Gagnon, Monika Kin

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Gagnon, Monika Kin


Daughter of Charles Gagnon (an artist and filmmaker). Education: Concordia University, B.A.; York University, M.A.; Simon Fraser University, Ph.D.


Office—Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke St. W., CJ 3.230, 3rd Fl., Montreal, Quebec H4B 1R6, Canada.


Writer, lecturer, critic, curator, and educator. Concordia University, associate professor.


(With Grant Arnold and Doreen Jensen), Topographies: Aspects of Recent B.C. Art, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1996.

Other Conundrums: Race, Culture, and Canadian Art, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.

(With Richard Fung) Thirteen Conversations about Art and Cultural Race Politics, Artextes Editions (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2002.

Author's works have been translated into French.

Contributor to books, including Like Mangoes in July: Richard Fung, edited by Helen Lee and Kerri Sakamoto, Insomniac Press & Images (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002; Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Plug-In Editions (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), 2003; and Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including Canadian Journal of Communication, Cahiers du Gerse, and Parachute 111. Parallelogramme, coeditor.


Writer, cultural critic, and educator Monika Kin Gagnon is an associate professor at Concordia University, where she teaches "in the areas of race, ethnicity and gender in media, alternative media, and the cultural effects of globalization," she stated on the Concordia University Department of Communication Studies Web site. Gagnon's book Other Conundrums: Race, Culture, and Canadian Art contains a collection of eleven essays that represents "a portion of the author's considerable body of writing and critical interventions in the articulations of race and visual culture in Canada over the past decade," commented a reviewer in the Canadian Journal of Communication. An important Canadian cultural critic since the early 1980s, Gagnon "has occupied positions of both observer and participant in the Canadian cultural scene and weaves those perspectives together into strikingly perceptive and complex discussions of the mobilization of race in contemporary Canadian culture," the Canadian Journal of Communication reviewer noted.

Gagnon analyzes culture and race in Canadian art within two broad areas, noted the Canadian Journal of Communication reviewer: "artists whose work engages with racial politics through a consideration of identity and representation, and the refusal of cultural institutions to acknowledge and address the racism inherent in their own structures." To this end, she looks at the works of artists such as Paul Wong, Shani Mootoo, Dana Claxton, and Jamelie Hassan as important components in the formation of cultural race politics. Gagnon also looks at how issues of race and racism have been eliminated from the "discourse of many of the country's cultural institutions," the Canadian Journal of Communication reviewer stated. For example, an analysis of a four-year series of national conferences on race conducted between 1989 and 1994 reveals that many alternative organizations cannot and will not admit any complicity or role in keeping racist policies and processes alive, even though they can be easily identified. She concludes that mere symbolic gestures toward racial and cultural equality will be insufficient, and that constant vigilance remains necessary to recognize and challenge racist attitudes and procedures throughout Canadian culture. Gagnon's essays are "simultaneously caustic and tongue-in-cheek capturing the depth of complexity surrounding race, racism, and naming," commented a reviewer in Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine.



Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine, October-December, 2001, review of Other Conundrums: Race, Culture, and Canadian Art, p. 141.


Banff Centre Web site, (November 18, 2006), biography of Monika Kin Gagnon.

Canadian Journal of Communication Online, (November 18, 2006), review of Other Conundrums.

Concordia University Department of Communication Web site, (November 18, 2006), biography of Monika Kin Gagnon.*