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'The Fire that Time: Transnational Radicalism and the Sir George William Occupation'

WhiteSpaces Learning Gatherings 2022 #1: Tuesday 29 March 2022

We will have the great pleasure to welcome Ronald Cummings and Nalini Mohabir for a launch presentation and discussion around the new book they coedited The Fire That Time: Transnational Black Radicalism and the Sir George Williams Occupation (2022).

Book summary

In 1969, in one of the most significant black student protests in North American history, Caribbean students called out discriminatory pedagogical practices at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University), before occupying the computer center for two weeks. Upon the breakdown of negotiations, the police launched a violent crackdown as a fire mysteriously broke out inside the center and racist chants were hurled by spectators on the street. It was a heavily mediatized flashpoint in the Canadian civil rights movement and the international Black Power struggle that would send shockwaves as far as the Caribbean. Half a century later, we continue to grapple with the legacies of this watershed moment in light of current resistance movements such as Black Lives Matter, calls for reparations, or Rhodes Must Fall. How is the Sir George Williams "affair" remembered, forgotten, or contested? How is blackness included or occluded in decolonizing dialogues?

The Fire That Time addresses those questions while it commemorates and reflects upon the transnational resonances of Black protest and radical student movements. Through several thoughtful essays, scholars examine the unfinished business of decolonization and its relationship to questions of pedagogy, institutional life and culture, and ongoing discussions about race and racism.

The coeditors Ronald Cummings is Associate Professor of Black Studies and African Diaspora Literatures at McMaster University, Hamilton (Ontario) and Nalini Mohabir is Assistant Professor of postcolonial geographies at Concordia University, Montreal (Quebec). They are both member of the Protests and Pedagogy Collective Event times: Universal Central Time/GMT: 16:00-17:30 Eastern Time: 11:00-12:30 European Central time : 17:00-18:30

Joining links will be forwarded to those registered prior to the event.

This event is the first in a series of 'learning gatherings' being organised by the White Spaces Network in 2022.

The White Spaces learning gatherings are part of a process of learning and change through dialogue. These events are conceived and organised by Gaspard Rey and Shona Hunter as part of White Spaces Network activities. These events build out of our experiences of being in dialogue across academic and other contexts. The broad aim is to gather to learn with others who are engaging with ideas of global colonial whiteness in antiracism which challenge substantialist approaches to white identities. The purpose is to extend and create a network of support for our antiracist thinking and practice. Without making prior assumptions as to how and in what ways that might materialise.

We hope that you’ll be interested in this project and that you’ll be able to join us for this session and then stay interested enough to engage further.


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