On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, I talk with Rosalind Hampton of Community-University Talks about their work to centre the the many different experiences, needs, and strengths of Black communities in creating dialogue and collaboration among Black students, scholars, and communities in Montreal.
It’s not unusual for universities in Canada (much like many other large institutions) to claim the mantle of “diversity.” Though that term is often deployed to respond to a broad spectrum of social justice-related claims, it often does so, particularly in how it gets taken up by powerful institutions, such that it is emptied of political meaning, or at the very least stretched so far that its truth along some axes is used as a way to avoid dealing with stark deficiencies along others.
McGill University in Montreal could certainly, in some respects, be understood as “diverse,” yet when Hampton and a colleague of hers began the PhD program in which they are studying, they noticed what they described as “a lack of Blackness.” Though Black people have been part of the McGill community throughout its history, this lack remains intense in terms of representation in positions of authority, presence as faculty, in curriculum, in the kinds of scholarship that get centred and prioritized, in the ways of knowing that are valued, and much else.
To respond, they came together with other Black students and faculty at McGill to found Community-University Talks — abbreviated as C-Uni-T, which they pronounce “c-unity.” Over the last three years they have organized small and large events that centre Blackness, that support Black scholars and scholarship, and that nurture relationships and collaboration between Black people at McGill and Black communities more broadly in Montreal. We talk about the context, the group, and the work that they have been doing.
To learn more about the work of C-Uni-T, click here.
Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.
Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.