Faculty of Arts Action on Scholar Strike Canada

A social justice initiative known as the Scholar Strike for Black Lives in Canada is taking place on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 September 2020. Over the course of these two days, participating academics plan to pause their regular teaching and administrative duties in order to draw attention to the urgent need for action against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and police brutality in the US, Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Various members of the Faculty of Arts plan to participate in this collective action. In lieu of regularly scheduled coursework many will use their resources and capacities as instructors to organize action in the form of public digital teach-ins and lectures highlighting the issue of police brutality and the structural violence that continues to exists in our communities.

Darlene Juschka, associate professor in the Department of Gender, Religion and Critical Studies, for instance, plans to deliver a talk via Zoom on the subject of power, and the intersection of race, gender and indigeneity. 'I strike to decry systemic racism and police violence', she says. 'And I teach to bring these harms to an end.'

Michelle Coupal is an associate professor in the Department of English, and is Canada Research Chair in Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenous Literatures. She likewise plans to deliver an anti-racist teach-in during her regularly scheduled class and will also be attending the teach-ins offered by Scholars Strike Canada.

Says Coupal, 'I not only stand in solidarity with scholars across the country who are participating in this two-day labour action; I also commit to do whatever I can as a researcher and teacher to end all forms of racist, carceral, institutional, and systemic forms of violence. There is a lot of talk at universities about equity, diversity and inclusion and Indigenization. But we need action. As a first step, I urge the University of Regina to end the underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous faculty by making these hires an urgent priority.'

Ian Brown, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Gender, Religion, and Critical Studies, plans to deliver a lecture about systemic racism to his students, and explain the context and meaning of calls to defund the police. Michelle Stewart, associate professor in the Department of Gender, Religion, and Critical Studies, will likewise be hosting a teach-in, as well as directing her students to the line up of national events presented by Scholars Strike Canada.

Kevin Bond, head of the Department of Gender, Religion, and Critical Studies is pleased to see the contributions colleagues in the Faculty of Arts plan to make in support of the Scholars Strike. 'It is the duty of our institutions of higher learning - and perhaps liberal arts institutions most especially - to highlight and critically examine issues of systematic and structural inequality, and to teach our students to do the same.' 

For more information about Scholars Strike Canada, visit: https://scholarstrikecanada.ca/about/