Embodied Collaborations: Reflections on race, anti-racism, and interdisciplinary scholarship will be held from Sept. 9 to 10, 2021.
Welcome to the first virtual conference hosted by Racialized Academics and Advocates Centering Equity and Solidarity.
We are pleased to announce that RAACES (Racialized Academics and Advocates Centering Equity in Solidarity) will be holding a free virtual conference Embodied Collaborations: Reflections on Race, Anti-Racism and Interdisciplinary Scholarship on September 9 and 10, 2021.
RAACES is a collaborative network of students and faculty at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, situated on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, which includes the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomie. Numerous high-profile incidents of anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and other forms of racism in both the university and in the larger Windsor Essex community led a group of students and faculty across disciplines to come together to work towards a consolidated and grounded critical race scholarship that can inform coordinated antiracist and decolonial practice.
This conference will provide an opportunity for researchers, advocates, students, and community members to delve into their personal reflections and research on race and the various intersections of oppression at the University and beyond. The conference will include academic, community and student panels.
We are honoured to host Sylvia McAdam (from the nēhīyaw Nation and the Treaty 6 lands in what is now called “Canada”), an assistant professor from the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, and Dr. Debra Thompson, a political scientist from McGill University as our Keynote speakers. Further information will be accessible on this website as it becomes available.
We thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the Faculty of Law, Sociology and Women’s’ and Gender Studies for their generous support for this two-day event on September 9 and 10, 2021.
We also thank the City of Windsor's Diversity Committee for organizing the community panel.
Day One Speakers
Richard Douglass-Chin, B.A. (McMaster), M.A. (Western), Ph.D. (McMaster), specializes in American literature, especially pre-twentieth-century, and African American and Asian American writing. He has published articles in MELUS, FUSE, and Revista la Torre. His critical text, Preacher Woman Sings the Blues, investigates the literary connections between contemporary African American female authors and their eighteenth and nineteenth-century predecessors. He has also published poems and short stories in Rampike and several anthologies and is experimenting with Arabic, West African, and Chinese poetic forms. His examination of the influence of Asian and African literary and philosophical traditions on American transcendentalism, modernism and postmodernism has taken him to South Africa, the Caribbean, and the Yale-China Institute of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Russell Evans' Indigenous heritage has roots in both Temagami First Nation (Bear Island) and Matachewan First Nation, and he identifies as both Anishnaabe and European. His research focuses on the financial accountability relationship between Indigenous communities and their various stakeholders, including membership and the Government of Canada. His educational background includes a diploma in Electrical Engineering Technology, a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education and Kinesiology, an MBA specializing in Managerial Accounting, a Master's degree in Behavioural Accounting, and a PhD in Behavioural and Social Accounting from Queen’s University.
Dr. Urvashi Soni-Sinha did her PhD in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Warwick, UK. She teaches in WGST and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at the University of Windsor. Her research interests are in the areas of Gender, Race and Employment, Women and Globalization, and Feminist Methodologies. She has published in several peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Feminist Economics, Qualitative Research, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Journal of Gender Studies, Global Labour, Organization, and Gender Work and Organization. She recently co-authored a book Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap: Improving Protections for People in Precarious Jobs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, that is the 2020/21 recipient of the Best Book Prize in Work and Labour Studies awarded by the Canadian Association of Work and Labour Studies.
Danardo Jones joined the Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor in January 2021. Professor Jones comes to the Faculty with years of criminal law experience, having worked as a staff lawyer at various Legal Aid organizations across Eastern Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia) and Ontario. He was also the Director of Legal Services for the African Canadian Legal Clinic. In that role, he intervened in precedent-setting cases before the Supreme Court of Canada (Tran v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2017 SCC 50; British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62).
Professor Jones's research interests include criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal sentencing, and race and the law. His research draws on scholarly literature from law and cognate disciplines, including penology and criminology, law and geography, philosophy of law, critical race theory, and prison abolitionist and restorative justice literature.
Ronjon Paul Datta
Dr. Ronjon Paul Datta is an Associate Professor and Graduate Faculty Member of Sociology specializing in social theory at the University of Windsor. His work focuses on metatheory, power and the sacred, developing theoretical resources for analyzing and transforming social pathologies in capitalist societies. An internationally recognized expert in Durkheimian studies, Foucauldian and Althusserian thought, and the philosophy of social science, his work has appeared in leading academic venues in Canada, Britain, France, the USA, and Turkey, such as the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, International Social Science Journal, Journal of Classical Sociology, L’Année Sociologique, Journal of Critical Realism, Canadian Journal of Sociology, and Durkheimian Studies. Active in RAACES, he is committed to antiracism struggles in higher education.
