Recent PhD Graduate Paulina Garcia Del Moral to begin new position at the University of Guelph

Paulina Garcia del MoralRecent graduate Paulina García Del Moral will be starting a new position as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology this January at the University of Guelph. Paulina completed her dissertation, Feminicidio, Transnational Legal Activism and State Responsibility in Mexico, in 2015 under the supervision of Professors Anna Korteweg (co-supervisor), Ron Levi (co-supervisor) and Karen Knop (Faculty of Law).

Paulina’s dissertation focuses on the response of the Mexican state to feminicidio in the context of transnational feminist activism. Femicide refers to the misogynous killing of women. Extending this concept, the term feminicidio (feminicide) emerged in Mexico to emphasize the complicity of the state in this violence by tolerating its impunity and sustaining intersecting structural gender and class inequalities. The dissertation examines how feminicidio, as a Mexican feminist frame and legal innovation, transformed domestic and international conceptualizations of women’s human rights and state responsibility for gender violence. Some of this research has been published in Current Sociology and AJIL Unbound.

The following is the abstract of her dissertation:

This dissertation uses the concept of transnational legal activism (Santos 2008) to analyze the mobilization of international human rights law as a multi-scalar process that produces and is shaped by gendered political and discursive opportunities. I apply this framework to examine how feminist grassroots activists engaged in this process by focusing on the case of González and Others “Cotton Field” v. Mexico, decided in 2009 at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). This landmark case concerns the abduction and sexual murder of three young women in Ciudad Juárez, an industrial city bordering the United States where hundreds of marginalized women have been killed since the 1990s. These murders epitomize what Mexican feminist scholars and activists identified as feminicidio, the systematic killing of women in a context of institutionalized gender discrimination sanctioned by the state. The Court ruled that Mexico had failed to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate, and punish these feminicidios. It also declared, for the first time, that the state’s institutional failure to respond to such violence constitutes gender discrimination. Against this background, the dissertation investigates how federal and local state actors responded to grassroots activists’ claims and the “Cotton Field” judgment, including the criminalization of feminicidio. The dissertation draws on interviews with 12 Mexican activists and frame analysis of the “Cotton Field” case, related materials, and 284 federal and local parliamentary debates. My analysis illustrates how gender pervades state and supranational institutions, as well as law itself, hindering or facilitating both the adoption of feminist strategies to combat gender violence and the transformation of the meaning of state responsibility at the domestic and supranational levels. Throughout, I highlight the agency of feminist grassroots actors as they engaged in transnational legal activism. I thus challenge assumptions in the literature on human rights and social movements that imply that grassroots actors have a limited access to international law and to avenues to participate in transnational advocacy. Last, I suggest that the actions of Mexican grassroots activists extend a Latin American approach to international human rights law.

As a graduate student, Paulina received a number of honours, including the University of Toronto’s Connaught Scholarship for incoming international doctoral students, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. She also received the Outstanding Graduating Student Award (University of Toronto) from the Canadian Sociological Association. During her time at the Department, Paulina valued being part of a vibrant intellectual community of scholars. Working closely with her supervisors and mentors contributed to her academic and professional development, as did the support of other faculty and graduate students.

After graduating, Paulina took up a SSHRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology and the Center for Research on Gender & Women at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. There, she worked with Professor Myra Marx Ferree, participated actively in the Department’s brown bags, the Center’s lecture series, and was an invited speaker at events like the Wisconsin International Law Journal symposium on “Regional Human Rights Systems in Crisis,” among others. In addition, Paulina taught a 4th year course on Human Rights in Law & Society for the Center for Law, Society & Justice. Paulina’s post-doctoral work extended her research focus on state responses to gender violence and transnational feminist activism to the murders of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. An article based on this work is forthcoming in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society. Paulina also conducted additional fieldwork in Mexico to carry out a more in-depth analysis of the contested process of the federal and local criminalization of feminicidio.

At the University of Guelph, Paulina will join the faculty of Sociology and Anthropology and teach in their collaborative Crime & Criminal Justice Policy/Criminal Justice & Public Policy programs. Paulina will be teaching a graduate seminar on Diversity & Social Inequality, and undergraduate courses in Law & Society, Gender, and Violence & Society. She will also expand her research agenda to explore the criminalization of the killing of women either as feminicidio or its related concept, femicide (femicidio), in other Latin American countries and the context of the European Union. Paulina is interested in examining both the transnational travel/competition of feminist knowledges, and the relationship between impunity and carceral politics as states implement human rights as a feminist policy instrument to respond to gender violence.

We wish Paulina all the best as she embarks on this next stage of her career.

U of T at the 2016 ASA

University of Toronto Sociology at the Annual Meeting of the 2016 American Sociological Association

Our Sociology faculty members and graduate students are very active with the American Sociological Association, with over 60 of them appearing in this year’s program either as presented or an organizer of a panel. See the program for more information. Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, August 20

Irene Boeckmann

Fatherhood and Breadwinning: Race and Class Differences in First-time Fathers’ Long-term Employment Patterns

Monica Boyd; Naomi Lightman

Gender, Nativity and Race in Care Work: The More Things Change….

