'Speaking Out and Speaking Up' in Fugitive Spaces, 2023
Decolonizing Conference plenary topics include:
1. Global Indigeneities and Contemporary Diasporic Embodiments
2. Collaborating With African Elders to Envision Possibilities for Anti
Colonial Practices Within Canada
3. Cross Racial Solidarity
4. Intersected Decolonization: Connecting the Francophonie, the Struggle
against Islamophobia, and Higher Education
Global Indigeneities and Contemporary Diasporic Embodiments
In this plenary, we expand upon discussions of Indigeneity to consider the convergences and divergences of Indigenous experiences and struggles across local, global, and diasporic contexts. We highlight the erasure of our varied colonial and colonized histories and experiences, while at the same time, we emphasize the power of our myriad intellectual agencies for Indigenous solidarities and joint radical, social, and intellectual action. We maintain that Indigeneity foremost is a political designation, as well as a refusal and a resistance to the reach of coloniality. Considering this, we insist that while decolonization may be a shared goal rooted in connections to Land, we risk compromising our collective struggle if we fail to consider the interconnectedness of Indigenous struggles across multiple lands and geographies, and the multitude of ways these struggles may be similarly or differentially embodied.
Decolonization and anti-colonial praxis must, then, highlight these convergences, as well as the saliencies and intensities of struggles for both self- and collective determination. This plenary then offers a space to talk about Diasporic Indigeneities, while also avoiding conflation with Indigenous peoples’ experiences and struggles with groups arriving on their Lands. Indigenous sovereignty needs a re-definition to also include critical interrogations of any linearity of Black enslavement and Black subjects’ ‘gains’ of settler-colonial citizenship. We contend that Indigeneity is not an essentialized category, and is always contested and historically bounded. However, the term has an intellectual travelogue beyond Lands as a physicality. Land travels with us. Theorizing Land beyond its physical boundaries helps to raise questions about how we reclaim our cultural, spiritual, and physical memories in the varied places and spaces we experience life. It also helps us to pursue a ‘politics of grounding’ for futuristic aspirations.
In this discussion, we posit a de/anti-colonial turn in our discursive analysis and practice, to create new scholarship embracing the possibilities of oppositional theory and critical scholarship.
Collaborating With African Elders to Envision Possibilities for Anti-Colonial Practices Within Canada
This plenary will discuss the importance and value of African Elders in schooling. The panelists will explore particular teachings, instructional strategies, and lessons that can be applied to the Canadian school system to enhance learning outcomes for all youth, particularly for African and African diasporic students. The session will pay attention to Land-based epistemologies, ontologies, and axiologies affirming African and Indigenous Elders' cultural knowledge [ElderCrit] as 'epistemologies of decolonization’ and Elders’ stories as 'metaphors of resistance'. We will address the challenge of how to work with educational practitioners and local communities to develop the conditions for authentic collaboration with African and Indigenous Elders in Canadian schools.
Discussions will highlight the “inescapability of the colonial library” (Mudimbe, 1988) and the critical need to reimagine teaching, learning and educational leadership. This plenary will further focus on how the role of Elders' teachings as stewards and guardians of knowledge offer strategies for dismantling academic coloniality, schooling hierarchies, and other forms of educational/epistemic violence.
Cross Racial Solidarity
What does cross-racial dialogue and action mean as a de/anti-colonial strategy for social change? In this plenary, speakers explore what it means to do critical social justice work, from our multiple locations, oppressions, complicities and silences. How do we understand critical social justice work as a search for human liberation, ensuring meaningful reciprocal relationships and collective responsibilities to each other, through anti-colonial solidarity?
In this plenary, panelists will not only offer critical reads on racisms and other forms of oppressions, highlighting specifically, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, antisemitism, anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, and anti-Asian racisms. The goal is to draw on the intersections of these oppressions to reframe critical de/anti-colonial educational practice. We are particularly interested in the lessons for educational practitioners (broadly defined beyond schools) as we teach and learn about these oppressions in classrooms, and in other colonial and colonizing geo-spaces. The session will draw on synergies and convergences and building anti-colonial and anti-racist solidarities among learners and community workers.
We hope that this plenary will de-center pedagogies rooted in Eurocentric epistemologies to make way for the multiplicity of voices and spaces. It is about uprooting White supremacy, to examine racial and ethnic solidarity outside the gaze of Whiteness and its colonial tropes.
The Plenary contends that to pursue de/anti-colonial and anti-racist politics, we must bring a critical focus on the different racisms as forms of state violence and as forms of institutionalized global violence perpetuated on communities and groups. We also need to understand how intersectionality impacts our lives, particularly individual and collective experiences, through the powerful markers reflected through race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, disability, religion etc. To bring cross racial solidarity into prominence, we must also begin to complicate relations of race, capitalism and the nation state to understand human experiences within contemporary White supremacist logics and the ideologies of modernity.
Intersected Decolonization: Connecting the Francophonie, the Struggle against Islamophobia, and Higher Education
This panel engages decolonization as an interlocked resilience within Francophone, Islamic and higher education discourses and praxis which seeks critical liberation. Although decolonizing subjectivities surface within these three arenas, they have never been analyzed interdependently. Decolonization requires politics of solidarity, therefore, knowledge-praxis bracketing only hinders the achievement of this project. This panel fills gaps in decolonization literature and activism, countering colonial binaries which polarize Anglophone and Francophone decolonial scholars-activists, and Islamic Studies and higher education.
The panelists’ reconceptualization of decolonization as intersected discourses and praxis interrogates how decolonization in/of higher education is being taken up in both the Global Norther and Global South; in this case the Canadian and the South African contexts; the politics being one of Indigeneity as interpreted in Canada and in South Africa. It also examines Francophone social movements within and beyond higher education to assert long-established resilience against colonial and re-colonial anti-Black racism which has targeted Black Francophones, including in Canada and the US.
Although Islamophobia in higher education and beyond is alienating, resistance that counters it is increasingly powerful and will be strengthened further if it is tied to other decolonial movements, including those within the Francophonie and higher education settings. The panel will offer critical decolonial perspectives and instigate dialogical conversation which pave the way for an inclusive future.