Dr. Sibblis' research uses spatial and critical race theories to focus on anti-Black racism, the politics of race, gender, identity, social exclusion and systemic racism. Camisha has extensive experience working with marginalized children, youth and their families as a school social worker, as a child welfare worker, and as a clinician assessing the effects of anti-Black racism on the lives of the defenders for sentencing hearings. She is an experienced mental health practitioner and a court designated expert on systemic racism. Among her vast community work, she teaches for the Tabono Liberation Learning Academy - fostering activism among young adults, she was a long-standing member of the Council for Adolescent Suicide Prevention in Peel, a suicide intervention trainer, and was a member of the Peel school board’s community advisory council for the board-wide strategy to support Black student academic success and well-being.
Dr. Lana Parker holds a PhD in Language, Culture and Teaching from York University. Lana has taught in elementary and post-secondary contexts in Canada and abroad with an emphasis on improving equitable outcomes for all students. Lana writes and researches about education policy and discourse, and the possibilities for ethically-informed pedagogy.
Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is from Treaty 6 lands in what is now called “Canada.” She is a direct descendant of Treaty peoples and Original peoples of these lands. Sylvia is from the nēhīyaw Nation. She has her Juris Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Justice from the University of Regina. Sylvia is co-founder of a global grassroots Indigenous-led movement called “Idle No More.” Idle No More has changed the political and social landscape of Canada as well as reached the global community to defend and protect all lands, waters, and animals.
Sylvia is also co-founder of the “One House Many Nations” Campaign, which designs off-the-grid sustainable tiny homes to address and raise awareness about the epidemic unacceptable proportions of homelessness in such a wealthy state as “Canada," especially amongst Indigenous/Original peoples.
Student Panel One
Alaa Eissa is a first-year Master of Social Work student, with a special interest in health promotion and cognitive behaviour therapy. She recently completed her B.A. Honours in Disability Studies. She has dedicated the past 4 years of her university experience to working closely with at-risk youth. She was the Expansion Director of Enactus Windsor’s Youthrive program which was geared towards educating youth on Financial Literacy. She was also the 2019 African Diaspora Youth Conference Coordinator (ADYC) a conference that is aimed towards empowering and encouraging Black Youth to pursue post-secondary education at the university level. Currently, Alaa is a Research Associate for the Student Mental Health Strategy which aims at looking into the impacts of covid-19 on overall student mental health.
Student Panel Two
Lila Iriburiro Happy
Welcome; Bienvenue; Karibu; Welkom! Lila is an African-Diaspora woman with a unique positionality as a multilingual global citizen from Uganda and the Netherlands, who is fluent in 4 languages and has lived in 7 countries. Lila is completing her third year in the Law and Politics specialization. During the conference, Lila will present a paper titled Decolonize the Linguistic Oppression of Microaggressions.” Lila works as the Anti-Racist Voice Creator at RAACES as well as the Initiatives Project Assistant for Anti-Black Racism. Her research focuses on strategic planning, advocacy, and anti-oppressive practices to dismantle anti-Black racism in post-secondary institutions across Canada. On campus, Lila works as a Student Recruitment Ambassador. Her extracurricular activities include serving on the WINMUN executive committee for 3 years. Lila is currently the president for the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 terms. Lila aspires to be a children's rights defender, a human rights lawyer, and court justice.
Student Panel Three
Olamide (Jessica) Akintomide
Olamide (Jessica) Akintomide is a fourth-year student at the University of Windsor where she is majoring in Women and Gender studies and Family and Social Relations with a concentration in sexuality. Her interest in gender and sexuality began during the summer of 2017 when she began to explore the disparities in understanding when it came to African and diaspora identities, gender construction, sexuality, and sexual health. Her study in these topics has led her to focus on an exploration of traditional African histories and the capabilities it has to enrich academic understanding. She is currently a research assistant at the University of Windsor under Dr. Francis Cachon with the development of an Anti-racism bystander initiative course and has been a member of RAACES since May 2021.
Student Panel Four
In recent times, Canada has seen an exponential rise in the number of international students enrolling in post-secondary institutions. As of 2018, over 300,000 foreign students were issued Canadian study permits, a majority of them identify as South Asian. While this number continues to rise, concerns over racial insensitivity against foreign students continue to be a cause of concern. A majority of Canadian universities are not representative of Canada’s growing multicultural population and adhere to a set of Eurocentric policies. Despite a policy-based adherence to equity, universities are not equipped to manage the needs of culturally diverse students, simply because they lack a "cultural toolkit" to deal with diversity issues.
A majority of South Asian International students in Canada have been subjected to racial profiling and bias on Canadian campuses. Since university marks a crucial developmental phase in the life of a student, experiencing incidents of racial bias can have far-reaching impacts on the mental well-being of victimized students. Through the purpose of my study, I want to conduct focus group discussions and interviews to understand the nuanced experiences of racial bias faced by South Asian international students on campus, and consequently highlight the need for cultural awareness initiatives for university personnel, that will help in making Canadian universities collaborative and inclusive spaces.
