The Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies (CIARS) is housed in the Department of Social Justice Education in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. CIARS is the first and only centre at the University of Toronto, and to our knowledge, the first one in Canada, to be devoted to Anti-Racism Studies in Education. CIARS's mandate is to enhance research and teaching in the areas of equity, anti-racism praxis and alternative knowledge(s) in education. Our research looks at education from an integrative perspective, that is, education as a process embedded within wider social processes. Our work takes place both inside and outside the immediate realm of formal education (e.g., research on inclusive schooling practices; social welfare, legal regulations affecting communities of colour; media representations of communities of colour).
CIARS' mandate also includes the generation of collaborative relationships with community and other institutional organizations.
Our Commitment to Students
CIARS constantly works to build strong relationships with students at OISE and the University of Toronto community in general. CIARS provides students who are conducting their academic research on race and racism with support and resources that inform the work of students to carry-out this type of research. By providing access to faculty working in the area of anti-racism students are able to overcome some of the difficulties in doing this kind of work.
Student and faculty interests directly involve the active participation of community groups. These areas of interest include research on the judicial system, immigration, unions, community development, community-state relations and globalization and its effects on communities of colour. Examples of recent projects in which community involvement has been integral include a project on the impact of war and displacement on Kurdish women’s learning, a study on South Asian, African and Chinese communities in Toronto; a project on inclusive schooling that seeks the input of community members on how educational activities for youth might be improved; and a project mapping how changes in the garment industry affect Chinese and South Asian garment workers involving the union and the community; and ways in which Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese women produced, sustain and transform identities through place and history.
Over the years, CIARS has regularly collaborated with community groups such as the Black Secretariat and the Congress of Black Women, co-sponsoring a number of lectures. In 1998 CIARS members conducted a series of community consultations with South Asian Family Support Services, the Sierra Leone Friendship Association, the Cross Edge Network, the Jamaica Canadian Association, Ontario Parents of Black Children, the Somali Immigrant Aid Organization, the Ashanti Canadian Multicultural Association and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands.