For the last three years, a committed group of faculty and students have met regularly to discuss a Black Studies Minor at Concordia, proposing that the minor fall under the Department of English. The proposal, which received initial support from the departments of English; Geography, Planning, and Environment; and History, is an effort to create a focus on black diasporic, black radical, and local and national black histories and intellectual traditions within a formalized program.
Woefully underrepresented at Concordia are these kinds of courses, as well as black faculty, despite the university’s location in a city with the second largest black population in Canada. As such, the proposal called for both the creation of a minor, as well as a committed cluster hire, similar to that undertaken at the University of Toronto, for qualified Black faculty.
In December 2018, Paul Joyce, associate dean of Academic Program, returned the proposal with comments to supportive faculty. Joyce stated that any new program cannot include such hiring commitments. This presents a dilemma — the proposal cannot currently move forward, as Concordia presently lacks the requisite Black faculty with expertise in Black Studies to deliver the program.
On March 15 and 16, faculty and students hosted a conference entitled “Living Black Studies at Concordia University.” The successful outcome of the two-day conference, important feedback by keynote speaker Joy James, a Black feminist philosopher and abolitionist, as well as ongoing interest and organizing efforts by committed faculty and students, continue to make the importance of a minor a necessary undertaking at Concordia.
This presentation will briefly discuss the history of the proposal, ongoing challenges to the creation of a minor and possibilities for curriculum at Concordia.
Light refreshments will available for participants.