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Ricky Varghese

Ricky Varghese

Tanis Doe Post-Doctoral Fellow in Gender, Disability, and Social Justice (2020-2022)
EducationMSW, MA, PhD
Areas of ExpertisePsychoanalysis and trauma studies, Freud, Lacan, and feminist psychoanalysis; queer theory, with a specific interest in theorizing HIV/AIDS, critical sexology, and porn studies; masculinities, critical race studies, and theories of sexual difference; death studies, historical and memory studies, rituals of mourning and practices of remembrance

I received my PhD in Sociology of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Further to my academic training, I am also professionally trained as a social worker, having acquired both my BSW (York U) and MSW (UToronto), and I run a private practice as a psychotherapist in downtown Toronto. As of September 2020, I will be entering my fourth and final year as a candidate in clinical training to become an IPA-affiliated psychoanalyst at the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis. During my tenure as a postdoctoral fellow, I hope to complete the manuscript for a book project on masculinity, suicide, and the death instinct.

I am also an associate editor for Drain: A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture and have edited a special issue of the journal on the theme of the “Ruin” which came out in the fall of 2014 and another on “AIDS and Memory,” released in the fall of 2016. I have also edited a special issue of Porn Studies on the theme “Porn on the Couch: Sex, Psychoanalysis, and Screen Cultures/Memories,” released in the spring of 2019, and am currently co-editing (along with David K. Seitz and Fan Wu) an issue of GLQ on “Queer Political Theologies,” to be released in the fall of 2020. I have also edited a collection of essays Raw: PrEP, Pedagogy, and the Politics of Barebacking (University of Regina Press, 2019). Alongside my scholarly work, I have developed a rigorous art writing practice having written about the works of artists such as Gerhard Richter, Angela Grauerholz, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Erika DeFreitas, Francisco-Fernando Granados, Hajra Waheed, Indu Antony, Shannon Te Ao, and Vincent Chevalier. My writings on art have appeared in such publications as Canadian Art, esse arts+opinions, C Magazine, Modern Horizons, Rungh, and Art Asia Pacific. I also serve on the advisory board of Critical Distance Centre for Curators in Toronto and am a member of the exhibition planning committee of Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography.

Teaching Interests:

  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Death, dying, and death studies
  • Memory studies
  • Medical humanities, theorizing HIV/AIDS, barebacking, viral contagions, and the sociology of epi/pandemics
  • Queer theory and queer of color critique
  • Aesthetics, particularly the visual representations of sex, sexualities, disabilities, and mental illnesses

Research Projects:

  • Sex and the Pandemic: A speaker series. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connections Grant, 2021

Research Interests:

  • Suicide and masculinities
  • Campus suicides, productivity, and academic pressures
  • Sexual difference and the emergence of toxic masculinity
  • Psychoanalysis and pedagogy

Books Edited:

  • Varghese, R. (in press). Sex and the Pandemic. Regina: University of Regina Press.
  • Varghese, R. (2019). Raw: PrEP, Pedagogy, and the Politics of Barebacking. Regina: University of Regina Press.

Special Issues of Journals Edited:

  • Varghese, R., Seitz, D. K., & Wu, F. (Eds.). (2021). Queer Political Theologies [Special issue]. Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, 27(1). 
  • Varghese, R. (Ed.). (2019). Porn on the Couch: Sex, Psychoanalysis, and Screen Cultures/Memories [Special issue]. Porn Studies, 6(1).
  • Varghese, R. (Ed.). (2016). AIDS and Memory [Special issue]. Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, 13(2).
  • Varghese, R. (Ed.). (2014). Ruin [Special issue]. Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, 11(2). 

Chapters in Books:

  • Varghese, R. (in press). Loved to Death. Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.
  • Varghese, R., & Granados, F. F. (2019). Mourning and Mediation: On Erika DeFreitas’s A Visual Vocabulary for Hands in Mourning. In D. Bowen (Ed.), Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada. Toronto: Media Arts Network of Ontario.
  • Varghese, R. (2018). Barebacking and Historical Time. In K. Harrison & C. Ogden (Eds.), Pornographies: Critical Positions. Chester, UK: University of Chester Press (Summer 2018)

Select Papers in Refereed Journals:

  • Varghese, R. (2020). Confluences: of war porn and nationalism, at the limits of memory. Porn Studies, 7(1), 132-137.
  • Varghese, R. (2016). Sex/work. Porn Studies, 3(2), 191-194.
  • Varghese, R. (2015). Living in the future anterior: trauma and autobiography in the work of Vincent Chevalier and Francisco-Fernando Granados. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 15(1).
  • Varghese, R. (2015). The Time of Camp, or, Camp as Ruin: Vincent Chevalier, the Portrait of a Young Man as an Artist. The Word Hoard, 1(3).

Select Book Reviews:

  • Varghese, R. (2019). Making Sex Public And Other Cinematic Fantasies by Damon R. Young. Public, 30(59), 207-209.
  • Varghese, R. (2019). “Time is the Longest Distance between Two Places,” on Night Charge Extra by Akhil Katyal. Cerebration.
  • Varghese, R. (2018). Breaking Boundaries: LGBTQ Writers on Coming Out and Into Canada by Lori Shwydky (ed.). The Malahat Review (205).
  • Varghese, R. (2018). “How to Tell a Shattered Story about the Atomic Bomb?” on Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir by Julie Salverson. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 167-172.
  • Varghese, R. (2018). Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus by Jonathan A. Allan. University of Toronto Quarterly, 87(3), 351-353.

Select Non-Refereed Publications: