Black/African Feminisms Conference (2024)
About The Black/African Feminisms Conference
The Black/ African Feminisms Conference on the 19th (virtual) and 20th (in-person) of April 2024, is an invitation to interact with a community of presenters, panelists and conference attendees to explore the multitude of perspectives on the topic. Blackness is not a monolith. Within the Canadian context, Black Canadians represent a range of people of African descent from the continent and the diaspora. The goal of the conference is to create space to share and discuss these complexities and commonalities. It is the brainchild of Dr. Njoki Wane, a celebrated and renowned scholar, whose work focuses on gender, colonialism, anti-colonialism, Black Feminisms, Indigenous knowledge practices, spirituality, African immigrant women in Canada and anti-racism education. As the chair of the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, Dr. Wane’s contributions to the field offer opportunities for dialogue and inquiry into Black identity.
The overarching theme of the conference is “Black/African Health and Well-Being.” Other themes that will be explored include, but not limited to, conceptualizing Black/African health, healing spaces, spirituality, empowerment, self-care, peacebuilding, reconciliation, intergenerational health and wisdom, and emotional well-being. According to Wane (2014), it is evident that there is no universal Black experience; however, there is a call for concerted efforts to forge intellectual and cultural linkages rooted in our common origins.
Black Feminisms are therefore the convergence point where our past, present and future voices, our struggles and triumphs and holistic stories can be told, celebrated and handed over to future generations (Wane, 2014). This is a clarion call for all of us Black Feminists scattered across the globe to come together and form a powerful circle that will “collapse all screens that threaten to obscure our eyes from the beauties of the world" (Ogundipe-Leslie & Ourselves, 1994; Wane, 2014).
Call for Papers
Professor Njoki Wane, current Chair and Professor of the Social Justice in Education department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, is a lead scholar in multidisciplinary studies in education. Dr. Wane invites you to the second Bi- Annual conference on Black/ African Feminisms. Black (Canadian) Feminisms aims to center the experiences of people of African ancestry by providing space to define their experiences and reclaim narrative erasure. “The multiplicity of Black feminisms reflects the reality that being “Black Canadian” is a contested and heterogeneous identity. Thus, Black Feminisms are the convergence of many journeys to a central place by people who are located differently in terms of class, sexuality, language, [locations], and ethnicity yet who share similar histories.” (Wane et. al, 2002, p. 15).
Black/African Feminisms is activism rooted in Black people’s common histories such as colonialism, slavery, imperialism and neocolonialism and the interrogation of these oppressions in all its nuances, complexities and disrupting it accordingly (Wane, 2009). Additionally, the historical aspect of African women leaders and of Black women leadership in the 21st century influences the way we engage and progress with Black Feminisms. While challenging systems of oppression requires an understanding of shared histories, African/Black women leadership also reminds us to collectively acknowledge the complex and contradicting ways Black/African peoples embody and engage with Black Feminisms. Some may engage with Black Feminisms through their self-determination and agency, while others may be guided by their talents and spirituality (Wane, 2022). Nevertheless, the theorizing of Black/African Feminisms has to be flexible enough to embrace the lived experiences of a diverse group of Black/African people who weave different cloths of their own identity (Wane, 2009; Wane, 2022; Amoah, 1991).
Black/African Feminist activism and community building, while crucial to liberation, can be exhausting, emotionally tasking, and even debilitating (Scott, 2016). Although strength and determination of Black/African Feminists holds an importance in Black Feminist onto-epistemologies and methodologies, we also need to be reminded of the ethics of care and “love ethics” (hooks, 2001) that is integral in sustaining such radical and liberatory work (Odozor, 2022). At the same time, upholding ethics of love, care, kindness, and pleasure can be complex and contradicting when resistance and liberation requires sustained strength, endurance, and self-reliance (Graham, 2007). Through these conditions Black/African Feminists may feel distant to their embodied and “spiritual contentedness and wholeness” (Odozor, 2022, p. 242) when sustaining works of resistance and liberation. Therefore, Black/African Feminisms has to hold space(s) and time(s) for (self)care, community care, (self)love and healing as that itself produces counter-knowledge that affirms sustainability in our work, in ourselves, and in our “spiritual consciousness” (Richardson, 2018, p. 290).
