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Beyond, Outside, and Within: Black Studies and the University

Thursday, March 31, 2022
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Room: Zoom
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Equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives are often characterized as a “hallmark of the neoliberal university,” and a “non-critical, anti-theoretical and ahistorical answer to managing difference” (“Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: A Dialogue with Human Rights and Decolonization,” a roundtable hosted by Wilfred Laurier University on November 13, 2020). In this contribution to the SNID seminar series, Professors Vanessa E. Thompson and Daniel McNeil reflect on the diasporic and multi-directional articulations of Black struggles and abolitionist world-making that have informed their approaches to Black studies, interdisciplinary studies of liberation and decolonial praxis. Their wide-ranging conversation will cultivate space for critical reflection and collaborative action about the limitations and shortcomings as well as the practical benefits of an EDI framework in a higher education context where it is increasingly (if unevenly) embraced. It will also speak to the limits of top-down, national dialogues about race relations, the performativity and non-performativity of anti-racism in institutional life, and the distinctive mix of entrepreneurial fantasy and managerial technique, identity politics and market-driven policies, and mystique of meritocracy and technocratic expertise that have proliferated in the grafting of EDI initiatives onto existing multicultural policies and programs in academic, corporate, political and other institutions. 

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