Day Two Speakers
Ayesha Mian Akram
Ayesha Mian Akram is a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Windsor’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology. Her SSHRC-funded doctoral research in Sociology/Social Justice is a participatory project working with Muslim women activists to investigate how they develop collectives of resistance. She holds a Master's degree in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta, where she conducted a qualitative project to study how racism impacts the identity negotiations of Canadian-born Muslim women who practice hijab. She is a community-based educator, researcher, and organizer whose work is rooted in the intersections of anti-racism studies, religion, gender, and subjectivity. She has published and presented, in academic and community spaces, on anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia, critical researcher reflexivity, immigrant workers’ experiences with racism in Ontario, and challenging racism at Canadian universities.
Jemimah Amos is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Windsor. Her academic and research interests include migration, race and ethnicity, feminism, and qualitative methodologies. Her PhD dissertation focuses on the encounters of immigrant women from Africa with the labour market in Canada. She adopts an approach that reiterates the intersectionality of race, gender, and class. Her research seeks to deconstruct the idea of “African woman”, exposing it as a heterogeneous and contested category even as she explores the experiences of “African women” as historically produced and embodied subjects. This research has a multidisciplinary approach encompassing theories from an intersectional perspective, feminism, and postcolonial studies.
Jemimah holds a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Windsor and a bachelor’s in Sociology from Landmark University, Nigeria. She examined the effects of child-caring roles on the job performance of working mothers.
Sheila Barker worked as a registered public health nurse and was actively involved in the Ontario Nurses Association and Ontario Police Services. She has also served on the Boards of United Way, Canadian Mental Health Association, Trillium Foundation, and Women’s Enterprise Skills Training Centre. She was the founding board member of St. Clair College.
Natalie Delia Deckard
Natalie Delia Deckard, PhD, is a critical criminologist working from the paradigms of Critical Race Theory. While seeking to deconstruct racialization as a social process, I interrogate the criminalizing processes through which North Americans collectively imagine the non-White other. By investigating the inherent criminality of the racialized body, and the ways in which that designation is complicated by migrant identity, I am able to speak to questions of identity, conflict, violence and the construction of the racial and ethnic “other.” By employing this perspective, I am able to critically engage with questions of gender, class, and their meaning in the larger political economy, My scholarship is, ultimately, a reflection of myself: dynamic, inclusive, open to new ideas and challenging of the status quo.
Renee Grozelle is currently a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Windsor. Her dissertation examines the political participation of Indigenous women in Canada concerning issues of gendered violence and discrimination.
I was born in Nigeria to two of the most hardworking and loving parents ever. My first experience of activism was watching an attempt to lynch the late Isaac Boro, a predecessor to the cause that the late poet Saro Wiwa, was murdered for. Trained in Toronto in what I term Being Young and Black/African in Toronto/Canada, I joined the Young Black Panthers of Canada. Later I studied briefly under AAPRP (All-African People’s Revolutionary Party), a group that was founded by the late Kwame Toure (Stokley Carmichael). I became very active with the Students Against Apartheid at the University of Windsor and successfully had the ANC Transitional Foreign Office attachment to Canada. I relocated to Windsor where I founded ACOW, The African Community Organization of Windsor, in 1989. I have been seriously engaged with the Black/African communities in Windsor.
I am currently a member of the Black Council of Windsor-Essex and the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for the City of Windsor.
Sungee John has been a long-time community activist in Windsor. One of her earliest involvements in social justice was with the University of Windsor's Students Against Apartheid with allied with the Faculty Pro-Divestment Committee to successfully pressure the University's Board of Governors to fully divest from South African-related investments. She was also a founding member of the Windsor-Las Vueltas Twin-City Project - providing humanitarian and political support for the community in El Salvador. Other involvements have included: Executive member and Interim President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC); Past President of Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women; executive member of the Third World Resource Centre/Global Resource Centre; the Chinese Canadian National Council; Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change. In the past, she has worked as a constituency assistant in the provincial Windsor-West riding; at Iona College; the Third World/Global Resource Centre; and the African Canadian Legal Clinic. She is currently with the Essex County Chinese Canadian Association working to address systemic issues faced by the local Chinese-Canadian community.
Dr. Jane Ku is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Coordinator for Women’s and Gender Studies program at the University of Windsor.
She has published in the areas of transnational feminist interrogation of racism, imperialism, diasporic identity, immigrant integration and belonging, Canadian multiculturalism and political organizing in Canadian Ethnic Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, Cultural Studies/ Critical Methodologies, Intermédialitiés and Journal of International Migration and Integration. She is conducting research projects on immigrant youth resilience and international student experience of belonging in Canada during the pandemic. She is also taking an autoethnographic approach to explore her Chinese Hakka and Indian roots and in the development of her antiracist politics. She seeks to create and validate suppressed knowledge that would support minority claims and question taken-for-granted narratives. The upheavals of the pandemic, racist propaganda and violence, and the reassertion of western imperialism have motivated her to use her institutional academic position to unsettle these oppressive practices.