Clayton Childress

I Don’t Make Objects, I Make Projects: Selling Things and Selling Selves in Contemporary Art-making

Jennifer Jihye Chun

Globalizing the Grassroots: Care Worker Organizing and the Redefinition of 21st Century Labour Politics

Paulina Garcia del Moral

Feminicidio, Transnational Human Rights Advocacy and Transnational Legal Activism

Phil Goodman

Conservative Politics, Sacred Crows, and Sacrificial Lambs: The Role of ‘Evidence’ During Canada’s Prison Farm Closures

Josee Johnston

Spitting that Real vs. Keeping It Misogynistic: Hip-Hop, Class, and Masculinity in New Food Media

Andrew Miles

Measuring Automatic Cognition: Practical Advances for Sociological Research Using Dual-process Models

Atsushi Narisada

Palatable Unjust Desserts: How Procedural Justice Weakens the Pain of Perceived Pay Inequity

David Nicholas Pettinicchio

The Universalizing Effects of Unionism: Policy, Inequality and Disability

Markus H. Schafer

Social Networks and Mastery after Driving Cessation: A Gendered Life Course Approach

Lawrence Hamilton Williams

Active Intuition: The Patterned Spontaneity of Decision-making


Sunday, August 21

Sida Liu

The Elastic Ceiling: Gender and Professional Career in Chinese Courts

Jonathan Tomas Koltai; Scott Schieman; Ronit Dinovitzer

Status-based Stress Exposure and Well-being in the Legal Profession

Andrew Miles

Turf Wars of Truly Understanding Culture? Moving Beyond Isolation and Importation to Genuine Cross-disciplinary Engagement

Melissa A. Milkie

Time Deficits with Children: The Relationship to Mothers’ and Fathers’ Mental and Physical Health

Diana Lee Miller

Sustainable and Unsustainable Semi-Professionalism: Grassroots Music Careers in Folk and Metal

Ito Peng

Care and Migration Policies in Japan and South Korea

Scott Schieman; Atsushi Narisada

Under-rewarded Boss: Gender, Workplace Power, and the Distress of Perceived Pay Inequity


Monday, August 22

Salina Abji

Because Deportation is Violence Against Women: On the Politics of State Responsibility and Women’s Human Rights

Holly Campeau

The Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Blueville War: Policing, Standards, and Cultural Match

Bahar Hashemi

Canadian Newspaper Representations of Family violence among Immigrant Communities: Analyzing Shifts Over Time

Vanina Leschziner

The American Fame Game: Academic Status and Public Renown in Post-war Social Sciences

Ron Levi; Ioana Vladescu

The Structure of Claims after Atrocity: Justifications, Values, and Proposals from the Holocaust Swiss Banks Litigation

Patricia Louie

Whose Body Matters? Representations of Race and Skin Colour in Medical Textbooks

William Magee; Laura Upenieks

Supervisory Level and Anger About Work

Maria M. Majerski

The Economic Integration of Immigrants: Social Networks, Social Capital, and the Impact of Gender

Melissa A. Milkie

You Must Work Hard: Changes in U.S. Adults’ Values for Children 1986-2012

Jean-Francois Nault

Education, Religion, and Identity in French Ontario: A Case Study of French-language Catholic School Choice

Merin Oleschuk; Blair Wheaton

The Relevance of Women’s Income on Household Gender Inequality Across Class and National Context

David Nicholas Pettinicchio

Punctuated Incrementalism: How American Disability Rights Policymaking Sheds Light on Institutional Continuity and Change


Tuesday, Aug. 23

Katelin Albert

Making the Classroom, Making Sex Ed: A School-based Ethnography of Ontario’s Sexual Health Classrooms

Catherine Man Chuen Cheng

Constructing Immigrant Citizen-subjects in Exceptional States: Governmentality and Chinese Marriage Migrants in Taiwan and HongKong

Hae Yeon Choo

Maternal Guardians: Intimate Labor, Migration, and the Pursuit of Gendered Citizenship in South Korea

Bonnie H. Erickson

Multiple Pathways to Ethnic Social Capitals

  1. Omar Faruque

Confronting Capital: The Limits of Transnational Activism and Human Rights-based CSR Initiatives

Elise Maiolino

I’m not Male, not White, Want to Start There?: Identity Work in Toronto’s Mayoral Election

Jaime Nikolaou

Commemorating Morgentaler? Reflections on Movement Leadership, 25 Years Later

Kristie O’Neill

Traditional Beneficiaries: Trade Bans, Exemptions, and Morality Embodied in Diets

Matthew Parbst; Blair Wheaton

The Buffering Role of the Welfare State on SES differences in Depression

Luisa Farah Schwartzman

Brazilian Lives Matter, and what Race and the United States Got to do With it

Daniel Silver

Visual Social Thought

Laura Upenieks

Beyond America? Cross-national Contexts and Religious versus Secular Membership Effects on Self-rated Health

Barry Wellman

Older Adults Networking On and Off Digital Media: Initial Findings from the Fourth East York Study

Blair Wheaton; Patricia Joy Louie

A New Perspective on Maternal Employment and Child Mental Health: A Cautionary Tale

Tony Huiquan Zhang

Weather Effects on Social Movements: Evidence from Washington D.C. and New York City, 1960-1995