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This is a profile photo of Dr. Jen Rinaldi, Associate Professor with the Legal Studies program in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Ontario Tech University.

Jen Rinaldi

Associate Professor

Legal Studies

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

Bordessa Hall - Room 514
Downtown Oshawa
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON

905.721.8668 ext. 5873


Jen Rinaldi is an Associate Professor in Legal Studies at Ontario Tech University. She earned a doctoral degree in Critical Disability Studies at York University, where she studied regulation of reproductive technologies. She has a master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Guelph, where she studied same-sex marriage and constitutional law.

Rinaldi’s research takes up how non-normative bodies are read, marked, and produced in and through socio-legal discourse. She is committed to communities and embodiments that claim the following identifiers: cripped (or disabled, and especially persons deemed intellectually disabled), mad (persons positioned against and within mental health regimes), fat (bodies framed as obese and discriminated against in the interest of public health), queer and trans (persons who identify as members of LGBTQ+ communities).

Rinaldi is a dedicated member of Recounting Huronia, a research collective that documents the history of the Huronia Regional Centre (a Canadian institution that housed persons with intellectual disability diagnoses) from the perspective of its survivors. This work earned the collective a Community Living Ontario James Montgomerie Community Award in recognition of leadership and innovation in furthering Community Living goals. Rinaldi has co-written a book titled Institutional Violence and Disability: Punishing Conditions. She was also the founder and lead coordinator of the Huronia Survivors Speakers Bureau, which enabled intellectually disabled institutional survivors to tell their stories to audiences across Canada.

Currently, Rinaldi is focused on research and activism related to deinstitutionalization, prison and police abolition, and migrant justice.

Rinaldi received an Ontario Tech University Teaching and Learning Centre Early Career Teaching Award for her work as a course director. She most frequently teaches LGLS 2200U Legal Theory, LGLS 3300U Disability and the Law, LGLS 4200U Law and Social Change, and LGLS 4099U Legal Studies Integrating Project. She designed a course on Art and Law for LGLS 4000U Advanced Topics in Legal Studies.

Her record of service to academic community includes acting as President of the Canadian Disability Studies Association, and founding the still-active student journal Critical Disability Discourse.

Curriculum vitae 2020


  • PhD, Critical Disability Studies York University
  • MA, Philosophy University of Guelph

Courses taught

  • Advanced Topics: Art and Law
  • Disability and the Law
  • Law and the Body
  • Legal Theory
  • Philosophy of Law

Research and expertise

  • disability and law
  • feminist and queercrip legal theory
  • health law and policy
  • mental health law
  • reproductive technologies
  • prison and police abolition
  • deinstitutionalizaton 
Social Science & Humanities Research Council Connection Grant – Jan 2020 – 2 years.
Containing the Margins: Theorizing the Conditions of Institutional Violence, $25,000.
Rossiter, K. (PI), & J. Rinaldi.

Social Science & Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant – Mar 2019 – 2 years.
Transgressing Body Boundaries: Multi-Media Storytelling on Trans Approaches to Weight Stigma, $30,000.
Rinaldi, J. (PI), J. Pyne (PI), M. Friedman, K. Pendleton Jimenez, & D. McPhail.

Strategic Program Investment Fund – Jan 2018 – 3 years.
Huronia Survivors Speakers Bureau, $30,000.
Rinaldi, J. (PI), K. Rossiter, & n.v. davis halifax.

Strategic Program Investment Fund – Jan 2018 – 3 years.
Recounting Huronia: Digital Archive & Survivor Podcast, $300,000.
Rinaldi, J. (PI), K. Rossiter (PI), & n.v. davis halifax.

Social Science & Humanities Research Council Connection Grant – Nov 2017 – 1 year.
Technologies of Justice Symposium, $25,000.
McMorrow, T. (PI), S. Baglay, S., & J. Rinaldi.

Social Science & Humanities Research Council Connection Grant – Nov 2017 – 1 year.
Thickening Fat: Dialogues on Intersectionality, Social Justice, & Fatness, $25,000.
Friedman, M. (PI), J. Rinaldi, & C. Rice.

Social Science & Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant – Jun 2016 – 7 years.
Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, & Access to Life, $2.5 million.
Rice, C. (PI), E. Chander (PI), K. Aubrecht, A.V. Breen, M.J. Bunch, N. Changfoot, S.J. Chivers, K.L. Church, S.D. Dion, J. Dolmage, P.N. Douglas, D.I. Fells, R. Gorman, n.v. davis halifax, A.V. Hudson, C. Kelly, K. Liddiard, A. MacLeod, D.R. Manning, R. Mykitiuk, M. Orsini, J. Rinaldi, K. Roosen, K. Rossiter, S. Springgay, J. Treviranus, K.J. Wilson, & K.K. Yoshida.

Women’s College Hospital Women’s Xchange 15K Challenge – Jan 2015 – 2 years.
Through Thick & Thin: Investigating Body Image & Body Management among Queer Women in Southern Ontario, $75,000.
Rinaldi, J. (PI), L. Gillis (PI), C. Rice, K. Pendleton Jimenez, M. Friedman, & D. McPhail.

Social Science & Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant – Jan 2014 – 3 years.
Recounting Huronia: A Participatory Arts-Based Research Project, $75,000.
Rossiter, K. (PI), n.v. davis halifax, D. Fancy, J. Dolmage, J. Rinaldi, P. Seth, & M. Slark.


  • Selected publications

    Friedman, M., C. Rice, & J. Rinaldi (Eds.) (2020). Thickening Fat: Fat Bodies,
    Intersectionality, & Social Justice. London: Routledge.