Shanthi Elizabeth Senthe
Shanthi Elizabeth Senthe is an Assistant Professor at Windsor Law. She teaches Business Associations, Secured Transactions, and Sports Law. She has taught Corporate Governance and Remedies. Professor Senthe is admitted to practice law in Ontario, Florida, North Carolina and the District of Columbia. Her research interests include corporate, commercial, banking and finance law and sports law. She is currently leading a research study involving Black commercialization and financialization in the Detroit area.
Professor Senthe is completing her PhD at Osgoode Hall Law School, focusing on banking and finance regulation and governance. Her professional experiences include banking and corporate-commercial litigation. She has received multiple research awards, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship. She taught as a guest lecturer at Osgoode Hall Law School and was a Visiting Scholar at Duke University School of Law in 2013.
Clayton Talbert Sr.
Clayton Talbert Sr. is Vice President Downtown Community Centre Organization (DCCO). He has been past president of Windsor Black Coalition; Windsor Urban Alliance on Race Relations; Board of Directors, Women's Enterprise Skills Training (WEST). He has been a board member on the Multi-Cultural-Council, Windsor, and Essex County as well as the North American Black Historical Museum, Amherstburg, Ontario. He has toured the jurisdictional regions of Ontario with the 1st. Commissioner of Employment Equity, Mrs. Juanita Westmoreland/Traore; he has also toured these jurisdictional regions as part of the Selection Committee for the development and training of the 1st Public Board of Inquiry for the Police Services of Ontario. He developed and implemented the 1st ever Race Relations Symposium involving the (4)-Boards of Education in Windsor/Essex. As Vice President, Local Youth Network and Community Services of Windsor, Ontario. (LYNCS) he has placed over 700 youth in work across Windsor and Essex.
I was being born while the earth was shaking, literally exploding. I was born into a world shaken by injustice and dehumanization. I was born on August 7th, 1945. The atomic bombs falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki affected my mother deeply and she reminded me throughout my life that my birth happened at a moment of global pain.
The circumstances around my birth have been ever-present to me. I developed the talents that flowed into me early, the artistic arts that I have worked on over the years, but the most valuable to me was a sense of justice and compassion for humanity.
The compassion I learned first from my mother and great-grandmother grew into my desire for recognition and freedom for all people. The anti-racist effort has dominated my heart. A ribbon of love has bound my life together, from my close connections with my great-grandmother to the loving relationships I have with my great-grandchildren.
My life’s purpose is to help others become positive voices through art by Black artists within the Canadian Diaspora. I co-founded and am Vice-Chair of The Artists of Colour. We bring
awareness to the history and possible hopeful, freedom-filled futures of Black Canadians. I want to present these artistic expressions in a positive light that will show our hearts visibly, and will grow an appreciation of cultural diversity and how we, the visible minority, view ourselves and our world in terms of our own realities.
Dr. Vasanthi Venkatesh is Assistant Professor in Law, Land, and Local Economies at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. Professor Vasanthi Venkatesh’s research focuses on immigration and citizenship law, law and social movements, comparative human rights law, and property and labour. Her expertise lies in the interdisciplinary study of law within its political, economic, global, and historical contexts. It is informed by critical class, race, and anti-colonial scholarship and uses empirical, comparative, and historical methods.
Prior to pursuing her PhD, Vasanthi ran a sole legal practise and consultancy in Toronto specializing in refugee rights litigation with a focus on women and LGBTQ claimants. She continues her pro bono legal work and is the Chair of the Board of Directors of IAVGO, a workers’ compensation legal clinic. She has worked with a variety of grassroots and human rights organizations globally and in Canada including the Justicia for Migrant Workers in Ontario, African-Canadian Women's Human Rights Project, Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, Occupational Health and Safety Centre in India, People Against Torture in Kenya, and Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions in Thailand. With Justicia for Migrant Workers in Ontario, she administers the Migrant Farmworkers Clinic funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.
Sujith Xavier LLB., LLM., PhD., is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, situated on the traditional territories of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, comprised of the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi. Sujith’s research spans domestic and international legal theory, including Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), transitional justice and Canadian administrative law and racialization. He is one of the co-editors of Decolonizing Law: Indigenous, Third World and Settler Perspectives (Routledge, 2021). He is a founding member of the Editorial Collective of Third World Approaches to International Law Review (TWAILR.com). Sujith has significant experience working with grassroots organizations in Sri Lanka. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the Canadian Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal. At the Faculty of Law, he teaches Legal Theory to Master of Law (LL.M.) students and Public International Law, Administrative Law and Race & the Law to JD students.