Mapping racial geographies of violence subject of WYAJ Distinguished Annual Lecture

Ingrid Waldron
Dr. Ingrid Waldron, 2021 WYAJ Distinguished Annual Lecture speaker

On Thursday, February 4, the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, in collaboration with the Windsor Law Cities and Climate Action Forum, will present the annual distinguished lecture series with sociologist Ingrid Waldron; associate professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University; director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (ENRICH); and co-lead of Improving the Health of People of African Descent at Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute.

Dr. Waldron’s research, teaching, community leadership, and advocacy work examines the health and mental health impacts of structural racism and other forms of discrimination in Black, Indigenous, and immigrant communities. She is also the co-founder of a new national Coalition on Anti-Environmental Racism, which is seeking to have a private member’s bill on environmental racism passed by Parliament.

During her lecture, entitled “Mapping Racial Geographies of Violence on the Colonial Landscape,” Waldron will unpack the concept of ‘spatial violence’ to examine the social justice dimensions of race, place, and space in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada.

In considering how hierarchies and intersections of race, culture, gender, income, class, and other social identities are spatialized in the places and spaces where we live, work, and play, she highlights the larger socio-spatial processes that create disproportionate exposure and vulnerability to the harmful social, economic, and health impacts of inequality in Indigenous and Black communities.

Waldron argues that the lived experience of spatial violence and toxic exposure live together, and that it is not possible to understand their impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in isolation. In so doing, she disrupts traditional notions of the environment that are centred on harmonizing cities and nature by engaging in a conceptual re-imagining of the environment as a product of both the symbolic meaning of space and the materiality of space.

Created in 1979, the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice was the earliest Canadian journal devoted to the trans-cultural and international study of individuals and groups excluded from the protections of the domestic or international legal orders. The Yearbook is independently refereed, publishes French and English essays and book reviews, is faculty-run and is supported by a distinguished Advisory Board. The online journal is available without subscription to anyone and is published without cost to the author.

Launched in 2019 with a start-up grant from the Climate Action Fund of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Cities & Climate Action Forum at Windsor Law is an interactive platform that seeks to empower youth, other community builders, and municipal governments to work for institutional climate mitigation action at the local level. Upwards of 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are committed or regulated by municipalities; cities must therefore be leaders in finding solutions to the climate crisis.

During its launch event, the forum partnered with the Windsor International Film Festival to co-host a screening of There's Something in the Water: a documentary co-produced by Waldron, actor Elliot Page, Ian Daniel, and Julia Sanderson which tells the story of Waldron’s research and some of the Nova Scotia Black and Indigenous communities who have suffered from environmental racism.

CCAF director Anneke Smit says she is excited to be able to follow up the film screening with a deeper examination of Waldron’s work.

“The 73-minute documentary is available on Netflix; participants are encouraged to view it prior to attending the lecture as an introduction to Dr. Waldron’s talk and her research,” says Dr. Smit.

Thursday’s event will begin at 4:30 p.m. is free and open to the public; attendees are asked to register on Zoom.

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