Most recent Conference News


2019 Annual Conference

CSA Statement in Response to Racial Profiling Incident at 2019 Congress

CSA Statement

The 53rd Annual Conference of the CSA-SCS

Theme: “Circles of Conversation”

When: Monday, June 3 through to Thursday, June 6, 2019

Location: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia

The Canadian Sociological Association Call for Sessions will be open from September 12 through October 29, 2018. We invite English and/or French session proposals to be submitted through our online system.

Research Cluster Affiliated Sessions: Critical Ethnicity and Anti-Racism

#BlackProfessorsMatter: Experiences in White Academe

Date:         Thursday Jun 06, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm                                                                          Location:  LSK 201                                                                                                                        Format:    Panel                                                                                                                                    Code:        CER4

Women, Black, racialized, disabled, Indigenous, and LGBTQ professors are routinely victimized by the tenure and promotion process in Canadian academe. For Black, Indigenous, and racialized professors that transcend “contingent” employment, denial of promotion and tenure imposes significant costs to individual well-being, interpersonal relationships, and relationships with colleagues. The situation is even worse for disabled, Indigenous and Black female professors. This panel features speakers who explore the interrelationship of anti-Black racism, race, gender, and the embodied vulnerability of the politics of tenure and promotion as a site of anti-Black racism and racial inequality for Black professors.


Dr. Bathseba Opini
Lecturer and Teacher Education Course Coordinator
Department of Educational Studies | Faculty of Education
University of British Columbia

Dr. Annette Henry
David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education
Professor, Language and Literacy Education and the Social Justice Institute
University of British Columbia

Dr. Handel Kashope Wright
Director, Centre for Culture, Identity & Education
Department of Educational Studies | Faculty of Education
University of British Columbia

Dr. Tamari Kitossa
Associate Professor, Sociology
Brock University

Organizer: Wesley Crichlow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Conversations on African Canadian Leadership Continuity, transition and transformation

Date:        Thursday Jun 06, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm                                                                        Location: LSK 201                                                                                                                          Format:   Panel                                                                                                                                  Code:       CER1

In spite of evidence to the contrary, it is frequently claimed that African Canadian leadership is in crisis. What are the reasons for this particular claim? What are its implications for research? What are its consequences for Black people in Canada and their organizing? How and in what ways are the interests of White elites served by this discourse? What are the multiplicity of ways that leadership occurs in African Canadian communities? These questions point to substantive gaps in the sociological literature on African Canadian Leadership.

This panel is based on the forthcoming and first fully sociological inquiry into African Canadian leadership titled, African Canadian Leadership: Continuity, transition and transformation (University of Toronto Press). The panel will consist of contributors and a discussant who will examine and reflect on a multiplicity of concerns in the discourse, politics and representation of African Canadian leadership.


Dr. Wesley Crichlow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Dr. Annette Henry, University of British Columbia

Dr. Carl James, York University

Chair: Dr. Erica Lawson, Western University

Discussant: Dr. Philip Howard, McGill University

Organizers: Tamari Kitossa, Brock University, Philip Howard, McGill University, Erica Lawson, Western University

Whiteness in the Age of White Rage
Date:    Thursday Jun 06 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Location:   ANGU 037

Session Code: CER3
Session Format: Regular
Session Language: English
Research Cluster Affiliation: Critical Ethnicity and Anti-Racism
Session Categories: Regular Session

Conversation, debates and framing of whiteness in Canada have become intensely political as nativism, fears of white population decline and neoliberalism mesh, giving expression to white notions of fragility, moral outrage, perceptions of victimhood, challenges to multiculturalism and assertions linking Canadianness with whiteness. Under these conditions, how are discussions about whiteness informed by the rightward shift in politics and ongoing progressive resistance? Panelists will present empirical research and theoretical developments, explore sites of discursive resistance and outline conceptual and epistemic transformations that inform text and talk about whiteness in Canada that include interrogating Islamophobia and discourses of the acceptable Muslim, unpacking the discursive framing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada, examining hegemonic whiteness and right-wing extremism and hegemonic masculinity in the Canadian Alt-Right.
Tags: (In)equality, Canadian Sociology, Race And Ethnicity

