“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 co-sponsored by the Canadian Sociological Association Equity Subcommittee and Policy, Ethics and Professional Concerns Subcommittee.

Chair: Dr. Irene Shankar, Mount Royal University


Dr. Lindsay Morcom, Queen’s University

Dr. Lindsay Morcom is an interdisciplinary researcher with experience in education, Aboriginal languages, language revitalization, and linguistics.  She earned her Master’s degree in Linguistics at First Nations University through the University of Regina in 2006.  She then completed her doctorate in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 2010.  From 2014-2019 she coordinated the campus-based and community-based iterations Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  During this time she was also a professor in the Faculty of Education.  She is now an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education.  She embraces her mixed Anishinaabe, Black Sea German, and French heritage, and the responsibilities to reconciliation that mixed heritage brings.  She is a member of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation.

Dr. Roselle Gonsalves, ATB Financial

Roselle M. Gonsalves is the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at ATB Financial, where she heads up the strategic initiatives to weave equity and inclusion into all aspects of the organization’s endeavours. Her work in the field of EDI is underpinned by 10+ years of working and teaching in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion; and within diverse sectors including social services, consulting, and post-secondary. Roselle holds a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto in Sexual Diversity Studies and Religious Studies, and earned her PhD at the University of Calgary in the study of transnational immigrant identity, Canadian multiculturalism, and intersectionality. Roselle approaches her work with a sense of humour, and a reflexive, intersectional, anti-oppression, anti-racism framework to allow for more inclusive ways of understanding the world.

Dr. Maki Motapanyane, Mount Royal University

Maki Motapanyane is an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Department of Humanities at Mount Royal University. She is the editor of Motherhood and Lone/Single Parenting: A 21st Century Perspective (Demeter Press, 2016), Mothering in Hip-Hop Culture: Representation and Experience (Demeter Press, 2012), and co-editor (with Roksana Badruddoja) of “New Maternalisms”: Tales of Motherwork (Dislodging the Unthinkable) (Demeter Press, 2016). Her broader set of research and academic publications span the areas of feminist theory, transnational feminist research methods, African feminist frameworks, organizational diversity and equity mandates, stand-up comedy and racialized humour, and gender in Hip-Hop culture.

Jennifer Adkins, University of British Columbia

Vicki Bouvier, Mount Royal University


Tags: Equality and Inequality, Indigenous Studies, Race and Ethnicity, Work And Professions

Organizers: Irene Shankar, Mount Royal University, Robert Henry, University of Saskatchewan, Gülden Özcan, University of Lethbridge, Kristin Lozanski, King's University College, Western University