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New Member Feature Kamal Dhillon

Kamal Dhillon

Kamal Dhillon is a recent graduate (2021) of the Cultural Studies (Texts & Cultures) MA program at the University of Winnipeg. She also received her undergrad and education degrees at the University of Winnipeg in 2016, majoring in English. She currently works full-time as a high school English Language Arts teacher in Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks School Division. Her professional and scholarly interests are focused on Critical Literacy, Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy and Decolonial Methodologies.

Learn more about Kamal from the short interview we conducted with her below: 

CRiCS: What brought you to academia and, more specifically, Cultural Studies?
Kamal: I was drawn to the Cultural Studies MA program because of its multidisciplinary approach to theoretical frameworks and methodologies that are applicable to education. As a teacher, I wanted to improve my research skills and my ability to think critically about arts and culture through the lens of power and privilege. I believed that Cultural Studies would help me better understand how texts are produced and consumed in a globalized world, which would enrich my own teaching practice.

CRiCS: What are your areas of research interest? 
Kamal: I am most interested in focusing on the relations between critical theory, critical pedagogy, and decolonial methodologies to understand the complex and nuanced relationship between theory, culture, and education in a Canadian context. I believe it is embedded in my praxis as an educator to understand how forces and structures of power, privilege, and agency contribute to systems of oppression, including how power is produced and disseminated through texts that are taught in schools.

CRiCS: What have you gained from your time in Cultural Studies and as a student member of CRiCS?
Kamal: During my time in the Cultural Studies program, I feel that I most improved in my ability to recognize and apply various research methods in my work, especially decolonial methodologies. I also took classes that furthered my knowledge in fields I had very little prior exposure to, including but not limited to memory and museum studies, film studies, post-humanism, and waste-colonialism. I have been able to apply my research on critical and anti-colonial pedagogies by implementing concrete practices in my classroom, and I have shared several teaching strategies backed by current research with my colleagues through divisional publications that feature writing I completed during my MA program.

CRiCS: What research projects are you currently working on or plan to work on in the future?
Kamal: Currently I am working as a research assistant on a project titled “Remembrance Practice After the 1985 Air India Bombings” with Dr. Angela Failler. I am focusing specifically on how the bombings resonated in Manitoba.

CRiCS: Why do you think it’s important to have intellectual community and the opportunities for research collaboration that CRiCS might offer?
Kamal: I believe that it is important to be part of an intellectual community, especially as a graduate student, so that you are aware of conferences and other academic events that tie into your research interests, you can connect with mentors to help support your research and writing, and you are inspired by calls for papers to continuously engage in writing that ties into your interests. Even as a member on the periphery of the CRiCS group I feel that I have access to people and resources that will support my academic pursuits if ever needed. 

See more from Kamal by checking out her piece "Family of Four Found Frozen."