Organizers: Kathy Deliovsky, Brock University, Tamari Kitossa, Brock University


Kayla Preston, Dalhousie University

Relating Hegemonic Whiteness to Definitions of Right-Wing Extremism in Canadian Extremist Groups

Canadian right-wing extremist groups use the accessibility of the Internet to spread their message of fear and anger against those they see as the Other. This paper examines how one such group, Pegida Canada, uses hegemonic whiteness to promote a monoracial community as expressed within definitions of right-wing extremism. The research on which this paper is based uses a discourse analysis of 100 of Pegida Canada’s Facebook posts within September 2017 to interrogate and illustrate how it uses European identity to construct the Other in contrast to a monoracial community. This paper also suggests an increase in the use of the critical analysis of whiteness within examinations of right-wing extremism as these groups continue to utilize notions of racial homogeneity within their online narratives.
Ashkan Rahmani, York University

Frogs, Red Pills, Torches, and Swastikas; A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of Canadian Alt-Right Masculinities

From Italy to Britain, from Austria to the United States, waves of often right-leaning populism have been sweeping the political landscape of many Western liberal democracies. Though the Canadian political parties in collusion with the Alt-Right seem to be more centrist than their European and American counterparts, their exploitation of Alt-Right’s discourse is ground for concern. This becomes a more serious threat considering that Perry and Scrivens (2016) identified over 130 active Alt-Right groups in Canada in 2016. While the racial discourses of the Alt-Right have dominated the analysis of these groups due to the violence it perpetuates, the role of discursive practices in the Alt-Right that exploit the notion of hegemonic masculinity present in the fabric of Canadian society is understudied. Even more significant is critically examining the interconnectedness of notions such as violent domination, homophobia, misogyny and racism through formation of inter-group marginalized masculinities present in the Alt-Right’s political discourse. Researching this intersection in Canada’s Alt-Right is proven to be even scarcer. This research project, then, explores the role of hegemonic masculinity in the Canadian Alt-Right using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis by asking: How does the Canadian Alt-Right exploit the discourse of hegemonic masculinity present in Canadian construction of gender hierarchy? The scattered aspect of the Alt-Right is a challenge to examine the entire movement’s online presence in a systematic way. However, by focusing on the speeches, lectures, and interviews of four prominent Canadian figures: Laurent Southern, Faith Goldy, Jordan Peterson, and Stefan Molyneux as influential ‘thinkers’ of the ’movement,’ this project provides an environmental scan of the role of hegemonic masculinity in Canadian Alt-Right’s discourses. To accomplish this purpose, this project will apply feminist and constructivist theoretical understandings of socialization of gender to a Foucauldian discourse analysis of the Canadian Alt-Right’s online presence.
Shelina Kassam, Independent Researcher

Rendering Whiteness palatable: The Acceptable Muslim, Islamophobia and boundaries of racialized inclusion

In this paper, I trace the emergence of the figure of the Acceptable Muslim in Canadian public and political discourses and illuminate the conditions for inclusion of such figures in the national imaginary. The Acceptable Muslim is perceived as a ‘moderate,’ ‘modern,’ and assimilable Muslim, who espouses a privatized faith with few public expressions of religious/cultural belonging. Centrally located in Canadian debates about multiculturalism, gender equality, citizenship, and secularism, Acceptable Muslims (re)confirm the racial boundaries of the nation-state, becoming passionate defenders of multiculturalism, whiteness and a global politics of domination. For the Acceptable Muslim, the price of (conditional) inclusion is fidelity to the ideological goals of the Canadian nation-state. The Acceptable Muslim sustains the narrative of the Canadian nation-state as liberal, secular, modern and inclusive, even as it relentlessly excludes, punishes and eliminates the Muslim Other. Acceptable Muslims stand as sentries at the (symbolic) borders of the nation, reanimating racialized boundaries of acceptability and signaling that those beyond these boundaries can be legitimately policed by the nation-state. I theorize that Acceptable Muslims reinforce discourses of whiteness, while enabling such discourses to claim to be racially-neutral or ‘colour-blind.’ I interrogate the media footprint and cultural production of four key Acceptable Muslim figures and identify two sets of figures, the Secular Muslim and the Multiculturalist Muslim, both of which fall under the Acceptable Muslim archetype. My analysis provides insights into how Canada has re-configured the power and persistence of its white fantasy, and, through the strategic use of the Acceptable Muslim, cloaks its deeply racialized coding in more palatable grammars of multiculturalism, gender equality, and secularism. While the paper examines Acceptable Muslims in the Canadian context, such figures are evident internationally, illuminating how the figure of the Acceptable Muslim travels across geographical boundaries and is implicated in the global dynamics of whiteness.
Laura Mudde, University of British Columbia