The overarching theme of this year’s conference is “Black/African Health and Well-Being” and will take place virtually on Friday, April 19th, 2024 and in-person on Saturday, April 20th, 2024. It will feature presentations from a variety of speakers from scholars, activists, community members and leaders, and elders. The goal is to cultivate open and engaging dialogue that offers multiple and complex perspectives among presenters, panelists, and conference attendees.
The conference committee is accepting abstracts for individual paper, poster or spoken word presentations; workshops or panel presentations that center Black people’s experiences in Black feminist theories and practices, collective actions, pedagogies, sustainability, ethics of care, and community building. Possible paper topic(s) might include but are not limited to:
- Mental Health
- Emotional Well-Being
- Health Across the Lifespan
- Healthcare Access and Equity
- Social Determinants of Black & Wellness
- Reproductive Health & Rights
- Empowerment and Self-Care
- Intergenerational Health & Wisdom
- Community Health & Activism
- Peacebuilding & Reconciliation
- Black Queer & Trans* Feminisms
- Black Queer, Trans*, Nonbinary Embodiment
- Black Girls Health & Well-Being
- Black Boys Health & Well-Being
- Gender-based Violence
The committee strongly encourages submissions from folks of all backgrounds and stages in their career and does not, by any means, restrict submissions to those of scholarly or academic in nature. We recognize the value of knowledge that sits beyond academia and invite all who have offerings. If you are interested in presenting, please submit a written abstract that is between 150-250 words. Presenters may also choose to submit a video or audio recording abstract explaining the work they would like to present. We kindly ask that such videos/ recordings be no longer than 2 minutes. Additional information to include with abstract submissions:
- Full name (First, Middle, Last Name)
- Titles ( Mr., Ms., Mrs., Mx., Dr., etc.)
- Pronouns (She/Her, He/Him, They/Them, etc.)
- Community, work, organization or academic affiliation (under/graduate student, faculty, educator/teacher, elder etc.)
The deadline for all submissions is Monday, December 18th 2023. Please submit abstracts through the Google forms link: https://forms.gle/CdDrt97VwzyC2SqJ6
If you have any additional comments and questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amoah, J. (1997). Narrative: The road to black feminist theory. Berkeley Women's LJ, 12, 84.
Scott, K. D. (2016). Black feminist reflections on activism: Repurposing strength for self-care, sustainability, and survival. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 5(3), 126-132. DOI: 10.1525/ dcqr.2016.5.3.126
Gatwiri, K., & Tusasiirwe, S. (2022). Afrocentric feminism and Ubuntu-led social work practice in an African context. In Rethinking Feminist Theories for Social Work Practice (pp. 123-139). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Graham, M. (2007). The ethics of care, Black women and the social professionals: Implications of a new analysis. Ethics and Social Welfare, 1(2), 194-206. DOI: 10.1080/17496530701450372
hooks, b. (2001). All about love: New visions. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Odozor, E. T. (2022). A love ethic of Black feminisms: The necessity of love in Black feminist discourses and discoveries. Hypatia, 37, 241-256. DOI: 10.1017/hyp.2022.13
Richardson, J. J. (2018). Healing circles of Black feminist pedagogical interventions. In O. N. Perlow, D. I. Wheeler, S. L. Bethea, & B. M. Scott (Eds), Black women’s liberatory pedagogical interventions: Resistance, transformation and healing within and beyond the academy (pp. 281-295). Springer.
Ogundipe-Leslie, M., & Ourselves, R. C. (1994). African Women and Critical Transformations. Trenton.
Wane, N. N. (2004). Black Canadian feminist thought tensions and possibilities. Canadian Woman Studies, 23(2), 145+
Wane, N. N. (2005) African Indigenous knowledge: Claiming, writing, storing, and sharing the discourse. Journal of Thought, 40(2), 27–118.
Wane, N. N. (2008). Mapping the field of indigenous knowledges in anti‐colonial discourse: A transformative journey in education. Race Ethnicity and Education, 11(2), 183-197.Wane, N. N. (2008).