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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 at Ryerson, 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 interests

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

Books Edited:

  • Raw: PrEP, Pedagogy, and the Politics of Barebacking. Regina: University of Regina Press (Fall 2019)

Special Issues of Journals Edited:

  • Editor, “Queer Political Theologies,” a special issue. Gay and Lesbian Quarterly v.27, n. 1, co-edited with David K. Seitz and Fan Wu (Forthcoming – Fall 2020)
  • Editor, “Porn on the Couch: Sex, Psychoanalysis, and Screen Cultures/Memories,” a special issue. Porn Studies v.6, n. 1 (Spring 2019)
  • Editor, “AIDS and Memory,” a special issue. Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture v. 13, n. 2 (Fall 2016)
  • Editor, “Ruin,” a special issue. Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture v. 11, n. 2 (Fall 2014)

Chapters in Books:

  • “Mourning and Mediation: On Erika DeFreitas’s A Visual Vocabulary for Hands in Mourning.” Co-authored with Francisco-Fernando Granados. Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada, ed. Deanna Bowen (Fall 2019)
  • “Barebacking and Historical Time.” Pornographies: Critical Positions, eds. Katherine Harrison and Cassie Ogden. Chester, UK: University of Chester Press (Summer 2018)

Papers in Refereed Journals:

  • “Confluences: Of War Porn and Nationalism, at the Limits of Memory.” Porn Studies for a special issue on “South Asian Pornographies: Vernacular Formations of the Permissive and the Obscene,” eds. Darshana Sreedhar Mini and Anirban Kapil Baishya (Spring 2019)
  • “Sex/work.” Porn Studies for a special issue on “Porn and Labour,” eds. Rebecca Sullivan and Jiz Lee, v. 3, n. 2 (Summer 2016)
  • “Living in the Future Anterior: Autobiography and Trauma in the work of Vincent Chevalier and Francisco-Fernando Granados.” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture for a special issue on “Unorthodox Autobiographies,” ed. Matthew Ryan Smith, v. 15, n. 1 (Spring 2015)
  • “The Time of Camp, Or Camp as Ruin: Vincent Chevalier, the Portrait of a Young Man as an Artist.” The Word Hoard, v. 1, n. 3 (Spring 2015)
  • “Different Strokes: Translation and Alterity in Gerhard Richter’s Diptychs.” Modern Horizons Issue 5 (Summer 2014)
  • “Opening the Tomb: Supernature, Beautiful Decay, and Ruination.” Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture for a special issue on “Supernature,” ed. Celina Jeffery, v. 9, n. 1 (Summer 2012)

Book Reviews:

  • Book Review, on Making Sex Public, and Other Cinematic Fantasies by Damon R. Young, PUBLIC n. 59 (Fall 2019)
  •  “Time is the Longest Distance between Two Places,” on Night Charge Extra by Akhil Katyal, Cerebration (Spring 2019)
  • Nonfiction Book Review, on Breaking Boundaries: LGBTQ Writers on Coming Out and Into Canada by Lori Shwydky (ed.), The Malahat Review No. 205 (Winter 2018)
  • “How to Tell a Shattered Story about the Atomic Bomb?” on Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir by Julie Salverson, Topia v. 39 (Fall 2018)
  • Book Review, on Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus by Jonathan A. Allan, University of Toronto Quarterly v. 87, n. 3 (Summer 2018)
  • “Can Melancholia Speak?: On Maps for the Modern Subject,” on Affective Mappings: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism by Jonathan Flatley, Reviews in Cultural Theory v. 1, n. 2 (Spring 2010)

Non-Refereed Publications:

  • Exhibition Review, on Hold Everything Dear: Hajra Waheed at The Power Plant (Toronto), September 20, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Art Asia Pacific (Spring 2020)
  • Exhibition Review, on While I Sleep: Indu Antony at OCAD University, inaugural IArts Artist-in-Residence Program (Toronto), October 15 – 18, 2019. Rungh (Fall 2019)
  • Exhibition Review, on Blur: Sandra Brewster at Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), July 24, 2019 – March 29, 2020. Peripheral Review (Fall 2019)
  • Exhibition Review, on duet: Jack Bush and Francisco-Fernando Granados at Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa), May 18, 2019 – September 22, 2019. Canadian Art, issue “Undoing Painting” (Fall 2019)
  • Exhibition Review, on Unvanishing Traces, group show curated by Sanjit Dhillon and Vince Rozario at Xpace Culture Centre (Toronto), October 26, 2018 – December 1, 2018. esse arts + opinions, issue “Conflict” (Spring 2019)
  • Editorial, “An Orgasm by Any Other Name.” Porn Studies for a special issue on “Porn on the Couch: Sex, Psychoanalysis, and Screen Cultures/Memories,” v. 6, n. 1 (Spring 2019)
  • Entry, on Akhil Katyal’s “My Grandfather” for “The Poem That Won’t Leave You Alone,” v. 2. at Length (Fall 2018)
  • Exhibition Review, on Scotiabank CONTACT Feature Exhibition: Angela Grauerholz at Olga Korper Gallery (Toronto), April 28, 2018 – June 2, 2018. C Magazine, issue “Trust” (Fall 2018)
  • Essay, “There and Here.” Canadian Art, issue “Translation” (Summer 2018)
  • Essay, “Black Queer Grief in Michèle Pearson Clarke’s Parade of Champions.” esse arts + opinions, issue 91 (Fall 2017)
  • Curatorial Essay, “Gestural Lamentations: The Anonymous and the Irrational.” In the artist’s book towards a minor abstraction (Translation) by Francisco-Fernando Granados, presented by /edition (Summer 2017)
  • Editorial, “At 35: Writing the Viral Bildungsroman.” Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture for a special issue on “AIDS and Memory,” v. 13, n. 2 (Fall 2016)
  • Interview, “Repetition, Pleasure, Mourning: A Conversation between Francisco-Fernando Granados and Ricky Varghese.” No More Potlucks for a special issue on “Repetition,” ed. Michèle Pearson Clarke (Fall 2016)
  • Curatorial Essay, “’We, the masters, are not home.’: Between Provenance and Endings, Liminality.” In conjunction with the exhibition “Lucie Chan and Jérôme Havre: Liminal” presented by Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Summer 2016)
  • Curatorial Essay, “The Cure by Image.” In conjunction with the exhibition “Proof 22,” presented by Gallery 44: Centre for Contemporary Photography (Summer 2015)
  • Essay, “The Sadness of Doors and Mirrors: Longing in the work of Abdi Osman and Joshua Vettivelu.” KAPSULA Magazine, v. 2 theme 3, n. 2 (Spring 2015)
  • Editorial, “On Ruined Time and Space.” Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture for a special issue on “Ruin,” v. 11, n. 2 (Fall 2014)
  • Curatorial statement regarding artist Henning Rogge’s Bombenkrater series. Drain – A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture for a special issue on “Ruin,” v. 11, n. 2 (Fall 2014)
  • Blog Essay, “Between Appropriation and Entrapment, the Refugee and the Ruin: Notes on the Uncanny and the Cartography of Absence in Francisco-Fernando Granados’s The Ballad of _______ B.” In conjunction with HATCH 2014 curated by Michael Wheeler and Aislinn Rose, the Harbourfront Centre’s annual performance arts residency program (Spring 2014)
  • Introduction for program booklet, “The Elliptical is Ethical.” In conjunction with the exhibition “.sight.specific.” curated by Francisco-Fernando Granados, 2013 Emerging Artists Series presented by FADO Performance Art Centre (Spring 2013)