Framing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada: A Media Analysis of White Rhetoric and Colonial Denial in Indigenous-Non-Indigenous Relations from 2003 to 2016

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada uncovered the trauma experienced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s residential schools, which were governed and led by church officials and government. In 2008, Stephen Harper formally apologized for residential schools. However, this apology has been undermined by his denial of colonial history in 2009. This contradiction is part of a broader narrative of colonial denial that obscures the perpetual mechanisms of institutional and public racism and discrimination. This paper will engage with public discourse and academic literature on colonialism and whiteness in Canada to unpack non-Indigenous rhetoric of Indigenous peoples. The concept of whiteness needs to be problematized to document the effects of reconciliation, colonial denial, and colonial guilt. This paper draws on a frame analysis of public discourse to analyze rhetoric regarding the TRC and colonialism in general. This case study engages with Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives of the Canadian TRC process through a qualitative analysis of newspaper articles published in five Canadian newspapers. This research substantiates how non-Indigenous rhetoric problematically aligns the residential school legacy and its apology with the ‘end of colonialism,’ obscuring structural mechanisms of institutionalized racism.

Critical Ethnicity and Anti-Racism Research Cluster Meeting: Thursday June 6, 5:15-6:15 pm, LSK 201, CER-MT

Conference Call for Sessions

2017 Annual Conference

The 52nd Annual Conference of the CSA-SCS

Theme:                        From Far & Wide: The Next 150

When:                          Monday, May 29 through to Thursday, June 1, 2017

Location:                     Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.



Research cluster affiliated sessions





Still I Rise: Anti-Racism Resistances

Session Code:  RE1                                                                 Session Format:  Roundtable

With the rise of systemic racism in various forms, it is important to explore the creative resistances that are also taking place. This session will explore these resistances taking place in the Canadian context.

Organizer and Chair:  Maria Wallis, York University


  1. Breaking Silence and Opening Windows

Author(s): Sonia Aujla-Bhullar, University of Calgary 

Quite understandably, emotional responses, whether controlled or spontaneous, whether positive, negative or apparently neutral, permeate our day-to-day interpersonal interactions. Although the roles and functions of emotions are seldom acknowledged in either the social sciences literature concerning relationships between dominant/dominated individuals and groups, or in one’s workplace, emotions pervade all socially constructed systems and structures of power and concomitant social relations. In one’s workplace, for example, emotions are often relegated to the margins. They are regarded as unnecessary intrusions or viewed as being individual, personal, subjective, instinctive, feminine and accordingly, allowable to some extent, in private spheres of one’s life. With the use of stories of various women from a larger study, this paper draws on important works of critical emotional studies and critical feminist studies to explore the roles and functions of emotions (positive and negative) as nsights into identifying forms of social control. It further explains some key strategies of enforcement of dominant discourses in public educational institutions. As importantly, it identifies minority women teachers’ responses to the socio-economic and cultural work environments in which minorities are seldom welcome. The discussion will include a few findings from my far larger study about the experiences of South Asian women teachers in a western Canadian, prairie city as a window revealing insights concerning emotions previously silenced.

  1. Practice of Sakihitowin: Mediation of racism from a Nehiyaw/Cree worldview

Author(s): Davina Rousell, Carleton University     

To date the study of prejudice has and continues to be informed by Western theories of knowledge and resulted in the marginalization of non-Western ways of knowing such as Indigenous theories of knowledge. This study addressed this dearth in the literature by employing inductive methodologies (Indigenous and Grounded Theory) to examine a cohort of 21 Indigenous students’ lived experience with an option course called the Photography class. This class taught students about the mediation of racism from a Nehiyaw/Cree worldview through the teaching and practice of sakihitowin/love. By strategically interweaving Indigenous and Grounded Theory methodologies, the study facilitated the emergence of a substantive process theory term the sakihitowin learning circle. This theory provides critical insight into how community stakeholders can begin developing more effective and meaningful approaches to mediation of racism in the Canadian context of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations.

