In light of the current anti-racist protests in reaction to police violence in Canada, the United States and across the globe, the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies stands in solidarity with all those who have suffered from violence for being part of a minority group or for belonging to a racialized community.
As expressed in the statement posted recently by the Modern Language Association (MLA) « it has never been more important for educational institutions to support and expand Black and Africana studies, Latinx and ethnic studies, and Native American studies and to teach the literatures born of struggle against racist violence ».
As a department, we are committed to critically engaging with structures of inequity that affect our disciplines and society at large. Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Race Theory and other academic fields that examine and question power relations are central to our teaching and research. Topics such as migration, racist violence, and the marginalization of specific groups are core issues we deal with in our undergraduate and graduate programs and address in the classroom. A large part of our work involves not only revealing the inequities and blindspots within dominant discourses, but also to help recover and promote voices and experiences that have historically resisted, and continue to challenge, such discourses.
We support the institutional actions outlined in UBC President Santa Ono’s June 1 and June 16 letters, and we commit to supporting and extending these actions within our own department. As President Ono observes, if UBC itself is not immune to racism and injustice, we need to make it crystal clear that these have no place in our community.
At FHIS, we see diversity and inclusion as core values. We recommit to strengthening our curriculum, research and teaching, and to advancing the causes of human rights, equity, and social and racial justice. We invite our colleagues to engage with the teaching resources compiled by the MLA on anti-racist pedagogy: https://bit.ly/2MGEP4Y.
We also encourage you to answer the invitation of the Equity & Inclusion Office to speak up and help steer UBC’s answer to anti-Black and anti-Asian violence, and all forms of systemic racism.
Published June 16, 2020