Emilia Nielsen holds a PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from the University of British Columbia, a MA in English from the University of New Brunswick and a BFA in Writing from the University of Victoria. She was a Teaching Fellow at Quest University in Squamish, BC from 2013-2015. Dr. Nielsen joined the University of Alberta’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies as a Full-Time Instructor in 2015-2017. Throughout 2017-2018, Emilia will be a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. On July 1 2018, Dr. Nielsen joined York University’s Department of Social Science as Assistant Professor of Arts, Medicine and Healing in the Health & Society Program.
Emilia’s primary area of research is feminist cultural studies with an emphasis in life writing and specific attention on breast cancer and queer disability. Through an intersectional feminist framework, this research explores the body, narrative and social justice. It insists on rethinking the power of personal stories, not only in the field of gender, sexuality and women’s studies, but also in contemporary cultural life in a historical moment where we are instructed to “tell your story.” Moreover, this research considers how personal narratives can illuminate larger social justice issues located at the intersections of gender, race ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality and ability. Overwhelmingly, Emilia explores the making of collective knowledge and investigates where disruptive stories impress upon institutions such as medicine and academia and, in so doing, have the potential to engender creative resistance. Her academic writing has appeared in diverse scholarly journals such as Re-public: Re-imagining Democracy, Canadian Woman Studies, Performance Research, Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature and Disability Studies Quarterly. In 2019, her first scholarly book, Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives: Stories of Rage and Repair, was published by the University of Toronto Press.
Her poetry has appeared across Canada in literary journals including: The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Event, Descant, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Prairie Fire, Room Magazine, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry by PRISM international. She has attended writing residencies at The Banff Centre, Sage Hill Summer Poetry Colloquium, and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Summer Artists and Writers Colony at the University of Saskatchewan’s Kenderdine Campus at Emma Lake. Her debut collection of poetry, Surge Narrows (Leaf Press, 2013), was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, granted by the League of Canadian Poets. Her second collection of poetry, Body Work (Signature Editions, 2018), was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award and the League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Memorial Award.
Opportunities to research, write, study and travel were made possible by financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of British Columbia, the British Columbia Arts Council, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Victoria, Quest University, the University of Alberta, the Canada Council for the Arts and, most recently, the Edmonton Arts Council. Currently, Emilia’s research-creation and creative writing projects are supported by the Access Copyright Foundation’s Marian Hebb Research Grant, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts and, most recently, York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the Office of Research Services.
Emilia is a member of the following literary and scholarly professional organizations: The League of Canadian Poets, Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes and the Canadian Association for Health Humanities.