  1. Allying While White: Three Frames for Praxis

Author(s): Ismael Traore, McMaster University     

Antiracism study in Canada mainly focuses on differentiating itself from multiculturalism, identifying the latter’s ineffectiveness, unearthing the resistance of white educators and service providers to antiracism education, and promoting antiracist education. Very little empirical studies look at the intersection of quotidian bystander antiracism and whiteness; what I call “allying while white”. Drawing from qualitative interviews and surveys with 35 white participants, I present three frameworks participants use to conceptualize antiracism as external action. These include: equality and human rights, anti-oppression, and unpacking whiteness. I also cover key facilitators and challenges participants face in doing antiracism. Of particular significance is participants’ cognizance of the psychosocial consequence of racism to Whites. I argue that this generates a personal investment in doing antiracism that is more stable than bystander action that is exclusively motivated by images of the ‘suffering racialized other’. Recent movements such as Black Lives Matter and Idle No More have led to fiery debates about the role of moderate white progressives in racial justice seeking social movements. Drawing from social identity theory and racial identity development theory, my study maps out the ideal way Whites can position themselves in these movements.

  1. Whither Multiculturalism? Anti-Black Racism and Black Resistance in Toronto, from the BADC to BLM

Author(s): Storm Jeffers, University of Toronto       

This work challenges the trope of Canadian multiculturalism by taking stock of the history of anti-black racism, black resistance , and efforts to dismantle resistance through symbolic and physical violence. I analyzed 198 newspaper articles and self-made webpages to identify and compare factors which facilitated or hindered the efficacy of 2 Toronto-based resistance groups; the Black Action Defence Committee ([BADC] most prominent from 1988-1992) and Black Lives Matter Toronto ([BLMTO], 2014-2016). BLMTO has had more relative efficacy at meeting their own goals than their predecessors. This is because 1) the efforts of the BADC brought anti-black racism into the public consciousness, creating a foundation for future black liberation movements. 2) BLMTO has benefitted from social media and demonstrated mastery of social media as a tool in their repertoire of resistance. 3) Leadership characteristics (race as it intersects with gender, class, education level, and sexual orientation) impact the outcome of social movements. Those who contend resistance groups use rhetoric predicated on hegemonic narratives based on these characteristics to suppress credibility and situate both movements as social problems . Nevertheless, as compared to BADC, the leadership characteristics of BLMTO position them as less of a threat than their predecessors and invites allyship .

  1. Comparative Perspectives on an Antiracist Sociology

Author(s): Jarrett Rose, York University     

As a product of the Enlightenment, sociology—the scientific study of society and social behavior—is founded on an “objective” approach to analyzing social phenomena. Yet, despite aspirations to universal equality, social “perfectibility,” and neutrality, many founders of the discipline have been accused of racial discrimination and Eurocentrism. To address this paradox, I assess two distinct theoretical paradigms aimed at the genesis of racism and racial categorizations in social theory by asking the question, “Can there be an antiracist sociology?” By analyzing the differences between Karl Marx’s historical materialism and Michel Foucault’s genealogical method, this paper will evaluate the implications of such divergent perspectives on systemic racism within the fields of sociological and philosophical analysis in an effort to assess possibilities for a future antiracist sociology.


Session Code:  Equity                                                           Session Format:  Panel

This panel interrogates inequalities that structure Canadian academe and that reproduce the marginalisation of women, Indigenous, Black, racialized, queer and trans-scholars. This panel engages in a radical and critical race sociology of organisations to ask: What are the institutional and professional obstacles (for example, tenure and promotion processes, contingent “precarious” labour) and cultures (for example, what scholarship, professional “comportment” and cultural “know-how” are valued) that produce privilege and marginality? At the same time, how do academics on the margins challenge these institutional structures and cultures of inequality at the university, advance demands for justice, engage in transformative struggle, and build new spaces for our communities, students and colleagues?

