In collaboration with the University of Toronto, York University’s Department of History is hosting “Convergences,” an inaugural graduate history conference that will confront crises of race, religion, and otherness throughout history and showcase the work and research of graduate students. The virtual conference takes place from April 28 to 30.
The annual conferences of York University and University of Toronto’s graduate history departments were converged in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to collaborate is one that transcends inter-departmental and inter-university boundaries as an effort to promote academic discourse in spite of the hardships of 2020.
The theme of the event is “Confronting Crisis: Writing History in Uncertain Times.” As societies around the globe experience unprecedented ambiguity regarding the future, there is both academic merit and solace to examining how actors in the past have confronted crises. We are not the first and will not be the last humans to survive troubling times. As a result, we can learn from the construction of a historiography that not only commemorates achievement in the face of adversity but explores how to consolidate these achievements into lessons for future generations.
Funké Aladejebi, a professor at the University of Toronto specializing in Black Canadian history in the twentieth century, Black Canadian women’s history, and transnationalism, will deliver a keynote address to attendees. In addition, the conference will feature a Keynote Panel with historians Monica Green (independent scholar), Kate Brown (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Natasha Henry, president of the Ontario Black History Society and PhD student at York University.
In accordance with this year’s theme of “Confronting Crisis,” it is important for the conference to promote direct, material support for our communities in this time of crisis. As part of this goal, the conference committee, with the support of both York and University of Toronto History departments, is donating $1,000 to Second Harvest, and all attendees who are able to contribute are invited to do so in lieu of conference fees. Donations can be made through the Second Harvest website.
The conference committee would like to thank York Associate Professor of Humanities Andrea Davis, who is also the special advisor to the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Strategy at York University.
Register for the conference here.