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Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

Beyond Blackness: ‘Other’ Canadians and the Re-making of the Nation

This project is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and The Ontario Innovation Trust. Under the leadership of Rinaldo Walcott as the Canadian Research Chair in Social Justice and Cultural Studies, this project analyzes work in media arts, visual arts, and music carried out by those who, because of racial, ethnic, and sexual difference, have historically been at the margins of traditional and institutional visions of the Canadian nation. In challenging dominant notions of Canadian identity, these ‘Other Canadians’ have provoked a transnational conversation, and placed the model of Canadian multiculturalism at the forefront of those struggling with how to live with multiple forms of difference in a changing nation.

The project will develop a multi-layered and interactive database as a living archive of text and photographs, video, film and music clips and audio interviews from ‘Other Canadians’ from 1960 to the present. The large scale documentation of the cultural products that result from a lived multiculturalism in Canada will allow for local and transnational conversations about, and research on, the impact of hybrid forms of representation for rewriting the nation. This archive will also provide a rich resource for educators and teacher educators working in culturally and racially ‘diverse’ schools. Thus far in the project’s first year it has employed three graduate students.

Beyond Blackness: ‘Other’ Canadians and the Re-making of the Nation explores the civic and pedagogic role of cultural work produced by youth who have grown up in the context of what Bannerji calls “popular multiculturalism” (2000), investigating how this material can mediate new political identifications within a globalizing nation. For futher information, contact Rinaldo Walcott.