Professor Gertrude Mianda has been appointed the new director of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University. Mianda’s appointment went into effect on July 1.
Mianda is an associate professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Glendon Campus. She also served as the chair of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University from 2011-15. Mianda has a PhD in sociology in gender and development from Université Laval in Quebec City.
The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University is committed to the understanding of the history of slavery and its legacy. It also fosters inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches.
“As a sociologist, feminist and Africanist with a highly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary background, and with experience as a francophone African female scholar carrying out research in Africa on Africa and its diaspora for three decades, I was attracted to the directorship of the institute to complement the historians’ perspective that has, thus far, constituted the foundation on which Tubman is rooted,” said Mianda. “As the first non-historian director, I bring the perspective of a Black, African-born woman who is a feminist and a francophone.”
In addition to continuing the work the institute has done to fulfill its mission, one of Mianda’s aspirations as director will be to expand the institute’s membership to include francophones belonging to both African and West Indian communities. “In accordance with York University’s White Paper, which highlights Glendon’s bilingualism, I also intend, under my leadership, to bring this aspect to the institute,” said Mianda. “This aspiration is also based on my sensitivity to the fact that, by virtue of its location at York, the institute is also located in the francophone minority context in Toronto, which has become home to a growing number of Black francophone people.”
Mianda’s research interests focus on gender and post-colonialism in Africa, particularly Congolese women. “It sheds light on how colonialism and its legacy shape the experiences of Congolese, especially women,” she said.
She is currently researching the rape of girls and women in Kinshasa, as well as children born of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and women in Kinshasa’s informal sector. “I am also carrying out research on the women who have broken the glass ceiling in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by rejecting gender expectations, including women in politics and education,” said Mianda.
Her research on gender and immigration in Canada focuses on francophone African immigrants in francophone minority communities in Ontario.
For more information, visit the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas website.