Online Event and Upcoming Conference
Slavery and Reparations:
African Nova Scotia, Canada and Beyond
Monday, November 1
Panel Discussion — 3:00 pm AT / 2:00 pm ET
Featuring Cikiah Thomas, Delvina Bernard and Andrea Douglas
Keynote Lecture — 6:00 pm AT / 5:00 pm ET
Featuring Professor Sir Hilary Beckles
To register, click here.
Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College, together and in partnership with the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia are pleased to announce an online event focused on the theme of Slavery and Reparations: African Nova Scotia, Canada and Beyond. This event is being held in preparation for the 2023 Universities Studying Slavery Conference, which will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia (see below).
About the Keynote Speaker
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, is a distinguished academic and a global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment who has achieved recognition internationally for his academic contributions and leadership expertise.
He has lectured extensively in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia and has published over 100 peer-reviewed essays in scholarly journals and over 13 books on subjects ranging from Atlantic and Caribbean history, gender relations in the Caribbean, sport development and popular culture.
In 2007 he was awarded Barbados’ highest national honour when he was made a Knight of St. Andrew for his contributions to “Higher Education, the Arts and Sports.” He has received numerous honorary doctorates from around the world and in 2021 he received the Martin Luther King Jr Global Award for Peace and Freedom.
Sir Hilary is Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Advisor on Sustainable Development to former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of Universities Caribbean, and Chairman of the Caribbean Examinations Council.
2023 Universities Studying Slavery Conference
Together, and in partnership with the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College will host the Universities Studying Slavery (USS) conference in the fall of 2023 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The conference will open on Wednesday, October 18, and conclude on Saturday, October 21. Originally scheduled for this year (2021), the conference was moved from its original date due to the uncertainty and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a major international conference on slavery’s role in higher education and its legacies, which include the international movement for reparations and redress, this will be the first USS conference held outside of the United States. It will also be the first USS conference to foreground the history of slavery in Nova Scotia and Canada, and the experience of African Nova Scotians particularly.
Based out of the University of Virginia and comprising more than 60 universities, USS is dedicated to organizing multi-institutional collaboration on research into historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality in higher education and university communities. Dalhousie was the first Canadian university to join this groundbreaking organization, followed shortly thereafter by King’s.
In recent years both institutions have undertaken scholarly inquiries to examine their connections, direct and indirect, to slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 2019, led by Dr. Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University published its Report on Lord Dalhousie’s History on Slavery and Race, and in 2020, King’s released the papers written for King’s & Slavery: A Scholarly Inquiry. Both studies documented Dalhousie and King’s multiple connections with slavery and their financial dependence on the wealth created by enslaved Black people.
Further to these efforts, as joint hosts of the 2023 conference, Dalhousie and King’s affirm their commitment to the work advanced by the USS, and their respective commitments to address Anti-Black racism and advance Black inclusion and achievement. The conference will focus attention on the multiple ways in which Anti-Black discrimination in and beyond universities is rooted in historical enslavement and the perpetuation of the racist ideologies that fuelled it, while also examining the multi-generational harms and disadvantages that are its legacy.
Furthermore, the conference will focus on the perseverance, contributions and triumphs of Black people and communities, in Canada, Nova Scotia and around the “Black Atlantic” world. There will be a parallel focus on the urgent calls in response to Black Lives Matter for universities to redress Anti-Black racism, foster Black inclusion and enable Black flourishing, and the work universities have undertaken in response to those calls.
“While the history of slavery has been in our curriculum, the Black Lives Movement has brought a certain urgency for us to address the lingering impact of the Atlantic triangular slave trade on people of African descent,” says Dr. Isaac Saney, chair of the organizing committee for the conference and Director of the Transition Year Program at Dalhousie, whose research focuses on Cuban Affairs and African Studies. “This conference is designed to create a space for earnest and respectful conversations on this global issue and to specifically reflect on Canada and Nova Scotia’s presence in the triangle.”
“In these times of heightened awareness of race-based issues around the world, delving deeper and exploring slavery and its effects on society, economics and the racialized trauma that exists today will go a long way to developing a greater understanding of Black culture,” says Russell Grosse, Executive Director of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia. “Black people have made a significant contribution to the building of Canadian society and Nova Scotia’s Black community certainly has a long and lasting legacy of overcoming adversity to make society better.”
Community participation in the Conference will be one of its major features. Dalhousie, King’s and the Black Cultural Centre will be seeking input from Black communities and institutions from across Nova Scotia to ensure that the conference reflects the history, experience and future of its host location.
More information on the conference will be shared at a later date.