CALL FOR BOOK CHAPTERS – Black Lives in Canada: Perspectives, Challenges and Contemporary Celebrations

Deadline: February 15, 2022

Edited By:
Eyitayo Aloh
Eric Lehman
Katrina Keefer

“Is Canada racist?” asked an American delegate at an international convention held in British Columbia, after it came to light that a young black delegate and member of Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA), Shelby McPhee, had been profiled for theft. His surprise is shared by many who hold on to the belief that Canada is a land forged on peaceful treaties, as opposed to the United States of America that was created in battlefields and outright land theft. This myth has many versions but one central theme is of Canada as the land that respects diversity and welcomes everyone. What makes this a myth is the fact that statistics will point to the presence of systemic racism in Canada. History too will point to the gradual dislocation and eventual destruction of a thriving Black community in Africville, Nova Scotia by instruments of the state for no other reason than racism and prevention of the social development of Blacks in the area. While statistics may rely on numbers and history may rely on the books, the lived experiences of Blacks in Canada reveals more compelling stories of the contemporary marginalization, discrimination and deprivation that has been suffered by Black bodies. These stories have forced many Blacks to ask the question, “Black like who?” (Walcott, 1999) in Canada because the mythologized environment is far removed from their lived experiences.

The kind of discrimination in question has been further exacerbated by the outbreak of a global pandemic, Covid-19. The pandemic has exposed just how unequal a society Canada is as the areas that have suffered the most are areas where Blacks and other ethnic minorities live and work. Even the discovery of a vaccine as a response to the pandemic did not ease this discrimination as these predominantly Black and racialized areas were still the last in line to receive the vaccine despite suffering the most. Black Canadians experienced a pandemic within a pandemic: the pandemic of racism.
This experience however, also revealed something about Blacks and their experience of marginalization and other forms of racism. It revealed the resilience of the Black body and the ability to resist forms of institutionalized subjugation. Black Canadians and Black communities in general have responded to their marginalization in creative ways: rallying around each other and developing a community of support and taking advantage of state-sponsored resources for their own good. They have also begun to take advantage of the public sphere to speak up, protest and voice out their resistance to all forms of racism be it overt, subtle or systemic. They are calling attention to their lived experiences as evidence of their discrimination, evidence of their resistance and evidence of their triumph.
Black experience in Canada is varied and nuanced. The first recorded Black body in Canada, Mathieu (Matthew) Da Costa came as a translator and collaborator circa 1609; a communicator who wanted to facilitate cohesive and cordial relationship between settlers and the indigenous communities. Yet, history also tells us of brave warriors who comprised the Black loyalists and settlers in both southern Ontario and in Nova Scotia, particularly after the American War for Independence in the eighteenth century. We must also not forget the enslaved Black bodies on Canadian soils, nor the stark fact that slavery was not abolished in Canada until 1834. The tapestry of these experiences and the stories that they yield is further enriched by the influx, through immigration, of Blacks from Africa and Americans, including the Caribbean. They have all contributed to Black experiences in Canada.
Understanding the contemporary Black experience in Canada is key to unlocking the full potential of the policy of multiculturalism that some have argued is key to maintaining the narrative of Canada as a land of diversity. Therefore, there is a need to interrogate that experience in all its ramifications. A need to study the challenges, listen to the voices, learn from their history and celebrate the achievements of all things ‘Black’ in Canada. Yet, it appears the scholarship around Black bodies struggle for that balance between historical violence and its perpetration in contemporary times, and celebrations of the resistance and triumphs of Black bodies in the face of the oppression.
It is the belief of the editors that the time is ripe for a volume that aims to capture a fuller essence of contemporary Black experience in Canada. That is why we are calling on scholars, researchers, academics and public intellectuals with thoughts on Black experience in Canada to contribute chapters to this upcoming volume with the working title: Black Lives in Canada: Perspectives, Challenges and Contemporary Celebrations.

This volume will explore Black Canadian experiences from a historical perspective, but with a firm focus on its contemporary emergence and implications. We will look at Police brutality, urban marginalization, social inequality, regional health deprivations and other contemporary issues facing Black bodies. However, we are also looking for chapters that celebrate black accomplishments in the areas of Sports, popular culture, economics and politics. With an interdisciplinary lens, the volume’s methodology will be both exploratory, investigative, deconstructive, and reconstructive. The volume will incorporate analyses from humanities scholars and from related disciplines that will enunciate models, strategies, insights, methodologies and discourses that can enlighten our understanding of Black bodies in Canada and the vitality that is inherent in their lived experiences.
Areas of focus will include but not limited to:

History (Slavery, Black Loyalist, Africville, Nova Scotia, Black Acadians etc)
Performances / Popular Culture
Linguistic analysis
Black/Indigenous relations
Oral traditions
Higher Education and Black Accessibility
Policing and Community Welfare of Black
Films and Cinema Studies (Especially representation of Black subjects)
Digital humanities
Instruction for contributors
Contributors should please submit a 150-200-word abstract, with a very short biography by 15 February, 2022 to either; or
You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of your abstract by 28 February, 2022.
Once your abstract is accepted, you will receive several information regarding the publication of the volume, the publisher, and the format for writing the chapter.
The completed chapters must reach the editors by 30 May, 2022.

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