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Report Discusses Recommendations For Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Canadian Social Science Research

March 9, 2023 1388
against a backdrop of data and graphs four fists of people in white shirts meet
(Photo: Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay)

Including diverse perspectives in research is vital to improving social science. Nonetheless, Black researchers face inequity in research training, accessibility, funding and visibility as a result of existing institutional barriers and anti-Black racism. In fact, only 4.3 percent of Black scholars applied to and were funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, SSHRC, a Canadian federal research funding agency, in 2021.

To address institutional barriers facing Black researchers, SSHRC released, “Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training.” Published in February 2023, the report was drafted by the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training, and offers recommendations to combat racism in the Canadian research ecosystem.

SSHRC tasked the committee of 11 Black researchers from diverse backgrounds to create recommendations for a long-term action plan to address anti-Black racism in SSHRC research.

Cover of report: Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training.

“This is an ongoing process that requires long-term goals that endorse the integration of equity, diversity and inclusion related considerations in research designs and practices and increase equitable and inclusive participation in the research system, including research teams and data collection processes,” co-chairs Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey and Karine Coen-Sanchez said in the report.

The committee was specifically interested in helping SSHRC remove institutional obstacles to research, create equitable access to research funding and improve the prominence of Black scholars in research and research training programs.

“Working on this committee with SSHRC and esteemed African, Caribbean and Black colleagues from across the country has been cathartic,” said committee member Sulaimon Giwa. “The opportunity to discuss, dissect and seek solutions to the pernicious problem of anti-Black racism in the Canadian research ecosystem holds the promise of a brighter future, which we can collectively point to as the necessary lever for transformational change.”

The committee conducted five meetings between April 2021 and June 2022 to collectively generate the recommendations. Upon completion of the meetings, committee members concluded Black researchers are underrepresented in SSHRC programs, which hinders the ability to capture a holistic set of perspectives in research.

Researchers determined very few Black scholars have applied to and are funded by SSHRC programs. Black scholars were also not distributed evenly across disciplines and very few held positions as chairs or senior administrators.

The report asserts that funding is a systemic barrier to access.

“SSHRC, as a granting agency, is limited in its ability to support Black students’ access to the research ecosystem, because financial support begins only at the graduate level and granting agencies have no direct control over institutional policies governing students (e.g., admissions and mentoring), academic hiring and promotion,” the report reads. “Nevertheless, the granting councils can impose requirements on individuals and institutions for eligibility to funding, as well as in their memoranda of understanding with postsecondary institutions as partners in award administration.”

The committee offers five recommendations to promote equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research: Providing fair access to research support, equitable participation in research, EDI in research design and practice, production of new knowledge in EDI by the humanities and social sciences, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


Committee Members

Adeniyi P. Asiyanbi is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and an assistant professor of human geography at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

Barbara-Ann Hamilton-Hinch is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training, an associate professor at the Dalhousie University School of Health and Human Performance and assistant vice-provost of equity and inclusion.

Barbara McNeil is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and associate professor of language and literacy at the University of Regina.

Denise Ferreira da Silva is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training, is professor and director of the Social Justice Institute at St. John’s College at the University of British Columbia and adjunct professor at the Monash University Department of Fine Art.

Félix Zogning Nguimeya is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and is an associate professor at the Université de Sherbrooke Department of Accounting Sciences.

Karine Coen-Sanchez is co-chair of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies.

Mamoudou Gazibo is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Political Science.

Michael F. Charles is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and associate vice-president of equity, diversity and inclusion at Centennial College.

Rhonda McEwen is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training, Canada research chair in tactile interfaces and professor of emerging media at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Sulaimon Giwa is a member of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training, an assistant professor and associate dean of undergraduate programs at the Memorial University of Newfoundland School of Social Work and chair at the St. Thomas University Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is co-chair of the Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism in Research and Research Training and an assistant professor and chair at the McGill University Department of History and Classical Studies.

Emma Richards is a student at the University of Florida studying public relations. She is the social science communications intern at Sage Publishing.

View all posts by Emma Richards

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