As I noted in a previous post, I have organized a symposium on the theme “Disabling Philosophy in the Canadian Context” for the Canadian Philosophical Association meeting at the upcoming online Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The participants in the symposium will be: Alex Bryant, Amandine Catala, Emily R. Douglas, Isaac (YunQi) Jiang, Audrey Yap, and me.
In recent years, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences has been widely criticized for its lack of attention to issues of equity and diversity at its congresses, as well as its complicity in systemic forms of oppression and exclusion in the Canadian university and Canadian society more generally. These challenges have coalesced in large part due to an incident of racial profiling that occurred at the Vancouver Congress in 2019.
As a consequence of the charges of anti-black racism that stemmed from this event and other challenges to its leadership, the Federation convened an independent Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (AC-EDID) which, on April 9, 2021, after six months of consultation, research, and a comprehensive review of literature and resources, released a report — Igniting Change: Final Report and Recommendations — on the state of the Canadian university (and the humanities and social sciences in particular) with regard to “equity-deserving groups”.
(There were no philosophers on the AC-EDID which, I believe, we should interpret as a statement about how the philosophical community in Canada is generally regarded with respect to its movement on these issues.)
The Federation has begun to implement many of the recommendations of the AC-EDID report, including through the theme of this year’s Congress, TRANSITIONS. The home page of this year’s Congress includes this description of the theme and how it is intended to shape Congress 2022:
Congress 2022 will feature a thought-provoking mix of panels, presentations, speakers, and workshops addressing issues of social and racial injustice and other pressing challenges for Canada and the world. The Congress program will enable participants to examine and strengthen their commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonizaton (EDID), and build collaborative strategies to entrench these principles in our disciplines, institutions, associations and in Congress itself. Our theme is Transitions, and our goal is to inspire ideas, dialogue, and action. At Congress 2022, we invite members of the social sciences and humanities community to re-imagine the world we inhabit, so that together we can build a future that is more diverse, sustainable, democratic, and just.
Because of the Federation’s concerted efforts to raise the profile of historically marginalized groups in the Canadian university, our symposium, “Disabling Philosophy in the Canadian Context,” is currently under consideration to be recognized in the Congress programming as an “Open Event”. If our symposium is chosen for this recognition, any registered delegate of any society or association at Congress 2022 will be free to attend/participate in it.
In any case, the “Disabling Philosophy in the Canadian Context” symposium will take place online on Wednesday, May 18, 11am to 2pm ET. I hope many of you will join us!
UPDATE: “Disabling Philosophy in the Canadian Context” has been selected as an Open Programming event. Read/listen to the Open Programming roster here (scroll to May 18, 11am): https://www.federationhss.ca/en/congress/congress-2022/calendar-open-events
You can still register for the CPA meeting and Congress 2022 here: https://www.federationhss.ca/en/congress/congress-2022/register