York University has announced the four inaugural recipients of its new Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars: Godwin Dzah, Don Davies, De-Lawrence Lamptey and Ruth Murambadoro. This two-year award, valued at $70,000 per year, seeks to address underrepresentation in many disciplines and fields by providing Black and Indigenous scholars with the ability to dedicate their time to pursuing new research, while accessing the collegial resources, faculty supervision and mentorship for which York University is well known.
York has a strong commitment to the pursuit of justice. Integral to this pursuit is an understanding of knowledge as multifaceted and plurally constituted. For the sake of knowledge, diversity is fundamental. While the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program provides new opportunities for Black and Indigenous scholars, most importantly it seeks to attract superb scholars who will help to push the boundaries of knowledge in necessary ways.
Professor Lisa Philipps, York’s provost and vice-president academic, believes that “building new paths and welcoming spaces for diverse voices to thrive in the academy and beyond is vitally important.” She continues by saying that the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars are “a reflection of the inclusive higher education environment that we are committed to creating at York.”
Professor Thomas Loebel, associate vice-president graduate and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, adds: “As a program, these fellowships manifest a challenge that York has put to itself, which is to work with emerging scholars in individualized ways and to understand their needs as these emerge through the research process. Our goal is to help connect postdoctoral scholars to the incredible community that is York University, so that with this program we can create something truly career developmental.”
Godwin Dzah (Osgoode Hall Law School)
Dzah comes to York having recently completed a doctorate in law at the University of British Columbia. His research proposes a fundamental re-evaluation of how international environmental law deploys concepts of crisis in ways that limit the potential for more sustained and complete forms of transformation. “The historical significance of this award is an ever-present reminder of the unfinished task of addressing systemic challenges,” says Dzah. “I am looking forward to advancing this cause by expanding my teaching and research interests, which sit at the intersection of international law and the environment, by demonstrating the common interests and connections between the peoples of the Global South and their counterparts – the Indigenous Peoples in the Global North – in the context of the law and politics of international environmental law. I am grateful to the leadership at Osgoode Hall Law School; my supervisor, Professor Obiora Okafor; and especially to York University for this exciting opportunity.”
Don Davies (Faculty of Science)
Davies is currently a postdoctoral researcher at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. His research investigates a novel approach to the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, arguing that processes of forgetting are naturally amplified in major neurodegenerative diseases. “The Canadian Indigenous population has an increased prevalence and earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease than the Canadian non-Indigenous population,” he says. “This opportunity will allow me to establish a research program to study Alzheimer’s disease within the Indigenous community and accelerate growth in scholarly diversity through development of an academic pipeline for Indigenous scientists. I am very grateful for the advice from Dr. Steven Connor, who will be mentoring me during my postdoctoral fellowship.”
De-Lawrence Lamptey (Faculty of Health)
Lamptey is currently a postdoctoral Fellow at Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia. His research introduces an intersectional approach to the study of the material, social, and financial barriers Black children and their families are faced with in Canada. “York’s commitment to support Black and Indigenous scholars is very remarkable,” says Lamptey,” and I am proud to be an inaugural recipient. This fellowship is a recognition of the unique and complex challenges that Black and Indigenous scholars often confront as we pursue our career ambitions. My research will be exploring the intersectionality of race/ethnicity and disability among children and youth in Canada. I look forward to making a positive difference in society through this fellowship.”
Ruth Murambadoro (Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies)
Murambadoro is currently a lecturer at the Wits Schools of Governance at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa. Her research explores how women who have experienced state-sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe deploy narratives to advance the goal of gender justice. “My project, ‘Gender justice and narratives of violence by women in post-colonial Zimbabwe,’ involves working with women’s social movements and the diaspora to produce new insights on how networks of women provide avenues for healing, justice and peace, outside the auspices of the state,” she says. “This work focuses on women’s encounters of state-sanctioned violence and living under dictatorial rule for the past 40-plus years. I am delighted to join the Centre for Feminist Research at York University to work closely with Dr. Alison Crosby as a Fellow under the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars.”