Academic Specialty: Performance, Critical Race and Gender Studies, Film

Biography: Described as “[one] of Toronto’s finest dancers” (Paula Citron, Toronto Life), Shawn has worked in both commercial and artistic ventures as a performer, choreographer, producer, actor, and director. He has danced for some of Canada’s foremost contemporary choreographers including Sasha Ivanochko, Heidi Strauss, and Matjash Mrozewski among many others. Some of Shawn’s own choreographic works include Three Shades of Mood for idDANSE, FEVER for 3M Dances, and Through My Eyes, which premiered in Shanghai, China.

Currently, he is completing his PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University where his dissertation, “Unsettling Hegemonic Whiteness in Concert Dance: Praxis-based approaches in Concert Dance,” examines racial hierarchies in Canada’s arts and culture sector and their attendant nationalist multicultural paradigms. Additionally, other research and teaching interests include dis/ability in performance, popular culture, and jazz cultures in and through black, Indigenous, and trans studies. He has written for The Dance Current and has worked independently as an academic copy editor for various monographs and on special issues of the York-based journal, PUBLIC. His newest research will appear in an upcoming special issue of Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada on Race and Performance in the US-Canada Borderlands. His article, “Racializing Spectatorship: Shifting Contexts, Fixed Perspectives,” examines the ways in which black queer masculinities have the capacity to unravel “Canadian values” of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity through analyzing spectatorship in both concert dance and activist contexts. Shawn teaches in the Department of Gender Studies and the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s and also in the Department of Dance at York University.