The Association for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies in Canada (AASSC/AAESC) executive would like to express our solidarity with our colleagues in the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA). While we are encouraged by Congress’ decision to meet the requests put to them by the BCSA, we have serious concerns that they were met unilaterally only after the BCSA had withdrawn from Congress 2021 and made the difficult but necessary choice to make public Congress’ original denial of these requests. Like the BCSA and a number of other associations, we were puzzled and disappointed by Congress’ decision not to carry the 2020 theme of “Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism” over to the 2021 event. Because of this, we decided to still include the theme in our Call for Papers. We are pleased with the programming that we have developed around this theme including the topics of Decolonization and indigenization in a Canadian context, cultural heritage, Indigenous resurgence and decolonization in Greenland, and reactionary conservatism and racial politics in Scandinavia. Yet, we do understand and support the BCSA’s decision to opt out of participating in Congress 2021. We also recognize our ongoing responsibility to create an environment where such programming remains central to our association’s future events.
At present, in large part due to our members’ hard work to develop programming around the theme of “Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism,” we are planning to hold our conference as a part of Congress 2021. However, we wish to call upon the leadership of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences to engage in meaningful dialogue with the BCSA to ensure that the Congress becomes an environment where the BCSA and its members are both safe and feel welcome in the future. We will continue to monitor the situation as our planning continues. Members of our executive have also used this opportunity to make individual donations to local or national non-profit groups dedicated to serving and supporting Black and Indigenous communities in Canada, including groups focused on food security issues and addressing health inequalities. We only add this detail in the hope that those who read this statement, and who are in a position to do so, will use this opportunity to show similar support.