Organizer(s):  Min Zhou, University of Victoria; Augustine Park, Carleton University; Wesley Crichlow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Jennifer Mills, Harriet Tubman Institute For Research on Africa and Its Diasporas


  • Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University
  • Andrea A. Davis, York University
  • Tamari Kitossa, Brock University
  • Melanie Knight, Ryerson University

Moderator: Wesley Crichlow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Exploring the Configurations of Whiteness I

Session Code:  RE2A                                                              Session Format:  Regular Session

Critical Whiteness Studies is a growing, global and interdisciplinary field of scholarly inquiry. The field aims to expose whiteness’ hidden dimensions. It seeks to challenge its everyday ideologies, practices, relationality, ways of being and knowing that sustain racial domination and privilege. The conceptual framework of whiteness raises questions of who gets to be white, when and under what conditions.

Organizer(s):  Katerina Deliovsky, Brock University; Tamari Kitossa, Brock University   Chair: Katerina Deliovsky, Brock University


  1. Seeing “Whiteness” through the prism of interracial intimacy

Author(s): Tanvi Sirari, University of British Columbia 

In the literature on race and ethnicity, whiteness is understood as an empty and unmarked category, one that allows it to be framed as a normative position through which other races and cultures are defined. Yet the description ‘White’ is seldom invoked as a racial or cultural category. In this paper, I argue that certain conditions such as “interracial intimacy” can bring Whiteness into sharper focus. This paper draws on semi-structured interviews conducted together and separately with interracial couples, in the greater Vancouver area. Specifically, I study how White subjects’ awareness of their own ‘racialness’ is heightened when they are cohabiting with a romantic partner who belongs to a racialized community. Interracial intimacy provokes a range of intellectual and affective responses. White partners determine whiteness in the context of their relationship. Often, they are able to develop a knowledge of whiteness by comparing their own experience of race with that of their partners. The Canadian context of multicultural tolerance provides the framework in which White subjects situate their engagement with their partners’ experiences. However, interracial intimacy can also arouse a defensive reaction. White subjects may refuse to acknowledge or minimize their partners’ encounters with racism or deny their own racial privilege. The challenge for White partners in these partnerships is not “rebound racism”, but the need for cultivating “racial literacy” to recognize racism experienced by their partners, as they witness and share these experiences as a couple.

  1. “I had missionary grandparents for Christ’s sakes”: Unpacking whiteness and colonialism in the lives of white Euro-Canadian women in transracial/cultural families.

Author(s): Willow Allen, Simon Fraser University                 

As subjects who face gender oppression and racial privilege, white women have played a unique role in his tories of colonialism and nation-building, and they have a distinct responsibility to a different future (Carter, 1997; Frankenberg, 1993; Knapman, 1986; Najmi & Srikanth, 2002; Ware, 1992). Drawing on data from my qualitative study of ten white Euro-Canadian women in transracial/cultural families with black African new immigrant partners in the Canadian context, I examine participants’ experiences and subjectivities in relation to histories of empire. Employing an antiracist “interventive in-depth interviewing” method (Okolie, 2005), and informed by critical race feminisms, critical whiteness studies, and antiracism scholarship, I explore how the women make connections between their own racialized and gendered subjectivities, and conditions of colonialism. I argue in order for white women to bear witness to the historical weight of their whiteness, forming linkages between their individual subject-positions and broader social, political and economic conditions is necessary. Within the current political climate, in which a significant number of white women voted for Trump in the American election, this is a critical time to address the positionality of white women, and the significant role they can play in disrupting white supremacy (Anderson, 2016; Rogers, 2016).

  1. Pierre Bourdieu meets Rudolph Valentino: Racial Ambiguity and Silent Film

Author(s): Elizabeth (Lisa) Peden, University of Toronto  

As the racially ambiguous daughter of Southern Italian immigrant parents, my research examines our need to classify individuals into racial categories. Bourdieu (1993) argues that classifying systems are “at stake of struggles between groups they characterize and counterpose, who fight over them while striving to turn them to their own advantage.” This paper will examine the notion of categories with respect to race by considering the large population of Southern Italian immigrants to America in the early 20 th century deemed racially ambiguous. What happens when something or someone is seen as uncategorizeable? Utilizing early 20th century film as a case study and relying on Bourdieu’s assertions, I argue that film is an important cultural tool for the reproduction of social structures and it was through film that Southern Italian immigrant film actor Rudolph Valentino negotiated his racial ambiguity in order to be categorized and seen as ”white” and thus win a place in the social order. As someone who has spent her life answering the question “what are you,” my research has taken me into an area where I hope to answer not what I am, but why we need to ask.   

