, anti‐racism, and decolonization‐oriented commemorative activism stemming from the growing number of missing and murdered women in urban centres across Canada. As part of this research and in partnership with Dr. Kiera Ladner (Political Studies and CRC, Indigenous Governance), she is working with a research team to develop three separate but related digital archives. Working titles for these archives are the Sex Work Database, The Missing Women Database, and the Post-apology Indian Residential School Database.
Shawna recently began a new research project examining in even more depth sex worker activism in Canada. For this project, she is proud to partner with Sex Professionals of Canada's Executive Director, Amy Lebovitch.
As an instructor, Shawna works to create a classroom environment where students can experiment with their approaches to course material, develop their views in an analytical fashion, and make connections between their in‐class work and their lives outside of the university. She is committed to expanding students’ abilities to think critically, and to feel and express both intellectual curiosity and agency in the interests of human rights, decolonization, and social justice. Courses taught include:
WOMN 4200: Honours Seminar: Visual Cultures of Gender and Violence
WOMN 3560: Feminist Perspectives on Violence
WOMN 3510: International Feminisms: Women's Rights are Human Rights
WOMN 3100: Sex Work in Contemporary Canadian Culture
WOMN 2540: Special Topics: Sex Work in Contemporary Canadian Culture;
WOMN 2540: Special Topics: Chick Lit
WOMN 2540: Special Topics: Female Superheroes: Representations of Women & Power in Popular Culture
WOMN 2540: Special Topics: Women, Consumer Culture, and Global Capitalism
WOMN 1500: Introduction to Women’s Studies in the Humanities
Shawna received a University of Manitoba University 1 Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. Her students nominated her for this award, again, in 2012.
Ferris, Shawna. “Working from the Violent Centre: Survival Sex Work and Urban Aboriginality in Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed.” ESC: English Studies in Canada 34.4 (2008):123‐45. Print.
“Encompassing Unboundedness”: Desire and Collaborative Authorship in Carla Harryman and Lyn Hejinian’s “The Wide Road.” Artistic Bedfellows: Histories, Theories and Conversations in Collaborative Art Practices. Ed. Holly Crawford. New York: University Press of America. September 2008. 98‐107. Print.
“The Lone Streetwalker: Missing Women and Sex Work‐related News in Mainstream Canadian Media.”West Coast Line 53: Representations of Murdered and Missing Women 41.1 (Spring 2007): 14‐24. Print.