Jay Cavanagh

University of Calgary



Jay Cavanagh (he/him) is a queer and first-generation doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, where he is currently working under the supervision of Professor Ariel Ducey. Jay is also a Graduate Scholar at the Graduate College, and the current elected Chair of the Sociology Graduate Student Caucus (SGSC) at the University of Calgary. 

In the Spring of 2023, Jay became a recipient of one of the University of Calgary's competitive $20,000 Doctoral Entrance Scholarships for his proposed research on borderline personality disorder. In March 2024, Jay also received the Michael & Michelle Williams Award in Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine Studies for his research on the clinics of revolutionary Brazilian psychiatrist, Nise da Silveira. 

Jay's thesis research lies at the intersections of the sociology of health and illness, the sociology of knowledge, mad studies, and critical phenomenology. He is primarily interested in the subjective sensory experience of the borderline in recovery processes, both within sites of clinical intervention and within peer support environments. 

A self-identifying member of mad and psychiatric survivor communities, Jay's work takes up the task of reorienting understandings of the borderline personality through lived-experience lenses. It sets out to frustrate the many ways in which society suppresses and systemically others neurodivergent ways of being and feeling, considering how a reimagining of how we conceptualise emotion and borderline experiences might contribute to better care and support for those living with mental illness. 



Affiliations and Academic Memberships