My name is Nerida and I am PhD candidate in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. My doctoral research is a critical exploration of marriage that interrogates compulsory monogamy and the economic and social privileging of the romantic dyad though the BC Supreme Court Charter Reference on Polygamy that was conducted in 2011 to determine whether the criminalization of polygamy was consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Marriage, as an agent of social control and a colonizing force in Western society, has undergone significant change over the last twenty years resulting in the legal inclusion of same-sex couples. Underscoring this fundamental shift is an allegiance to the principles of monogamy and the social ideal that the “natural” building block of society are sexual dyadic partnerships centred on romantic love.
My research situates the Charter Reference within an ongoing history of marriage, moral crusades and “moral panics” in Canada with an emphasis on disentangling the racialized and gendered regimes of power that reside at the intersection of law, gender, sexuality and race.