BIO

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I am Professor of Gender Studies at Memorial University. The recipient of numerous grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada(SSHRC), and the Canada Council, I have also won a variety of awards for my research, writing, and teaching.

As a researcher, I am passionate about stories and storytelling. I have a specific interest in life writing and autoethnography. I work with textual and visual methods and am happiest when I can lose myself in the archives.

boon-cover-finalMy memoir, What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home, will appear in September 2019 (Wilfrid Laurier University Press). What the Oceans Remember has its own website and blog here. My creative non-fiction essays appear in published collections as well as in Geist, The Ethnic Aisle, and donttalktomeaboutlove.org, and is forthcoming in two story collections (2020).

In addition to my literary work, I have published 3 scholarly books and several scholarly articles and book chapters.  I have written about eighteenth-century medical life writing, feminist theory, breastfeeding selfies, maternal grief, political agency, craftivism, social media activisms, and autobiographical performances of death and dying, among others.

All of this work circles around the same main questions: How do we tell the stories of who we are? What social, cultural and political forces shape those tellings? How do we navigate the worlds we inhabit, and how do we stake our claims to belonging? Where and how do we situate our stories of self? Why do we tell these stories? What larger stories can autobiographies and autoethnographies tell? And why should we care?

I am co-editor, with Marlene Kadar, of the Life Writing Series, Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

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Did someone say selfies? Performing nostalgia in the mall Photo Booth, St. John’s, 2019

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in feminist theories and methodologies, identities and difference, life writing, bodies and embodiment, feminist practices, and contemporary feminist issues. I have supervised or am supervising students with research interests in tattooing and embodied identity, trans identity and performance, breastfeeding and maternal desire, feminist performance art, doula work, gender-based violence, African-American women’s filmmaking, feminist geographies, online fandoms, and fallen woman literature, among others. I also offer professional development workshops and writing retreats for graduate students.

pboI also have a professional background in historically-informed performance. I was principal flute of and a frequent soloist with the Portland Baroque Orchestra from 1999-2006 and performed as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician with such organisations as the Toronto Symphony, Hallé Orchestra (Manchester, UK), Holland Festival of Early Music, Early Music Vancouver, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver), Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and MusicFest Vancouver.