Dr. JP Catungal is Assistant Professor of Critical Racial and Ethnic Studies in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. A queer, first-generation Filipino-Canadian settler living in unceded Coast Salish territories, JP is an interdisciplinary scholar trained in the nexus of critical human geography and intersectional feminist theorizing. His research concerns Filipinx and Asian Canadian studies; feminist and queer of colour critique; migrant, anti-racist and queer community organizing; and the politics of education, mentorship, teaching and learning. His active research projects include “Mentorship as Political Practice”, an Antipode Foundation funded community research collaboration with the Kababayan Academic Mentorship Program (KAMP); “Queer World Cities”, a SSHRC-funded research partnership with Dr. Natalie Oswin (at McGill University); and an oral history of HIV/AIDS in Vancouver BC, in collaboration with various local community partners and fellow scholars from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University and with funding from CIHR and the Vancouver Foundation.
In keeping with his commitments to anti-racist queer, feminist and decolonial approaches to teaching and learning, he seeks to imagine and enact more socially just curricular and pedagogical philosophies and practices within and beyond his classrooms. He collaborates with the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology’s Indigenous Initiatives and Student Diversity Initiative programs. His own courses deal with theories of subjectivity, representation and queer of colour critique, as well as global social justice issues and Asian Canadian studies and popular culture.
JP was co-editor of the landmark 2012 volume Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility (University of Toronto Press), as well as of recent journal special issues on the intersections of sexuality, race and nation in the Canadian context in ACME: International Journal of Critical Geographies and TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. He has been co-editor of ACME: International Journal of Critical Geographies since August 2017. Since coming to UBC, JP has also been active in media-based public pedagogy through expert interviews and writing on local and national issues concerning sexuality, LGBTQ issues, immigration and racism. He also holds a faculty affiliation with the Department of Geography and the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program.
JP has received various awards for his scholarly work, among them the Governor-General’s Gold Medal for Academic Excellence, the Canadian Association of Geographers’ Starkey-Robinson Award and the American Association of Geographers’ J. Warren Nystrom Award.
My research programme is energized by an interest in community organizing and placemaking as powerful tools through which marginalized communities, especially racially and sexually minoritized groups, negotiate, contest, rework, thrive and otherwise live in socio-spatial contexts of inequality, difference and displacement. I am especially concerned with theorizing the emergence and evolution of “for us, by us” geographies of race, gender and sexuality. I participate actively and contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship in Asian diaspora studies (including Filipino Canadian, Asian Canadian and Asian North American studies), critical ethnic studies, sexuality and queer studies, and migration studies. My training in Geography allows me to bridge this discipline and the above “inter-disciplines”, and gives me the capacity to intervene in a variety of scholarly publication outlets, conferences and scholarly networks. I find the traffics across these fields of knowledge productive for enriching how we theorize the socio-spatialities of marginalized people’s lives, whose practices of placemaking, worldmaking and networking push our theories of space, place, belonging and community in new directions.
My ongoing research programme is comprised of three projects, each of which applies my broad interests in and commitments to feminist, queer and anti-racist geographies to the empirical arenas of education, urbanism and sexual health. In collaboration with research partners in the community and other research institutions, I have been able to secure competitive external grants to fund these projects. They include the following projects:
- Filipino Canadian geographies of educational abandonment: I am Principal Investigator on a community-based research project, funded by an Antipode Foundation’s Scholar-Activist Project Award, in partnership with the Kababayan Academic Mentorship Program (KAMP), a Vancouver-based mentorship program developed a decade ago in response to Filipino-Canadian high school students’ disproportionate high school drop out rates. Our goal is to examine how ethno-specific “for us, by us” forms of educational mentorship, which bring together Filipino-Canadian university students and high school students, ameliorate such educational abandonment through centering peer-based mentorship and capacity building models informed by structural critiques of migrant and racial marginalization.
- Global queer urbanisms in “post-equalities” landscapes: I am Co-Investigator on a multi-year research project with SSHRC Insight Grant funding that mobilizes comparative methods to examine shifting local ecologies of LGBTQ community organizing and municipal policymaking in Canada and South Africa, two national contexts that boast formal recognition of LGBTQ people in constitutional, human rights and legislative arenas. Dr. Natalie Oswin (Principal Investigator, McGill University) and I are interested in how such so-called “post-equalities” national contexts touch down and contour locally situated urban LGBTQ politics.
