“We are dropping like flies”: The professional and physiological implications of doing equity work.

Conference Highlights, Panels and Plenary, Professional Development

Patricia Monture (2009:26) correctly identified academia as a carceral space which is “exclusionary, silencing and perhaps even violent.” It has been long established that academia as a discursive and material space selectively recognizes particular forms of knowledge and knowledge holders/experts (Ahmed, 2012; Henry et al., 2017; Smith 2010). As “space invaders,” scholars who do not adhere to the universal/somatic norm are silenced and rendered invisible through the institutional failure to acknowledge the complex negotiations of their multiple lived experiences (Dei and Calliste, 2009:3). Space invaders in the white, male-dominated upper echelons of the academy are more likely to experience microaggressions, discrimination, and distrust of employees, and are less likely to be taken up and trusted as an expert (Puwar, 2004). Yet, it is these same bodies that are often assigned the task of transforming the academia through Indigenization and equity work. Accordingly, in this papel invited social justice scholars (with prioritization given to Indigenous and Racialized faculty members) will discuss the personal and professional costs of doing this equity work. Specifically, they will address the physical and mental health implications of Indigenization and equity work in an era of increasing hostility towards anti-colonialism and inclusion. Together, the panelists will identify the institutional support required in order to make this work meaningful and sustainable.

This session is sponsored by the Canadian Sociological Association Equity Subcommittee.


  • Jennifer Adkins, University of British Columbia
  • Vicki Bouvier, Mount Royal University
  • Roselle Gonsalves, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Lindsay Morcom, Queen’s University
  • Maki Motapanyane, Mount Royal University
Tags: Equality / Inequality, Indigenous Studies, Race and Ethnicity, Work And Professions

Organizers: Jeffrey Denis, McMaster University, Gülden Özcan, University of Lethbridge, Irene Shankar, Mount Royal University