Original Date of Statement: March 16, 2021
In solidarity with the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA), the CSSC/SCEBD Executive has unanimously voted to withdraw from Congress 2021, choosing instead to hold an independent online conference. This decision is informed by the input gathered through the past weeks of discussion with members, guest speakers, and fellow academic societies. We would like to thank our members for sharing their thoughts and concerns during this time.
At the root of this decision is the question of what role our society must play in combating anti-Black racism, helping to decolonize academia, and creating an organization that makes all of our members feel welcome and supported. While we recognize that there are many BIPOC scholars within the Federation working towards similar goals, the organization’s treatment of the BCSA is simply unacceptable. The work of countering the structural racism within our institutions demands that organizations like Congress listen to and work in concert with Black scholars. This refusal to collaborate indicates a resistance to enacting meaningful change. The CSSC/SCEBD cannot in good conscience ask its members to participate in an organization that makes them feel alienated. Moreover, the CSSC/SCEBD must use this as an opportunity to reflect on our own complicity and determine how we can turn our statements of support into action.
The CSSC/SCEBD will still be holding an online conference on June 3 and 4, independent of Congress, focusing on the theme of Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism. We will continue to collaborate with other societies withdrawing from Congress to share our programming. Those who have been accepted to the conference will receive an email with further details, as well as instructions for those who have already registered to Congress.
We will be holding our regular AGM as part of the online conference, during which we will facilitate a discussion amongst our members regarding our society’s future relationship with the Federation. We remain a member organization of the Federation at this time. As members, we have the ability to coordinate with other societies and potentially influence the Federation and support the BCSA. However, there is a larger discussion to be had regarding this society’s roots, values, and identity as we determine the appropriate path forward.
Ultimately, our priority at the AGM will be to set action items regarding our future status as Federation members and the creation of a committee to examine how our own society can better support the work of BIPOC scholars. We hope that as many members as possible will join us as we chart the CSSC/SCEBD’s course for the upcoming years.