Emily Thomas, B.A. Hons. (St. Thomas University, 2014), is a graduate student in the Sexuality Hub: Integrating Feminist Theory (SHiFT) lab, supervised by Dr. Maria Gurevich. She is currently finishing her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University and will be continuing in the PhD program in the fall. Her current research adopts a discourse analytic approach to challenge taken for granted assumptions about sex and to explore women’s accounts of what counts as sex, what makes for good and bad sex, and how consent and desire are negotiated both psychologically and relationally.
Emily’s research interests are rooted in critical and feminist post-structuralist approaches to exploring sexual identities, negotiations of consent, desire and agency in sexual relationships, and experiences of sexual violence.
Emily’s academic journey in critical psychology began during her undergraduate degree and was sparked by her job at a sexual assault center; working in an entirely feminist space felt like finding the personal and theoretical home that she had been searching for. She began her undergraduate degree torn between her fascination with linguistics and deep interest in psychology, ultimately pursuing psychology. Emily’s first research experiences were in a psychophysiological lab, and while she developed a profound interest in research, there were many aspects of mainstream psychology that created a dissonance difficult to reconcile with her personal and political values. Her growing interest in feminist theory and sexuality led her to pursue an honours thesis with Drs. Monika Stelzl and Michelle Lafrance (St. Thomas University), who facilitated her first formal introduction to critical psychology and continue to provide guidance and mentorship. Critical qualitative psychology offered the opportunity to work at the intersection of psychology and linguistics, and to address the questions she was interested in exploring (around consent and desire broadly) in a way that felt most meaningful. Emily feels very fortunate to continue her studies under the mentorship of Dr. Gurevich and to have become a member of the SHiFT lab working alongside like-minded individuals who challenge her to think deeply, inspire significant growth, and create a supportive and intellectually nourishing environment.