  1. Are Portuguese-Canadians White?

Author(s): Esra Ari, Western University     

Whiteness refers to a privileged location in the economic, social, and political power relations, which is more than skin colour (Harris 1993, Levine-Rasky 2013, Howard 2015). It confers some material benefits and privileged status, usually unearned and mostly unrecognized, on white people (McIntosh 2004). Whiteness is socially constructed, and therefore its meaning differs depending on a particular time and a specific place. Accordingly, this research deals with the meaning of “whiteness” for Portuguese-Canadians and its intersection with “ethnicity” and “social class” and asks the question of “Are Portuguese-Canadians “white” in a white dominant, ethnically diverse, and competitive capitalist society?” When Portuguese started to immigrate to Canada in mid-1950s in significant numbers, they were conceived as “dark-whites” (Harney 1990). Today, Portuguese are categorized as “white” in official documents, and they have amalgamated under the white European group (Nunes 2008, 2014). This research first examines how Portuguese see themselves racially and ethnically, and second, whether their categorization as “white” automatically implies an economically, politically, and socially privileged position in Canada. As a research methodology, I conducted 21 in-depth interviews with Portuguese in Toronto. Furthermore, seeking an answer to my research question, the history of Portugal, the entrance status of Portuguese immigrants into Canada, and their current position in the institutional power structure will also inform my analysis.

Exploring the Configurations of Whiteness II

Session Code:  RE2B                                                              Session Format:  Regular Session

Critical Whiteness Studies is a growing, global and interdisciplinary field of scholarly inquiry. The field aims to expose whiteness’ hidden dimensions. It seeks to challenge its everyday ideologies, practices, relationality, ways of being and knowing that sustain racial domination and privilege. The conceptual framework of whiteness raises questions of who gets to be white, when and under what conditions. Papers in this session contribute to developing a shared space for inter and transdisciplinary conversations on whiteness in Canada.

Organizer(s):  Katerina Deliovsky, Brock University; Tamari Kitossa, Brock University   

Chair: Katerina Deliovsky, Brock University


  1. The Great White North: Qualitative Interviews with Retired Professional Players on Race and Hockey in Canada

Author(s): Nathan Kalman-Lamb, Duke University     

In the last five decades, Canada has increasingly – and officially – come to perform a multicultural identity in large part because of the cultural capital this identity has engendered in an era of globalization and the legitimacy it confers to a nation founded on a colonial history and reliant upon a current political economy significantly underwritten by officially-sanctioned racialized migrant labour. Yet, at its core, Canadian identity remains hegemonically white. This is only laid bare in contexts where the stakes of identity are highest and most personal, such as the national pastime, hockey. In the world of professional and semi-professional hockey in Canada, there is little space multicultural discourse, because there is little space for non-white subjects of any kind. Canadian hockey is an arena for the unapologetically naked rehearsal of hegemonic whiteness that persists at the heart of Canadian national identity. In this presentation, I draw on interview testimony from a larger project in which I conducted semi-structured interviews with eight former professional hockey players who participated in a range of levels of professional hockey, from the U.K. to the North American minor leagues to the NHL. All identified as Canadian and currently reside in Canada. An examination of this testimony reveals that racism is both ubiquitous and unacknowledged in Canadian hockey culture, for in the Canadian national imaginary, hockey exists as an essentially white realm. Indeed, the putative racial purity of hockey metonymically comes to represent the pristine whiteness at the core of Canadian national identity itself, beneath the pragmatic veneer of multiculturalism. To acknowledge racism, then, would be to concede that heterogeneity and structural inequality exist within the Canadian nation, a concession that would compromise the legitimacy and sanctity of the nation as imagined.

