Left to right: Ifeoluwatari (Tari) Ajadi, Kaitlind Peters, Sefanit Habtom, Melanie Manitowabi, Johannah Bird, Nataleah Hunter-Young

Left to right: Ifeoluwatari (Tari) Ajadi, Kaitlind Peters, Sefanit Habtom, Melanie Manitowabi, Johannah Bird, Nataleah Hunter-Young

Six new predoctoral fellows join FAS in Indigenous and Black Studies

The Faculty of Arts and Science has awarded three new Pre-Doctoral Fellowships for Indigenous Students and three new Pre-Doctoral Fellowships in Black Studies. The program, which was the first of its kind in Canada, was expanded this year to support the new BA Honours Major and Joint Honours in Indigenous Studies, which was offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures for the first time this year, and the new BA General/Minor in Black Studies that will be offered by the Department of Gender Studies in fall 2022.

During their year at Queen’s, these six scholars will each teach a course within the Faculty of Arts and Science, broaden their networks, and complete their doctoral work to receive their degree from their home institution.

The awarding of these fellowships builds on the success of the program that launched in 2018-2019. The program supports the intellectual and scholarly development of senior doctoral candidates, initially Indigenous students and now Black Studies scholars, in ways that position them for success.

The five initial recipients of the 2018-19 Pre-Doctoral Fellowships for Indigenous Students came to Queen’s from universities from the west coast to Ottawa and represented five distinct Indigenous cultures. 

The successful candidates in current (2022-23) Indigenous Studies fellowships are:

  • Johannah Bird (PhD Candidate, English, McMaster University) - Her dissertation project develops her interest in the history of Indigenous writing and storytelling practice by looking at late nineteenth and early twentieth century letters, speeches, journals, autobiographies, and traditional stories by Nêhiyaw (Plains Cree), Omushkego (Swampy Cree), Anishinaabe, and Métis writers and orators located in Kisiskâciwan (Saskatchewan) and Manitowapow (Manitoba) in Canada.
  • Melanie Manitowabi (PhD candidate, Education and Sustainability, Nipissing University) - Her research explores the meaning of innovation with expert Indigenous Early Childhood Educators through the sharing of their lived experiences. The intent of completing her doctorate is to share with communities and scholars the pride, resilience and resurgence of Anishinaabe ways of being and doing within an Indigenous educational context that comes from a strength-based approach and will eventually contribute to the growing scholarly work in academia.
  • Kaitlind Peters (PhD candidate, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto) - Her doctoral work centers Indigenous youth voices and the raising of “new Indigenous warriors” through Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). Kaitlind sees YPAR as a method for achieving social justice that can lead to Indigenous youth empowerment while pushing for educational reform in directions that engage students with a critical and youth-centered curriculum. Kaitlind has worked as the project lead on Dr. Gaztambide-Fernandez’s SSHRC funded project titled, “Youth Solidarities Across Borders-yPAR”, a project designed for Indigenous and Latinx students within the Toronto District School Board to develop YPAR projects focused on decolonial and Indigenous methodologies.

The new FAS pre-doctoral fellows in Black Studies are:

  • Ifeoluwatari (Tari) Ajadi (PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University) - His primary research focuses on the capacity for Black Canadian activists to build effective coalitions oriented towards transformative justice when pushing for policy change across the country. He is also a community activist, and hiswork includes co-founding the Nova Scotia Policing Policy Working Group, acting as a key author behind the work of the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners’ Subcommittee to Define Defunding the Police, and as a Director with the Health Association of African Canadians.
  • Sefanit Habtom (PhD candidate, Department of Social Justice Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto) - Her doctoral project emerged from student organizing she was involved with in Winter 2015 when she co- founded the Black Liberation Collective at the University of Toronto. She became curious about how Black students enact change at post- secondary institutions, and, more importantly, how that work often transcends these institutions. Simultaneously, she became interested in the entanglements between settler colonialism and slavery that founded and continue to structure the Americas, namely, the university. Her research examines Black student organizing in relation to Indigenous lands and communities.
  • Nataleah Hunter-Young (PhD candidate, Communication and Culture, X University & York University) - Her doctoral research-creation project examines the sociocultural impacts of social media videos documenting anti-Black police brutality via the interpretations of three Black visuals artists in Canada, the USA, and South Africa. While at Queen’s, she continues her role as International Programmer (Africa, Arab language cinema) at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and will finalize the creation portion of her research findings, namely the production of silk screen prints as a visual-material analytic for what remains perceivable in the normalized image of anti-Black police brutality.

“The announcement of these six new Fellows is an expression of our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and indigenization (EDII). The two predoctoral fellowship programs seek to support new-generation Indigenous and Black Studies scholars at a formative moment in the completion of their doctoral studies,” says Lynda Jessup, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Please join me in welcoming our new Pre-Doctoral Fellows.”