Black Canadian history and Black studies symposium: Unsettling the Great White North

January 23, 2023 by A&S News

On Feb. 2-3, the University of Toronto and York University will host a collaborative two-day symposium entitled "Unsettling the Great White North: Re/Viewing, Re/Visioning, and Re/Imagining Black Canada." Scholars from across Canada and the United States will present on themes designed to engage both participants and audiences in the latest debates, research and theories informing Black Canadian history and Black studies.

Book cover with title: Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History and a headshot of Funké Aladejebi
The symposium builds on scholarship from Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History.

The symposium builds on scholarship from Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History. This book, published in 2022 by University of Toronto Press, highlights the diverse experiences of persons of African descent within the chronicles of Canada’s past, and is co-edited by symposium organizers Funké Aladejebi and Michele Johnson. Aladejebi is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the Faculty of Arts & Science, and Johnson is Associate Dean, Students and a professor of history at York University.

Speakers will range from graduate students to early-career and established scholars. Highly interdisciplinary in nature, the program includes participants from fields such as sociology, women and gender studies, political science, education, literature and history, as well as scholars whose work considers Black geographies, Black studies and critical race theory.

As Aladejebi notes: “A goal of the symposium is to understand the ways in which scholars of Black Canada have spearheaded the development of the historiography, shaped the field, expanded its conceptual framings, and responded to some of the limitations of earlier work, to offer more expansive and nuanced stories of Black Canadian experiences. We aim to foster research opportunities to bring established and emerging scholars into conversation with one another.”

The first day of the symposium will be hosted by the University of Toronto, and will take place at the Paul Cadario Conference Centre in University College, located at 15 King’s College Circle.

  • Thursday, February 2, 2023: U of T — St. George Campus, Paul Cadario Conference Centre, University College (UC 183) | Register for Day One
  • Friday, February 3, 2023: York University — Keele Campus, Archives of Ontario (134 Ian MacDonald Boulevard) | Register for Day Two

Both sessions begin at 9:30 am. The symposium is free and open to the community, but advanced registration is required.