  1. Who’s not getting hired?: The role of employer gatekeeping in cultivating citizens, good workers and racial identities

Author(s): Sonia D’Angelo, York University 

The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program marked its 50 th anniversary in 2016. The program developed in response to the crisis or deficiencies of the Canadian labour market. A crisis of Canadian identity also marked the historical climate of the programs institutionalization. The liberalizing of immigration and citizenship policies, together with the commitment to multiculturalism, arguably enshrined whiteness as a Canadian national ideal. Since the development of the program agricultural employers have enjoyed the privileges of assembling or ‘picking their labour’ (Preibisch, 2010). This paper will consider how the organization of migrant labour is in part shaped by and through the assemblage of potential ‘Canadian’ candidates as unbefitting workers. Thus I examine how employers make decisions about who not to hire. I survey discourses of deservingness and morality which infuse and cultivate meanings of citizenship, whiteness, and ideas about “good” workers. These discourses effectively authorize white racial domination over migrant workers in Canada. I investigate how differences between “good” and “bad” workers are socially produced and structured by race, class, nationality and gender. Specifically, I consider how this typology of good/bad workers sustains tensions between “bad” white Canadian workers and “good” temporary migrant workers. I argue that this tactic of differentiation is vital to sustaining the exceptional quality of the SAWP.

  1. Reinventing Empire: Citizenship Education in the Age of Internationalism and Racial liberalism

Author(s): Nancy Spina, University of Toronto     

In this paper I focus on the re-articulation of whiteness as a benevolent yet imperial agentic and affective self through an empirical analysis of the social studies curricula utilized in Ontario during the 1950s and 1960s. My analysis is framed by postcolonial, feminist and antiracist theories about whiteness, otherness and Canadian nationalism. Connecting curricular documents to hegemonic notions of liberal internationalism and racial liberalism that I emphasize how the innocent teaching and learning practices of progressive Education and its underlying notions of subject, community and democracy were instrumental in propelling into the present an imperial subject who through a moral concern for the Other both nationally and globally, was able to erase the other’s political agency and thus re-acquire full and unrestrained imperil autonomy. I also consider t some of the implications of my findings for future reflections on the relationship between progressive education and multicultural and global citizenship education.

  1. Mainstreaming and normativity of dominant-group culture – a phenomenon particular to the Global North?

Author(s): Caroline Schoepf, Hong Kong Baptist University; Matthew Chew, Hong Kong Baptist University   

Whiteness researchers have observed that in many ‘Western’ society of the Global North, ‘White’ culture is mainstreamed, normative and its bearers feel a sense of culturelessness. However, the literature is inconclusive about whether this is a regional or global phenomenon and what mechanisms cause it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with different ethnic groups in Hong Kong, we argue that in Hong Kong, there is no single ‘mainstreamed’ or ‘normative’ culture. Instead, there is a cultural hierarchy which all ethnic groups tend to be conscious of. ‘Western’ ‘Japanese’ and ‘Korean’ culture tends to be positioned above ‘Chinese’ culture. Acculturation to some aspects of ‘Western’ culture is perceived as mandatory for natives and migrants in upper-middle class circles, but not in working class ones. Migrants or sojourners from highly ranked cultures are not expected to acculturate to ‘Chinese’ culture, but working-class individuals bearing low-ranked cultures are. We argue that the cultural mainstreaming and normativeness of ‘Whiteness’ is a phenomenon specific to ‘White-majority’ societies of the Global North and arises through an interplay of local and global power structures.

Wages of Whiteness and Penalties of Colour since Confederation: ‘Crime’, myth and Racialization in Canada

Session Code:  RE3                                                                 Session Format:  Regular session

This session features presentations situated in the perspectives of anti-criminology, counter-colonial criminology, critical criminology, queer criminology and Critical Race Feminist Theory to map the empirical, theoretical and philosophical terrain on which the racialization of crime enables the obfuscation of the ‘wage of whiteness’ in offending and the normalization of systemic racism.

