Prerna Subramanian wins 2020 Mandelbaum Fellowship for PhD level of study

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TORONTO – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Henry Mandelbaum Fellowship at the PhD level of study is Prerna Subramanian from Queen’s University.

“The Mandelbaum Fellowship recognizes graduate students who combine exceptional scholarship with deep engagement in their communities,” said Susan Wurtele, Vice-President of OCUFA. “Each year, we receive many excellent applications, and this year was no exception. With this award, we are pleased to recognize Prerna Subramanian’s scholarship, activism, and work as a community leader.”

As a doctoral candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, Prerna is exploring the tensions between race, sexuality, location, and visual narratives. Using a critical lens, her research interrogates the production of spatial relations around the public toilet by considering how representations of transgender and non-binary communities in India are taken up in newspaper reports, advertising, and online videos. Her research aims to contribute to the resistance in India against ongoing systems of oppression and marginalization of queer and transgender people.

Prerna’s academic work builds on her remarkable leadership and advocacy with sexual minority and gender justice groups, both within academia and civil society more broadly. Her contributions have ranged from activist cultural production (plays, poetry, visual art) to participating in activist organizing and action.

The Mandelbaum Fellowship was established to honour Henry Mandelbaum, Executive Director of OCUFA from 1996-2011. The Fellowship is awarded to graduate students who have demonstrated academic excellence, show exceptional academic promise, and have provided significant service to their community during their university years.

“Henry was passionate about social justice, and improving the lives of those who faced formidable social and economic barriers,” said Wurtele. “Sadly, Henry passed away in 2012, but we are honoured to continue his work through the Mandelbaum Fellowship.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 30 faculty associations across Ontario. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at


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