Upcoming Tubman Talk – Thursday, January 7, 2016
Dr. Joseph Mensah will present “The African Presence and the Nation-Immigration Dialectic in Canada: Exploring the Intersections of Identity, Culture and Belonging”
Where and When: 314 York Lanes, 2:30- 4:00 p.m.
As globalization continues to weaken the nation state with the unbridled cross-border movements of goods, services, capital, and information, many countries are using immigration as the last bastion of their sovereignty, assertively regulating the flow of people across their borders. Invariably, national identity plays an important role in determining who gets into which country; just as immigration shapes a nation’s identity in what many analysts call the immigration-nation dialectic. That Black Africans have been in Canada since the 17th Century is gradually settling in the consciousness of Canadians through the pens of several scholars. Still, many Canadians see the Black presence merely in negative terms: as refugees in need of humanitarian settlement; as immigrants coming to take undue advantage of Canada’s welfare system; or as culturally- and racially-incompatible people, unwilling to assimilate into Canadian society. This paper examines the immigration-nation dialectic in Canada, showing how Black Africans are implicated in the processes of national identity formation in Canada. The paper uses dialectical reasoning to explore how Canada uses the contradictions in its encounter with Black Africans to reach a better understanding of its own national identity.
Bio: Joseph Mensah
Joseph Mensah is professor of Geography at York University and a former Deputy Director of the Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migration of African Peoples at York. His research focuses on issues of globalization and cultures; transnational migration; race, gender, and employment; and health and African development. Professor Mensah has received several competitive awards and grants from the likes of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Gates Foundation, the Global Development Network, ILO etc. He has written several journal articles and books, including the well-received Black Canadians: History, Experience, and Social Conditions (Fernwood, 2002), the second edition of which came out in 2010.
Posted in Events, Tubman Talks.