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 seminar in media and political theory 

 race critical theories 


The 2020-21 GEM Seminar is organized around the problem of Race Critical Theories. Among other inspirations, it borrows its conceptual orientation from Philomena Essed and David Theo Goldberg’s 2001 eponymous collection. The volume, which both gathered seminal scholarship on race and racism from the 1980s and 1990s, alongside newly commissioned responses to that work, sought to “look back reflectively as a way forward.” Our seminar returns to this historically grounded but present-focused intervention in order to look back, as a way forward, again. We are equally inspired by the project’s challenge to nation-centric (e.g. the United States) understandings of race and racial discourse. Instead, it draws on a transnational network of scholars and activists to explore a set of multi-sited and global dynamics, demonstrating that “there is no singular national space that does or should dominate the thinking about race and racism.” This formulation is critical to GEM’s mission and informs the organization of this years’ remote lectures and workshops. Race Critical Theories works both to examine the specificities of race and racism in Canada and the US – settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, racial capitalism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, among other crucial issues – but also to locate these paradigms and expand our frames to other sub- and trans-national structures. This includes what Denise Ferreira da Silva terms the global idea of race. Finally, we take as our starting point the global Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, as well as the deeply violent inequalities exposed by the present pandemic’s disproportionate assault on Black and Indigenous communities, People of Color, Migrants, Queer and Trans* people, among many others marginalized by cisheteropatriarchy and white supremacy.


2020-2021 GEM Seminar Related Events & Annual Initiatives

Whiteness and Anti-anti-racism in Québec

Participants: Bruno Cornellier (Winnipeg), moderated by Luca Caminati 
Sept 25th, 2020 @ 2pm (Online)

Black Audio Film Collective

Participants: Edward George (BAFC) in conversation with Dhanveer Singh Brar (Goldsmiths), moderated by Kay Dickinson (Concordia) 
Oct 30th @ 2pm (Online)

Race and Affectability

Participants: Christine Goding-Doty (Hobart and William Smith)
Oct 20, 2020 @ 3pm (Online)

Asymmetries: Race, Media, and the Asia(s)

Participants: Workshop w/ Michelle Cho (UT), Eng-Beng Lim (Dartmouth), Feng-Mei (NYU), Meenasarani Murugan (Fordham), moderated by Joshua Neves (Concordia)
Nov 18, 2020 @4pm (Online)

Embodiment and Black Aesthetics

Participants: Shelleen Maisha Greene (UCLA), moderated by Luca Caminati (Concordia)
Jan 29, 2021 @ 2pm (Online)

Documenting Queer Diaspora

Participants: Atif Siddiqi (Filmmaker), Eisha Marjara (Filmmaker), moderated by Gregorio Pablo Rodríguez-Arbolay Jr (PhD Candidate, Concordia) 

Feb 19, 2021 @ 2pm (Online)

Thinking 'Race' with Foucault

Participants: Rey Chow (Duke), seminar / discussion
Mar 8, 2021 @ 2pm (Online)

Unpayable Debt

Participants: Denise Ferreira da Silva (UBC), lecture
Mar 19, 2021 @ 2pm (Online)

Race and Post-Soviet Diaspora in Transnational Reality TV

Participants: Claudia Sadowski-Smith (ASU), moderated by Masha Salazkina (Concordia)
Mar 25, 2021 @ 2pm (Online)

Black Political Making

Participants: Filmmaker Esery Mondesir in conversation with Nataleah Hunter-Young (York), moderated by May Chew (Concordia) 
Apr 8, 2021 @ 2pm (Online)

Works-In-Progress Working Group

Organizers: Lola Remy, Ylenia Olibet

Cinema in the Midst of Struggle

Organizers: Jake Pitre, Pat Bonner, Maggie El-Masry & Nhân Trần-Tiễn.

Co-Sponsored Events

  • Cultural Resistance During Dark Times: A discussion with Anand Patwardhan
    Discussion and Q&A with award winning documentarian Anand Patwardhan.
    January 24, 2021 - 5pm

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