Making (a) difference: the political geographies of ethno-specific organising in Toronto’s HIV/AIDS social service sector

My doctoral research explores the tangled relationship between racial and sexual politics by exploring the emergence of HIV/AIDS service organisations (ASOs) that serve specific ethno-racial communities in Toronto. Based on an in-depth investigation of the genealogies, philosophies and practices of three ‘ethno-specific ASOs’, my research explores the organisational and lived geographies of social service organising. I am interested in the formation of solidaristic and agonistic relations between ethno-specific organisations and within the sector, as well as the material and affective experiences of racialised workers and clients of these ASOs.

Spectres of invisibility: Filipino/a lives in Canada

I am a founding member of the Kritikal Kolektibo, an interdisciplinary network of scholars who are interested in developing Filipino/a Studies in Canada. I am in the editorial team for a book project that compiles emerging research on Filipino/a lives in the Canadian context. My own Filipino-Canadian studies research focuses on the politics of immigrant belonging in multicultural contexts. I have written and presented papers on violence against Filipino youth in Canadian cities as well as on the emergence of transnational circuits of capital, knowledge and affect between Filipinos in the diaspora and elsewhere.

Social justice and the creative city

This research is done in collaboration with Dr. Deborah Leslie through the Cultural Economy Lab at the University of Toronto. Debby and I are in the process of thinking through and writing about the place of ‘social justice’ and ‘difference’ in theorisations and policy formulations of the ‘creative city’ idea. We are particularly interested in the uses of sexuality and racialisation in creative city policy. We have also researched and published on the governance of Liberty Village, an emerging cultural district in Toronto’s downtown west.


Leslie, D. and Catungal, J.P. (Forthcoming). Social justice and the creative city: class, gender and racial inequalities. Geography Compass.

Catungal, J.P. and McCann, E.J. (2010). Governing sexuality and park space: acts of regulation in Vancouver, BC. Social and Cultural Geography, 11(1): 75-94.

Catungal, J.P. and Leslie, D. (2009) Placing power in the creative city: governmentalities and subjectivities in Liberty Village, Toronto. Environment and Planning A, 41: 2576-2594.

Catungal, J.P., Leslie, D. and Hii, Y. (2009). Geographies of displacement in the creative city: the case of Liberty Village, Toronto. Urban Studies, 46(5&6): 1095-1114.

Coloma, R., McElhinny, B., Tungohan, E., Catungal, J.P., and Davidson, L. (In press, 2012). Filipinos in Canada: disturbing invisibility. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

McElhinny, B., Davidson, L., Catungal, J.P., Tungohan, E., and Coloma, R. (in press, 2012). Spectres of in/visibility: Filipina/o labour, culture and youth in Canada. In Coloma, (eds.), Filipinos in Canada: disturbing invisibility.

Catungal, J.P. (In press, 2012). Scales of violence from the body to the globe: slain Filipino youth in Canadian cities. In Coloma, (eds.), Filipinos in Canada: disturbing invisibility.

Catungal, J.P. (2011). Circulating Western notions: implicating myself in the transnational traffic of ‘progress’ and commodities. In Wane, N.N., Kempf, A. and Simmons, M. (eds.), The Politics of Cultural Knowledge, pp. 23-46. Rotterdam/Boston: Sense Publishers.

Catungal, J.P. (Forthcoming). Safe houses in contact zones: genealogies and geographies of ethno-specific AIDS service organizations in the global multicultural city. Comparative Program on Health and Society Working Paper Series.

Oswin, N., Rouhani, F., Winders, J., Olund, E., Catungal, J.P., Saldanhu, A. and McWhorter, L. (2011). Book review panel: Ladelle McWhorter’s “Racism and Sexual Oppression in Anglo-America”. Social and Cultural Geography, 12(3): 319-329. (E)

Catungal, J.P. and Leslie, D. (2009). Editorial: Contesting the creative city: race, nation, multiculturalism. Geoforum, 40: 701-704.


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last updatefeb 2012
John Paul Catungal

Traversing urban, social and political geographies, my work explores the intensely spatial organisation of social differentiation and inequality. My research follows three strands:

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Research Interests