Message to Members: CONGRESS 2021


Dear Members,

Thank you again for your feedback regarding the discussion to withdraw our association’s conference from Congress this year. The CALJ Board of Directors considered the situation very thoroughly.  While the feedback we received from you  was mixed, we agreed with the comments from some of you that the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA)’s statement regarding its decision to withdraw from Congress 2021 was not necessarily a call for a boycott, but instead an encouragement to other associations to think critically about their engagement in antiracist work and centring the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

As such, the CALJ Board of Directors has decided to participate in Congress 2021 for our conference this year, and use Congress 2021 as a platform to continue the important work of actively engaging in decolonial frameworks and to promote inclusive editing practices with our members. As another member noted in the survey, Congress is a forum for connection and discussion on topics such as diversity and equity, and the benefits we gain from staying connected with this community will allow us to take part in these important dialogues.

We are encouraged by the Federation of the Social Sciences and Humanities’ recently released report on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (EDID), which outlines promising recommendations for enacting meaningful change related to anti-Black racism and colonialism at Congress this year and in the future. We recognize that while this work should have been done sooner, it represents a genuine attempt to be proactive in embedding anti-oppressive frameworks and practices into the Federation and its activities. Given the breadth and interconnectedness of the scholarly communications community in Canada, we respect the decision of the BCSA and other associations who are supporting them to not attend Congress this year, notwithstanding the fact that we also think it is important for societies and associations, the Federation, and host universities to come together to the proverbial table and work through these systemic issues together. 

We plan to open our conference with a panel centring on Indigenous editing practices in scholarly journals; we will also hopefully include a session on mentoring and inclusivity in editing. Both sessions serve to function as a first step towards thinking critically about how CALJ can act as a forum for anti-oppressive work in scholarly communications. We recognize that this work is ongoing. CALJ is committed to continuing the conversation with its members beyond this year’s programming. We are also planning to make space for discussion at this year’s Annual General Meeting as to how we can continue to prioritize marginalized voices in our journals and the scholarly communications community more broadly.

We welcome your input and engagement on this decision and the work of CALJ moving forward.

The CALJ Board of Directors

Click here to register for CALJ’s annual conference

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