What we’re reading | Ce que nous lisons

These selections are drawn from our longer Confront Racism Bibliography. Have suggestions? Use our Contact page to get in touch.

Ces sélections sont tirées de notre bibliographie Lutte contre le racisme. Avez-vous des suggestions? Partagez-les en vous servant de notre page Contactez-nous.

Joan Wallach Scott, Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom, Columbia University Press, 2019.

“This book presents a series of essays by the renowned historian Joan Wallach Scott that explore the history and theory of free inquiry and its value today. Scott considers the contradictions in the concept of academic freedom. She examines the relationship between state power and higher education; the differences between the First Amendment right of free speech and the guarantee of academic freedom; and, in response to recent campus controversies, the politics of civility.” –Columbia University Press

“Ce livre présente une série d’essais par l’historienne renommé Joan Wallach Scott qui explore l’histoire et la théorie de la liberté d’investigation scientifique et académique et sa valeur de nos jours. Scott considère les contradictions au sein du concept de la liberté académique. Elle examine la relation entre le pouvoir étatique et le milieu universitaire ainsi que les différence entre la liberté d’expression, la liberté académique, et–à la lumière des controverses récentes qui se déroulent sur les campus, la politique de la civilité.” –Columbia University Press

Emmanuelle Dufour. C’est le Québec qui est né dans mon pays. Montréal: Ecosociété, 2021.

“C’est au contact des Maoris de la Nouvelle-Zélande qu’Emanuelle Dufour réalise l’ampleur de son ignorance à l’égard des Premiers Peuples du Québec. À son retour, elle entreprend un long cheminement pour aller à la rencontre des réalités autochtones et entamer un dialogue plus que jamais nécessaire.

Que révèlent le silence sur les pensionnats autochtones dans les manuels d’histoire et les clichés sur les « Indiens » dans la culture populaire? Comment a été vécue la crise d’Oka par les Autochtones? Racontée à partir de sa propre expérience mais aussi celle de nombreux Autochtones et Allochtones, cette œuvre polyphonique explore les legs de notre inconscient colonial et fait surgir des histoires trop longtemps restées dans l’ombre.” –Description de la maison d’éditions, écosociété.

Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez (illustrator). Wake: The Hidden History of Women-led Slave Revolts. (New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2021).

This illustrated history of women-led slave revolts also teaches the historiography of slavery as well as a method of analysis of primary sources related to slavery.

Emmanuelle Walter. Soeurs volées: Enquête sur un féminicide au Canada. Lux, 2014.

Depuis 1980, près de 1 200 Amérindiennes canadiennes ont été assassinées ou ont disparu dans une indifférence quasi totale. Proportionnellement, ce chiffre officiel et scandaleux équivaut à 55 000 femmes françaises ou 7 000 Québécoises. Dans ce récit bouleversant écrit au terme d’une longue enquête, Emmanuelle Walter donne chair aux statistiques et raconte l’histoire de deux adolescentes, Maisy Odjick et Shannon Alexander. Originaires de l’ouest du Québec, elles sont portées disparues depuis septembre 2008. De témoignages en portraits, de coupures de presse en documents officiels, la journaliste découvre effarée ces vies fauchées. Sœurs volées apporte la preuve que le Canada est bel et bien le théâtre d’un féminicide.

Bev Sellars. They Called Me Number One. Talonbooks, 2012.

Sellars is a lawyer, and a former chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation. In this award-winning “memoir of her years at St. Joseph’s Mission,” Sellars poignantly recounts “the residential school’s lasting effects on her and her family—from substance abuse to suicide attempts—and eloquently articulates her own path to healing.” –from the publisher’s description.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2016)

Publisher’s description: “Between 2008 and 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7,000 Survivor statements and 5 million documents from government, churches, and schools.
A Knock on the Door, published in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), gathers material from the TRC reports to present the essential history and legacy of residential schools and inform the journey to reconciliation that Canadians are now embarked upon. An afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the NCTR, home to the archive of recordings and documents collected by the TRC.”

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials (Kingston, ON: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015).

Publisher’s description: “Between 1867 and 2000, the Canadian government sent over 150,000 Aboriginal children to residential schools across the country. Government officials and missionaries agreed that in order to “civilize and Christianize” Aboriginal children, it was necessary to separate them from their parents and their home communities.

For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. Education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized, and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers.

Legal action by the schools’ former students led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The product of over six years of research, the Commission’s final report outlines the history and legacy of the schools, and charts a pathway towards reconciliation.

Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials is the first systematic effort to record and analyze deaths at the schools, and the presence and condition of student cemeteries, within the regulatory context in which the schools were intended to operate. As part of its work the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada established a National Residential School Student Death Register. Due to gaps in the available data, the register is far from complete. Although the actual number of deaths is believed to be far higher, 3,200 residential school victims have been identified. The analysis also demonstrates that residential school death rates were significantly higher than those for the general Canadian school-aged population.”

Maureen K. Lux, Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920-1980 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).

Publisher’s description: Separate Beds is the shocking story of Canada’s system of segregated health care. Operated by the same bureaucracy that was expanding health care opportunities for most Canadians, the “Indian Hospitals” were underfunded, understaffed, overcrowded, and rife with coercion and medical experimentation. Established to keep the Aboriginal tuberculosis population isolated, they became a means of ensuring that other Canadians need not share access to modern hospitals with Aboriginal patients. 
Maureen K. Lux describes the arbitrary and contradictory policies that governed the “Indian Hospitals,” the experiences of patients and staff, and the vital grassroots activism that pressed the federal government to acknowledge its treaty obligations. … Separate Beds reveals a history of racism and negligence in health care for Canada’s First Nation

Christine Chivallon. L’esclavage, du souvenir à la mémoire: Contribution à une anthropologie de la Caraïbe (Paris: Karthala, 2012).

“Cet ouvrage propose une étude de grande envergure, première du genre, sur la mémoire et le souvenir de l’esclavage. En analysant les débats politiques et académiques des vingt dernières années, l’auteur dégage deux approches : celle du soupçon politique (victimisation, instrumentalisation, surenchère) et celle du doute anthropologique (fragilité, absence, vide). Ayant établi ce constat, Christine Chivallon part alors à la recherche des traces du souvenir de l’esclavage, ainsi que des témoins qui les transmettent, pour comprendre la teneur des expressions mémorielles issues de l’expérience esclavagiste.” –cairn.fr

Karen Cox. No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice (Chapel Hill, NC; UNC Press, 2021).

From the publisher’s description: In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that drove white southerners to construct beacons of white supremacy, as well as the ways that antimonument sentiment, largely stifled during the Jim Crow era, returned with the civil rights movement and gathered momentum in the decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Monument defenders responded with gerrymandering and “heritage” laws intended to block efforts to remove these statues, but hard as they worked to preserve the Lost Cause vision of southern history, civil rights activists, Black elected officials, and movements of ordinary people fought harder to take the story back. Timely, accessible, and essential, No Common Ground is the story of the seemingly invincible stone sentinels that are just beginning to fall from their pedestals.