    Rice, C., K. Pendleton Jimenez, E. Harrison, M. Robinson, A. LaMarre, J. Rinaldi, & J.
    Andrew (2020). Bodies at the Intersection: Reconfiguring Intersectionality through Queer Women’s Creative Accounts of their Complex Embodiments. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society, 46(1), 177-200.

    Rinaldi, J., & O. Marques (2020). Criminalization & Capture Strategies in the HIV/AIDS
    Assemblage. International Journal of Prisoner Health.

    Rinaldi, J., C. Rice, & E. Lind, E. (2020). Failure to Launch: One-Person-One-Fare
    Airline Policy & the Drawbacks to the Disabled-by-Obesity Legal Argument. Fat
    Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight & Society Special Issue: Fatness & Law.

    Rinaldi, J., C. Rice, C. Kotow, & E. Lind (2020). Mapping the Circulation of Fat Hatred.
    Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight & Society Special Issue:
    Fatness & Oppression, 9(1), 37-50.

    Rossiter, K., & J. Rinaldi (2019). Institutional Violence & Disability: Punishing Conditions.
    London: Routledge.

    Rinaldi, J., & S. Fernando (2019). Queer Credibility in the Homonation-State: Interrogating
    the Affective Impacts of Credibility Assessments on Racialized Sexual Minority Refugee Claimants. Refuge, 35(1), 32-42.

    Einion, A., & J. Rinaldi (Eds.) (2018). Bearing the Weight of the World: Exploring Maternal
    Embodiment. Toronto: Demeter Press.

    Rinaldi, J., K. Rossiter, & L.K. Jackson (2017). Institutional Survivorship: Editorial
    Introduction. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 6(3), 1-12.

    n.v. davis halifax, D. Fancy, J. Rinaldi, K. Rossiter, & A. Tigchelaar (2017). Recounting
    Huronia Faithfully: Attenuating our Methodology to the ‘Fabulation’ of Truths-Telling. Cultural Studies  Critical Methodologies, 18(3), 216-227.

    Fernando, S., & J. Rinaldi (2017). Seeking Equity: Disrupting Exclusionary Immigration
    Frameworks. Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal Special Issue: Immigration, Racial, & Ethnic Studies in 150 Years of Canada: Retrospects & Prospects, 49(3), 7-26.

    Rinaldi, J., C. Rice, A. LaMarre, D. McPhail, & E. Harrison (2017). Fatness & Failing
    Citizenship. Somatechnics Special Issue: The Somatechnics of Sexuality in Canada, 7(2), 218-233.

  • Recent conference presentations

    Rinaldi, J. (Feb. 2021). Rewriting Huronia’s History: Oral Histories of Institutional Violence.
    International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology. Online due to COVID 19.

    Rinaldi, J., & S. Fernando (Dec. 2019). An Indefinite State: Theorizing Canada’s Migrant
    Detention Regime. Law & Society Association of Australia and New Zealand: Survive, Thrive, Die. Law in End Times. Gold Coast, Australia.

    Rinaldi, J., K. Rossiter, & S. Saravanamuttu (Mar. 2019). The Responsibility of the Witness in
    Institutional Survivors’ Testimonial & Identity Work. Criptic Identities. Leiden, Netherlands.

    Rinaldi, J., & J. Dolmage (Jun. 2018). “Of Dark Type & Poor Physique”: Law, Immigration
    Restriction, & Disability in Canada, 1900-30. Annual Meeting on Law & Society.
    Toronto ON, Canada.

    Rinaldi, J., & K. Rossiter (Jun. 2018). Troubling Care: Disability & the Institutional Violence
    Continuum. International Conference on Prison Abolition. London UK.

    Rinaldi, J., & S. Fernando (May 2018). Canada as Saviour State? Interrogating
    Homonationalism & SOGI Refugees. Sexualities Studies Association Annual
    Conference, Congress of Humanities & Social Sciences. Regina SK, Canada.

    Rinaldi, J., & K. Rossiter (Jan. 2018). The Institutional Cases: Defining the Conditions for
    Moral Abdication. Technologies of Justice: Canadian Law & Society Association Mid-Winter Meeting. Oshawa ON, Canada.

    Rinaldi, J. (May 2017). Storying Trauma in & against Law. Canadian Disability Studies
    Association Annual Conference, Congress of Humanities & Social Sciences. Toronto ON, Canada.

    Rinaldi, J., C. Rice, & A. LaMarre (Jun. 2016). Embodying Intersectionality: The Impact of
    Body Standards in & on Intersectional Queer Community. Fat Studies: Identity, Agency & Embodiment. Palmerston North, New Zealand.

    Fernando, S., & J. Rinaldi (May 2016). De/Constructing Exclusionary Immigration Law &
    Policy, Past & Present. Canadian Disability Studies Annual Conference, Congress of
    Humanities & Social Sciences. Calgary AB, Canada.

  • Media appearances

    Safeguarding Against Abuse

    Briarpatch Magazine | June 21, 2016

    In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously overturned the prohibition on assisted suicide in a decision known as Carter v. Canada. In the wake of this decision, and as we witness the development of the medical assistance in dying legislation (Bill C-14), I see deep divisions and hear grave concerns in the disability communities where I live and work, and where my heart sits. To paraphrase disability rights advocate and my friend Allen Mankewich, when you talk about many of the medical conditions you’d rather die than face, you are talking about me.

    View more - Safeguarding Against Abuse

    Survivors of institutionalization empowered to speak out

    Community Living Ontario | February 29, 2016

    Gone, but not forgotten—that's the belief of many former residents of the Huronia Regional Centre. It's been nearly seven years since the institution closed its doors for good, but, for many, the memories live on. A new initiative comprised of survivors is looking to ensure that their experiences will never be forgotten.

    View more - Survivors of institutionalization empowered to speak out