PROFile: Interdisciplinary Sociologist

Kristen Hardy, instructor in religion and culture, sociology, disability studies and women’s and gender studies at the U of W

(Supplied photo)

When Kristen Hardy started her undergraduate degree, she immediately knew she wanted to be an academic and a professor.

“I just felt like this was my place. This was where I wanted to be,” Hardy says.

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree and master of arts in religion at the University of Manitoba, Hardy spent a year exploring other topics by auditing courses and found she wanted to do interdisciplinary work.

Hardy got her PhD candidacy for the graduate program in social and political thought at York University but started teaching when an opportunity arose at Brandon University.

Hardy currently teaches Disabilities, Sexualities, and Rights; Theorizing Disability; and Sexuality in the Religious Context at the University of Winnipeg (U of W). Her courses are in the Departments of Disability Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies and Religion and Culture, and she has also taught sociology and anthropology at the U of W.

“I still tend to identify myself as an interdisciplinary sociologist, because I think, in some senses, that’s my closest discipline – although it’s probably the closest discipline because it’s so broad,” Hardy says.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

“I really like the fact that I learn through doing it – especially when I’m teaching new courses, but even when I’m teaching more familiar material.”

Hardy also loves engaging with what she’s passionate about and sharing that passion with others.

“Most of those things are in some way connected with social justice. (I get to) talk about those things with others, talk about my passion for those things with others.”

If you could create a dream course, what would that be?

“I would really love to teach a course on madness. I certainly would enjoy teaching something in fat studies, which is a big research area of mine, as well. I don’t know that I could confine my interest to one dream course. One of the things I do like about teaching as a sessional instructor is that I get to dip my toes into many different areas in each discipline. It forces you to think differently, to engage with different types of literature, different theory, to think about similar questions but from different perspectives.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

“I would love the ability to remove people’s suffering – to heal people from whatever they regard as suffering in their life.”

Published in Volume 76, Number 09 of The Uniter (November 12, 2021)

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