aadavis


Andrea A. Davis

Photo of Andrea A. Davis

Department of Humanities

Associate Professor
Special Advisor on LA&PS's Anti-Black Racism Strategy

Office: South Ross, 912
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext: 55220
Email: aadavis@yorku.ca


Andrea A. Davis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Special Advisor on the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies' Anti-Black Racism Strategy. She teaches and supervises in literatures and cultures of the Black Americas and holds cross-appointments in the graduate programs in English; Interdisciplinary Studies; Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies; and Social and Political Thought. She is the author of Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women's Cultural Critiques of Nation, soon to be released by Northwestern University Press.

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She is an accomplished teacher who has won teaching awards at the Faculty, university and national levels, including a 2021 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award. Her research focuses on the literary productions of Black women in the Americas. She is particularly interested in the intersections of the literatures of the Caribbean, the United States and Canada and her work encourages an intertextual cross-cultural dialogue about Black women's experiences in diaspora. She is former Chair of the Department of Humanities and former interim director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). Her SSHRC-funded research on the effects of violence on Black youth in Canada and Jamaica, housed at CERLAC, was profiled in the Council of Ontario Universities' Research Matters campaign in 2012-2013. She is currently co-editing (with Leslie Sanders) The Handbook to Black Canadian Literature (Routledge).

Degrees

PhD, York University
MA, York University
BA (first class hons.), University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

Professional Leadership

Special Advisor on LA&PS's Anti-Black Racism Strategies, 2020-present
Academic Colleague, Council of Ontario Universities, 2018-2020
Founder and Coordinator, Black Canadian Studies Certificate, 2018-2021
Chair, Department of Humanities, 2015-2020
Interim Director, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, 2012-2013

Community Contributions

Member, Legal Aid Ontario’s Racialized Communities Advisory Committee, 2017 – present

Research Interests

, Caribbean, African American and Black Canadian Literatures and Theatre, African Diaspora Studies, Black Cultural and Feminist Studies, Youth Studies

Current Research Projects

Resisting White Supremacy in the African Diaspora: Moving Towards Liberation and Decolonization

    Summary:

    Edited Journal Special Issue, Interdisciplinary Humanities Journal, University of Texas at El Paso, Spring 2021

    Description:

    The months of May and June, 2020, saw unprecedented global protests against anti-Black racism and calls for a more equitable and just society that recognizes the humanity and lives of people of African descent. While these protests initially originated across the United States, protesters around the world quickly galvanized in support of these issues, organizing events in a growing number of countries, including Canada, Mexico, Haiti, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia and Japan. This has been an important moment for Black scholars, activists, and cultural producers everywhere—as well as their friends and allies—to reflect not only on the crisis that has marked Black lives, but also on our future possibilities.

    To facilitate these and other conversations, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities invites papers on research pertaining to the theme of “Resisting White Supremacy in the African Diaspora: Moving Towards Liberation and Decolonization.” This timely special issue aims to include papers that capture forms of African descendants’ resistance against the tyranny of white supremacy across multiple continents. The scope of this issue is intended to be broad and inclusive of diverse methodologies, theories, and approaches. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. Black art, literatures, music, media, and cultures
    2. Transnational activism/resistance in all its forms
    3. Black Psychology/Black self-care/Black joy
    4. Black subjectivities and experiences in academia
    5. Black Feminisms/Womanism
    6. Recovering Black histories/identities
    7. African religiosity and spirituality, contemporary and historical
    8. Black political participation and engagement

    The deadline for complete papers (6000 words) is January 1, 2021. Please send enquiries and submissions to guillorycry@uhd.edu. Decisions on publication will be made by March 31, 2021. The guest editors of the special issue are Sarita Cannon (sncannon@sfsu.edu), Andrea Davis (aadavis@yorku.ca), and Crystal Guillory (guillorycry@uhd.edu ).

    See more
    Role: Co-editor

    Start Date:
      Month: Jun   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Jun   Year: 2021

    Collaborator: Sarita Cannon and Crystal Guillory
    Collaborator Institution: San Francisco State University and University of Houston - Downton
    Collaborator Role: Co-editors

Handbook to Black Canadian Literature

    Summary:

    The Handbook to Black Canadian Literature, co-edited with Leslie Sanders, is a comprehensive introduction to Black Canadian literatures consisting of 40 original essays of approximately 8,000 words each organized in five sections: (1) Historical Frame, (2) Region, (3) Genre, (4) Major Writers of Influence, and (5) New Directions. The handbook is under contract with New York: Routledge, expected publication 2022.

    Description:

    The Handbook to Black Canadian Literature offers a comprehensive overview of the growing and increasingly significant field of Black Canadian literary studies. Including both historical and contemporary analysis, the volume is an essential text that maps the field over the 200 years of its existence from slave narratives and anti-slavery journalism to dub and sound experiments. It presents Black Canadian literature as encompassing a diverse set of viewpoints, approaches and practices, as touching every aspect of Canadian territory and life, and as deeply influencing debates and understandings of Black peoples far beyond its borders. The handbook employs an interdisciplinary framework that incorporates literary, historical, geographical and cultural analysis and is organized into five sections that chart the literature’s development across Canada, its relationship to the country’s diverse Black communities and their diasporas, and its narration of both specifically Canadian, as well as global concerns. Sections include (1) Historical Frame; (2) Region; (3) Genre; (4) Major Writers of Influence; and (5) New Directions. Contributors are drawn from among the most prominent theorists in the field, as well as from a cohort of emergent scholars and artists. The volume’s range of subject and plurality of perspectives provide an excellent resource for teachers, researchers, and students from multiple disciplines, including Canadian studies and literature, Caribbean studies, global Black studies, hemispheric studies, diaspora studies, history, and cultural studies.

