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Public Lecture: When Diversity is Our Strength - Negotiating Discussions and Discourses of Race in the City of Toronto Export this event to calendar

Thursday, March 15, 2018 — 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM EDT

Join us in the Dunker Family Lounge (REN 1303) to hear Dr. Shana Almeida speak on diversity, racism and the influence of language in social fields. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a chance to meet with her following the presentation.

Presentation Topic:

This presentation draws on the results of a genealogical study of diversity in the City of Toronto to demonstrate how the matrix of diversity re-frames claims of racism, making racial Others articulate(d) subjects only to the extent that diversity is reiterated and reproduced by them, and through them. Engaging with an understanding of diversity as a discourse and as performative, this presentation begins to trace and make visible how historical, racial norms become perpetually linked to racialized bodies, through texts and speech acts, in order to maintain the “diverse” City of Toronto and its reputation for anti-racism, democracy and inclusion on the world stage. In an interesting twist, diversity in the City of Toronto is shown to both reject and require race, in order to reproduce itself.

Implications for how we think about and use the language of diversity in various fields, including social work, social policy, education and activism work at local, national and international levels will be discussed.

About the Presenter:

Dr. Shana Almeida is a scholar, researcher, and activist in Toronto. Her research and teaching contributions are informed by over eight years of work experience in the municipal government of Toronto, Canada, as Special Advisor to Toronto City Councillor Olivia Chow, and as Chief of Staff to Toronto City Councillor Gord Perks. During her time at the City, Dr. Almeida spearheaded several City-wide policy initiatives, especially in the areas of anti-racism, immigration, employment, recreation, public health, poverty, civic engagement and housing.

Dr. Almeida completed her Ph.D. in the School of Social Work at York University (2016). Her doctoral thesis, an exploration of how race is reproduced and organized through “diversity” discourse in the City of Toronto, provides the foundation for her forthcoming book Toronto the Good? Negotiating Race and Belonging in the Diverse City, with University of Toronto Press. This book represents a significant departure from popular understandings and depictions of diversity and the City of Toronto in that it uniquely attends to the question of what diversity does in and for the City, as a discourse and as a mechanism of power. Dr. Almeida has been invited to share her work locally and internationally, including in Toronto, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, and Grahamstown, South Africa.

REN - Renison University College
1303 - Dunker Lounge
240 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G4