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Sociology Speakers Series: Dr. Sylvia Bawa

The Department of Sociology invites you to "Pandemic Ruptures: Decolonizing African Futures" by Dr.Sylvia Bawa, Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University.

Jan 19, 2021

Pandemic. Continuing police brutality and murder. Pain. Loss. Strength. Rejuvenation. 

2020 will go down in history as moment of contemporaneous pain, grief, loss, solidarity, revival of social justice activism and reclamation of our relational humanity. This moment is marked by two hyper visible events: a once in a lifetime global pandemic of immeasurable proportions and a year of renewed activism for the humanity of Black lives across the globe following the cold blooded and chilling murder of George Floyd (and many others). There is a third long historical moment which parallels and fuels the first two: colonial dispossessions and violence. For people who have thrived, despite the systemic burdens designed to kill us, this year has been a summary of reckonings coming for a long time. The juxtaposition of pain and renewed hope in a future new normal epitomizes the lives of many marginalised people around the world whose lives have been impacted by slavery and colonialism, dispossession and disconnections.

 In this talk, I argue that imagining and (re)calling futures for Africans in this moment of rupture, entails decolonizing discourses of empowerment and culture. 

Dr. Sylvia Bawa is an Associate Professor of Sociology at York University. Her research examines discourses of empowerment, decolonization, human rights, culture and critical development. With a specific focus on women’s rights and empowerment in Africa, her work examines the ways in which historical forces and events shape current political, economic, cultural and social circumstances whilst highlighting the particular contradictory and paradoxical outcomes they produce at national, global and local levels. Among others, her publications on these topics have been published in in top-ranking journals such as Third World Quarterly, African Identities, Qualitative Report, Development in Practice, Canadian Journal of African Studies, chapters in the International Human Rights of Women, and the Palgrave Handbook of African Women's Studies (Springer Major Reference Works Series). With a Ph.D. from Queen's University, Dr. Bawa is currently, the principal investigator or co-investigator on the following SSHRC-funded Partnership development projects: Research/Dissemination Network on the Canada’s Human Rights Role in Sub-Saharan Africa (CARRISSA); Confronting Atrocity: Truth Commissions, National Reconciliation and the Politics of Memory and the GMO 2.0 Partnership.   

When: Wednesday, January 27th at 2:30pm

For the Zoom link and to register for this event, please email