Sexuality Studies Association – Association d'études de la sexualité

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SSA Joins Boycott of Congress 2021

Dear Sexuality Studies Association Members,

The SSA Steering Committee categorically supports the Black Canadian Studies Association’s decision to withdraw from the 2021 Congress, as outlined in their public statements on February 9th and 20th of this year. Given the history of anti-Black racism at Congress and within Canadian academia more broadly, we are both profoundly disturbed and deeply disappointed that Congress denied BCSA’s reasonable demands for a commitment to focus on anti-Blackness and waive Congress registration fees for BCSA students and community members. In addition, we are concerned that Congress agreed to some items only after the BCSA decided to withdraw from Congress 2021. The core impulse of the BCSA’s demands is nothing less than a structural transformation of the conditions of academic knowledge production in Canada. SSA supports that effort unconditionally.

In solidarity with the BCSA, the SSA’s Steering Committee voted unanimously to:

  1. Withdraw from Congress 2021;
  2. Host the SSA’s annual conference independently through alternative digital platforms under the theme of “Anti-Black Racism and Decolonization”;
  3. Waive association membership fees for self-identified Black and Indigenous graduate students in perpetuity;
  4. Reaffirm our commitment to foregrounding the work of queer and trans Black and Indigenous scholars at our annual conference, including in this year’s keynote address.

These actions are by no means exhaustive of the work that needs to be done within our Association and our broader field of study. Sexuality Studies as a field is significantly indebted to the intellectual, emotional, volunteer, and paid and unpaid labour of Black and Indigenous scholars, artists and activists, as well as scholars, activists and artists of colour. At this crucial juncture when Congress has been pushed to be accountable for anti-Black racism, when associations committed to social justice are looking inward to question the ways we also perpetuate epistemic violence and lend tacit consent to systemic violence against Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour, and in the midst of broader challenges for the Canadian state and society to reckon with its inherent racism and colonialism, the SSA must stand with the BCSA. Our field is based on the principles of equity and praxis whereby action must follow analysis and deeper understanding of systemic injustices and the ways that they are manifest in our everyday decisions and activities.

This decision is not yet about leaving the Federation permanently. Instead, it is about an ongoing re-assessment of our always conditional relationship to the Federation. We remain hopeful that the Federation can still work to (re-)establish its relationship with the BCSA. We strongly encourage the Federation to work meaningfully, intentionally, and in good faith to centre Black Studies and affirm Black life.

We invite our members to share this statement with their networks. We will continue these conversations at this year’s AGM and into the future.

In solidarity,
The Sexuality Studies Association Steering Committee




This entry was posted on Tuesday March 2nd, 2021 by .