Annie Potts

"Diversity means recognising, respecting, valuing and promoting the myriad ways that humans live in and experience this world."

Annie_Potts

Contact details

Email: annie.potts@canterbury.ac.nz

Introduction

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou. Ko Annie tōku ingoa. I am the Head of the Cultural Studies Programme in the College of Arts, and Co-Director of UC’s New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies. I am also the Equity and Diversity representative on CEDAC for the College of Arts. My first career was as a mental health nurse, working on crisis teams in central Auckland. I have a PhD in Psychology, and since 2000 I have been teaching at UC in areas such as Feminism and Psychology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Cultural Studies and Human-Animal Studies. I have worked on the collective for Rape Crisis and in 2014 I received an Assisi Award from the SPCA for services to animal advocacy in Aotearoa.  I learn te reo Māori at Hagley College under the awesome tutorage of Regan Stokes.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means recognising, respecting, valuing and promoting the myriad ways that humans live in and experience this world. The key word here is ‘respect’ – especially respect for difference. For me, diversity also extends beyond the human world: I believe in acknowledging, respecting and valuing the lives of other species that we share this planet with, and the landscapes and environments we all inhabit.   

What role does diversity play in your work?

In my teaching (and research) about sexuality, gender, class or ethnic difference, or about our relationships with other species, I employ an intersectional political approach. Intersectionality is an analytic framework that examines how various forms of social stratification such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, age and ability do not exist separately from each other, but are complexly interwoven. While initially formulated to explore human experiences of oppression and marginalization, intersectional theory has more recently incorporated a more ecofeminist approach which includes the category of ‘species’  in existing forms of oppression.

My teaching and research is informed by ecofeminist perspectives.

As a former mental health professional, and someone who has experienced anxiety and depression in my own life, I have a particular interest in advocacy for those who are suffering from psychological distress.

What diversity activities have you been involved in?

I am currently the Equity and Diversity representative on CEDAC for the College of Arts.

I also organize and chair the Arts Equity and Diversity Working Group. Recently, along with Kathleen Quinlivan, I set up the Arts/Education Postgraduate Sexuality and Gender Group for students completing research projects in this area. With Douglas Horrell I developed the LGBTQIA+ webpage for CoA students and staff.

I am a member of the 2018-2020 UC Equity and Diversity Plan Working Group.

In 2017 I participated in the Diversity Festival by offering a public lecture on Intersectionality.

In 2018 I spoke on Feminism and Animals at the UC’s Veg*n Club’s Meat-Free May festival, and at Burnside Highschool’s ‘Into Motion’ Feminist Hui.

I am also the conference organizer for the Australasian Animal Studies Association’s 2019 Conference to be held in Ōtautahi, called “Decolonizing Animals”.