Excerpt from CBC News article Wave of Black studies programs at Canadian universities a long time coming, scholars say
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Queen's University announced a Black studies minor in 2020, alongside the appointment of two chairs in Black studies and a series of faculty hires.
Originally targeted for fall 2021 and now slated for next year, the Queen's program has been in development since 2014-15, according to Katherine McKittrick, a professor in the Department of Gender Studies and key player in the initiative.
"This is a global Black studies program, which means that we are attentive to different Black communities on the continent of Africa and the diaspora," McKittrick wrote in an email to CBC News, adding that the minor was modelled after the Indigenous studies program.
"When we started to envision the program, we noticed a lot of existing courses in Black studies and many — Black feminist thought, technologies of hip hop, Black sound studies — are a hit with students."
The program curriculum is "amazingly diverse," McKittrick noted, pointing to courses on Black histories, Black and Caribbean literatures, and ecologies in Southern Africa as just a few of the minor's offerings. Some courses focus on Black and Indigenous collaborations, and another set of courses are centred on anti-racism.
Though the formal plans span the last few years, McKittrick said that these efforts are urgent, but not new.
"I think of this as long work rather than recent work," McKittrick said. "What Black scholars and activists have taught us, over time, is that the Black Canadian experience provides a meaningful window into how we understand liberation, belonging, scholarship, activism and more."