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Conference To Examine Leadership In Black Canada

By Neil Armstrong
Pride Contributing Writer

The James R. Johnston Chair, Canada’s national research chair in Black Canadian Studies, housed at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will host the 2nd Biennial Black Canadian Studies Association Conference on Community, Empowerment & Leadership in Black Canada in the spring of 2015.

Dr. Afua Cooper, who assumed the position in August 2011, is the current chair holder.

Working in collaboration with the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA), the Johnston Chair will hold the conference at the university from May 21 to 25.

“The goal of the conference is to promote dialogue, critical reflection and nuanced perspectives on the past, present and future of Black leadership in Canada. The conference presents an exciting opportunity to explore leadership and the Black community locally, provincially, nationally and globally from a variety of perspectives,” says Dr. Cooper.

She says the research discussed will come from an array of disciplines that explore the Black experience in Canada, as well as those that address the nature of Black Canadian Studies using a variety of theoretical frameworks and methodologies.

Topics of disciplinary contributions include, but are not limited to, anthropology, history, criminology, literature, music, political science and scholars outside the humanities and social sciences in fields such as business, law and engineering and natural sciences.

“The long history of Black people in Canada has been shaped by the struggle for human recognition, social justice and democratic participation. In the face of growing austerity, the reconfiguration of the Canadian state and the transformation of global political economy, it is imperative that we analyze the place of Black Canadians within these ongoing changes, the state of Black communities across Canada and generate strategies for the future,” notes a Call for Papers for the conference.

In 2013, the BCSA held its first international conference looking at the Black Canadian experience at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Michaëlle Jean, Canada’s former governor-general, delivered the conference’s keynote address on the value of advancing Black Studies in Canada and its importance for intercultural dialogue and understanding.

The Black Canadian Studies Association was formed, in 2009, in Vancouver by scholars and community activists from various parts of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The 2015 conference will provide a venue and space for important conversations, discussions and debates, and has the ultimate goal of contributing to a Canadian society that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness as core values.

Dr. Cooper, who is the BCSA Chair, notes that plenary sessions and panels will occupy important places throughout the conference schedule. Panels will be disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and consist of academics and non-academics.

The conference will bring together scholars from around the world with junior academics and students in a supportive environment that will welcome community members from all walks of life.  The expected attendance of the conference is 100 academics and 100 community members, making it a large-scale three-day event.

All proposals are due by February 15, 2015. Individual and panel proposals may be 150-250. Panel proposals must also include abstracts of 150-250 words for each paper.

Those with queries or abstracts should send them to bcsa2015@gmail.com.

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