Organizer(s): Wesley Crichlow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Tamari Kitossa, Brock University     

Chair: Wesley Crichlow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology


  1. Interrogating Whiteness and Enrichment: Exploring access to enrichment programming for Black students in the Greater Toronto Area

Author(s): R.C. George, York University           

African Canadian learners are visibly underrepresented in gifted programs and academic streams in GTA schools. Using Critical Race Theory as a conceptual frame, this paper will explore the ways in which historical and current educational policies in Ontario limit the ways in which Black students can access enriched learning opportunities and therefore, contributes to the stifling of their academic success, possibilities and trajectories, and thus, maintains the Whiteness of enriched educational spaces. We will also explore the history and background of educational policies that marginalize Black students, address issues around the lack of collection of race data, explore the ways in which the geography of enrichment acts as an access barrier for Black students and then discuss the real-life experiences and implications for Black students and their families. This research contributes to a body of knowledge that is critical of the differential treatment that Black students often face in the Ontario schooling system, but focuses more specifically on the ways in which institutional practices and policies act to limit the opportunities and outcomes for Black learners, especially those who are high-achieving. This research critically interrogates the intersecting, overlapping and problematic relationships between race, class, space, geography and education.

  1. Policing and Racial Profiling in Montreal: Findings from a Participatory Action Research Project with Youth

Author(s): Anne-Marie Livingstone, Johns Hopkins University           

Racial profiling by the police has long been a significant problem in Montreal, prompting the city’s police service to launch an action plan against racial and social profiling in 2014. Yet, empirical studies of the phenomenon remain surprisingly sparse. One investigation showed that between 2001 and 2007, black youth in Montreal were four times more likely than white youth to be stopped by the police and 2.5 times more likely to be arrested. The presentation will discuss the results of the first-ever qualitative study on racial profiling and its impact on young people in Montreal. It was implemented in a neighborhood of the city where racial profiling has been documented before, though only anecdotally. The study was undertaken using a participatory methodology, so as to fully engage a group of racial minority youth in the study’s design and implementation. From January 2015 to the present, a team of three academic researchers and five young people from the neighborhood has led the study and completed 46 interviews with participants aged 15 to 28 years. The team read and coded the interview transcripts line-by-line and settled on four major themes that will be covered in the presentation. These are: police methods of intercepting youth, social constructions of youth deviance, forms of police abuse, and reactions of youth. The findings illustrate that racial profiling remains common in the neighborhood and takes on many different forms, including: random stops of youth on the street, controls on young people’s use of public spaces, racial insults, and punishments for minor infractions. The study further reveals the harmful effects of these practices on young people’s sense of their rights as citizens, racial identities, feelings of safety, and trust in the police.

  1. Economic and cultural deviance: Unraveling ‘criminalization of poverty’ discourse in Canada

Author(s): Deirdre McDonald, Carleton University; Marcella Siqueira Cassiano, University of Alberta         

Social scientists in Canada invariably categorize by-laws regulating behaviours associated with poverty, including enforcement and effects, under the umbrella term ’criminalization of poverty.’ The life-sustaining activities of the poor in urban spaces (e.g. panhandling, squeeging, and sleeping in public areas) are usually seen as public menaces. Yet, despite the increasing popularization of such regulatory mechanisms across the country, the literature assigned in Canadian undergraduate teaching eludes a decisive definition of ‘poverty’ as a subject of punishment. Furthermore, this term is often equated to ‘police bias’ in arrests, seeing it as the root cause explanation for potentially strong inverse correlations between income and criminality. Driven to better understand poverty as an analytical category relevant to Canadian society, we confront the notion of ‘poverty’ as ‘economic and cultural’ deviance, arguing that the real subject of criminalization involves beliefs, behaviours, attitudes, and habits that are simply beyond the pale, especially those associated with Indigeneity, because they pose a risk to the insidious modern capitalist maxim: “if we simply work hard enough we will get ahead.” We carried out evaluative research of historical documents of the Department of Indian Affairs reporting on the government’s progress in assimilating Indigenous populations into the modern economic logic. By problematizing the notion of poverty and society’s current responses to it, our efforts are intended to assist the design of crime control solutions that have a clear agenda; solutions that effectively distinguish criminal behaviour from life-sustaining activities and, more importantly, that can be transparently and objectively assessed. We hope this instructive analysis equips readers with insights to critique discourses that blame ‘police bias’ for the social problem of the overrepresentation of low-income populations in Canada’s criminal justice system.