- HIV ‘In My Day’ oral history project: I am Co-Investigator on a community partnership oral history project, with funding through a CIHR Catalyst Grant and the Vancouver Foundation, that seeks to collect and analyze life histories of long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS as well as of those who have been engaged in formal and informal care work with these survivors in Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Some of our goals for this project include: (i) creating a publicly accessible archive on responses to and experiences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, (ii) generating intergenerational dialogue around these HIV/AIDS histories and (iii) examining how these narratives could inform current bio-medical, social service and organizing approaches to HIV/AIDS.
I am also a key player in the burgeoning area of Filipino Canadian studies. In 2012, I co-edited the agenda setting volume Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility (University of Toronto Press), which was the first volume of its kind to collect interdisciplinary works in Filipino Canadian studies. Through this book and through various journal articles and book chapters, I have contributed to scholarly analysis of Filipino Canadian lives, landscapes and livelihoods as they have been shaped by ethno-racial, gender and sexual practices that stretch across multiple national projects and transnational communities. In this work, I am especially concerned with examining the role of spectacular and structural violence in shaping lived experiences of Filipino Canadian youth, as well as, more recently, on the gender and sexual politics of Filipino Canadian community building. My published works in this area of research deal with the foundational importance of feminist engagements with sexuality in queering Filipino Canadian studies (in Diasporic Intimacies); community organizing in response to violence against urban Filipino youth (in Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility); and the enactment of transnational family and community through global circulations of bodies, letters, photographs and care packages (in The Politics of Cultural Knowledge). Most recently, I co-edited a special focus section of TOPIA titled “Feeling queer, feeling Asian, feeling Canadian”, for which I contributed a piece that reads across documentary film representations of transpacific travel among Filipino Canadians and Musqueam-Chinese Canadians as a political practice of negotiating transnational gender and sexual norms of familial, kin and racial relations.
Roberts, D. and Catungal, J.P. (2018). Neoliberalizing social justice in infrastructure revitalization planning: Analyzing Toronto’s More Moss Park project in its early stages. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(2): 454-263. Special issue on “Social justice and the city”.
Catungal, J.P. (2017). With/out apologies: queering public conversations about redressive nationalisms. Historical Geography, 45: 102-107.
Kojima, D., Catungal, J.P. and Diaz, R. (2017). Feeling queer, feeling Asian, feeling Canadian. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 38: 69-80.
Catungal, J.P. (2017). The lessons of travel: teaching queer Asian Canada through Joella Cabalu’s It Runs in the Family and Alejandro Yoshizawa’s All our Father’s Relations. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 38: 93-101.
Catungal, J.P. (2017). Feeling bodies of knowledge: situating knowledge production through felt embeddedness. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 108(3): 289-301.
Laliberte, N., Catungal, J.P., Castleden, H., Keeling, A., Momer, B. and Nash, C.J. (2015). Teaching the geographies of Canada: reflections on pedagogy, curriculum and the politics of teaching and learning. The Canadian Geographer, 59(4): 519-531.
Catungal, J.P. (2013). Ethno-specific safe houses in the liberal contact zone: race politics, place-making and genealogies of the AIDS sector in global-multicultural Toronto. ACME International Journal of Critical Geography, 12(2): 250-278.
Nash, C. and Catungal, J.P. (2013). Introduction: Sexual landscapes, lives and livelihoods in Canada. ACME International Journal of Critical Geography, 12(2): 181-192.
Catungal, J.P. (2018). “We had to take space, we had to create space”: Locating queer of colour politics in 1980s Toronto. In J. Haritaworn, Ghaida Moussa, S.M. Ware (with Rio Rodriguez) (eds.), Queering Urban Justice: Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto. University of Toronto Press.
Catungal, J.P. (2017). Towards queer(er) futures: Proliferating the ‘sexual’ in Filipinx-Canadian sexuality studies. In Diaz, R., Largo, M. and Pino, P. (eds.), Diasporic intimacies: Queer Filipinos/as and Canadian imaginaries. Northwestern University Press.
Catungal, J.P. (2015). The racial politics of precarity: understanding ethno-specific AIDS service organizations in neoliberal times. In Doan, P. (ed.), Planning and the LGBTQ community: beyond queer spaces. New York: Routledge.