June 16, 2022 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Bangarth, Professor of History, for receiving a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant for the Human Rights in Canadian History workshop held at King’s on May 2-3, 2022.

Dr. Bangarth worked with co-applicant Dr. Jennifer Tunnicliffe of Toronto Metropolitan University to gather scholars from across Canada to discuss topics as varied as Canada’s response to alleged war criminals, forced migration and Indigenous child removal in Canada, the Underground Railroad’s negative impact on civil rights discourse and the diffusion of human rights norms during the Cold War.

“We encouraged participants to examine how ‘human rights’ have been understood, mobilized, and resisted by different groups at different times in Canada's past. People appreciated the opportunity to get together to discuss their research in person. The conversations and engagement with each and every presentation was simply crackling. It was also wonderful to be able to profile the work of emerging scholars such as graduate students and recently graduated doctoral students to enable them to network with the more established scholars in attendance. We had a few undergraduate student attendees from King's and from Toronto Metropolitan University who were very engaged with the variety of issues explored over the course of the two-day workshop,” says Dr. Bangarth.

Social movement activity from #MeToo to Black Lives Matter and the Land Back movement, along with concerns engendered by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the recent discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential school sites demonstrates the need for new approaches and a more critical questioning of Canada's so-called "rights revolution" and its place in national narratives.

“The goal of our project was to reassess how rights discourses and movements have advanced more complex and sometimes contradictory agendas in Canada, to analyze the benefits and limitations of the human rights project in addressing issues of prejudice and discrimination in Canadian society, and to consider the role ‘human rights’ have played in both challenging and perpetuating structural inequalities and systemic forms of oppression throughout Canada's history,” says Dr. Bangarth.

The workshop, held both in person and via Zoom, included participants from across Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico, with assistance from the workshop assistant Benjamin Koch, a fourth-year History student who used his experience to complete HIST 3901G: Workplace Learning.

“We would like to acknowledge the Department of History and the Faculty of Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University and the Department of History and the Academic Dean’s Office (ADO) at King's University College, in addition to the SSHRC Connection Grant we received. The funding was important in enabling younger and emerging scholars to travel to King's to participate in the workshop,” says Dr. Bangarth.

Dr. Bangarth would also like to thank King’s Amanda Finlayson, Conference Services Coordinator; Michelle den Otter of Aramark; Tiffany Chisholm, Purchasing Services Coordinator; and Vishal Kothari, Manager, Financial Analysis & Reporting.

Going forward, Drs. Bangarth and Tunnicliffe will be publishing two separate collections of scholarship: a collection to be published by an academic press, highlighting the current work of up to twelve leading scholars in the field; and a special journal issue in the American Review of Canadian Studies, which will invite Canadian human rights scholars to reconsider pedagogical approaches to the study of human rights history in Canada in light of new scholarship and in the context of contemporary debates.

“This includes a sharing of ideas on how to teach collaboratively, in ways that connect academia to community and reflect the interdisciplinary and transnational flavour of the field,” explains Dr. Bangarth. She and Dr. Tunnicliffe will also develop a strong network of human rights scholars who work to build scholarship, engage in community discussions around human rights, and mentor emerging scholars.