    See more
    Role: Edited Volume for research and teaching

    Start Date:
      Month: Sep   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Sep   Year: 2022

    Collaborator: Leslie Sanders
    Collaborator Institution: York University
    Collaborator Role: Co-editor

Youth and Community Development in Canada and Jamaica: A Transnational Approach to Youth Violence

    Summary:

    The project brought together three community organizations and 18 researchers from six universities in Canada and Jamaica, organized in three research clusters. It sought to realize critical social improvements in the lives of youth, ages 16 to 29, by exploring new approaches to research on the effects of violence on Black youth.

    Description:

    The partnership situated its team of Canadian and Jamaican researchers and community workers within an emerging body of research that confirms the success of culturally based programs in encouraging youth and broad civic engagement. The partnership expanded this existing research in two important ways. First, it included a transnational approach between the two countries. The goal was to examine whether positive youth engagement through the arts might be further enhanced for Black youth in Canada and Jamaica by bringing these youth into conversations across their intersecting national and cultural borders. Second, by using an approach that combined art-based programs with social history and literature, the partnership expanded the research field by seeking to determine whether a greater understanding of Jamaican society might help Black Toronto youth achieve the positive identity formation needed to challenge the effects of anti-Black racism.

    Findings from the project confirmed that Black youth in Canada identify anti-Black racism as the most pervasive and damaging form of violence they face, particularly as expressed in the educational system and labour market, as well as through differential treatment based on class, age, gender and geographical location. Jamaican youth (both urban and rural) identified class-based oppression as the most oppressive form of violence they experience on a daily basis.

    See more
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Jul   Year: 2011

    End Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2014

    Collaborator: Vermonja Alston; Erna Brodber; Karen Burke; Mirna Carranza; Peter Cumming; Donald Davis; Asheda Dwyer; Honor Ford-Smith; Cecil Foster; Carl James; Michele Johnson; Donna Hope; Naila Keleta Mae; Richard Maclure; Jalani Niaah; Sonja Stanley Niaah; L'Antoinette Osunide Stines; Ronald Westray
    Collaborator Institution: McMaster University; University of Guelph; University of Waterloo; University of Ottawa; University of the West Indies (Mona); Nia Centre for the Arts; Jamaica Youth Theatre; Woodside Community Action Group
    Collaborator Role: Co-researchers and partners

    Funders:
    SSHRC
Books

Publication
Year

Davis, Andrea A. and Leslie Sanders (eds). Handbook to Black Canadian Literature (under contract with Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group)

2021

Davis, Andrea A. Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women's Cultural Critiques of Nation, Northwestern University Press (in press)

2021

James, Carl E., and Davis, Andrea (eds.) Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012.

2012

Book Chapters

Publication
Year

Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. “Canadian-Jamaican.” The Jamaica Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Eds. Diana Paton and Matthew J. Smith. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2021. 465-467. (Extract reprinted from Carl E. James and Andrea Davis, “Instructive Episodes: The Shifting Positions of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada.” Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean 14:1 (2012) 17-41; published fall 2015).

2021

“‘What Floats in the Air Is Chance’: Respectability Politics and the Search for Upward Mobility in Canada.” Critical response to “‘Colour Matters’: Suburban Life as Social Mobility and Its High Cost for Black Youth” in Colour Matters: Essays on the Experiences, Education, and Pursuits of Black Youth by Carl E. James. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021. 278-282.

2021

“Women and Healing in Anglophone Caribbean Literature.” Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions. Ed. Patrick Taylor and Frederick I. Case. 2 vols. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2013, vol. 1. 525-534

2013

“From Canada to Jamaica: Miss Lou and the Poetics of Migration.” Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Eds. Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012. 230-245.

2012

Davis, Andrea and James, Carl E. “Introduction.” Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Eds. Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012. 10-12.

2012

“Project Groundings: Canadian and Jamaican Youth (Re)Define Violence.” Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Eds. Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012. 329-342.

2012

'Rearticulations, Reconnections and Refigurations: Writing Africa Through the Americas.' Africa and Trans-Atlantic Memories: Literary and Aesthetic manifestations of Diaspora and History. Ed. NaanaOpoku-Agyemang, Paul E. Lovejoy and David V. Trotman. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2008. 275-290.

2008

'A Feminist Exploration in African Canadian Literature.' Multiple Lenses: Voices From the African Diaspora Located in Canada. Ed. David Divine. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 250-261.

2007

'Sex and the Nation: Performing Black Female Sexuality in Canadian Theatre.' African-Canadian Theatre. Ed. Maureen Moynagh. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2005. 107-122

2005

“Rewriting Calypso as Feminist Discourse: Jean and Dinah ‘Take Over Now.’” Scholarly Introduction to Jean and Dinah by Tony Hall in Testyfyin': Contemporary African Canadian Drama: Vol. II. Ed. Djanet Sears. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2003. 151-154.

2003

“Healing in the Kitchen: Women’s Performance as Rituals of Change.” Scholarly Introduction to sistahs by maxine bailey and sharon m. lewis in Testifyin’: Contemporary African Canadian Drama: Volume I. Ed. Djanet Sears. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2000. 279-280.

2000

Book Reviews

Publication
Year

“Narrating Black Canada.” Book review essay: Paul Barrett, Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism, University of Toronto Press, 2015, 256 pp.; and Harvey Amani Whitfield, North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes, University of British Colombia Press, 2016, 192 pp.

2017

The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past by Winfried Siemerling. Literature & History 25:2 (November 2016) 214-216.

2016

Healing Cultures: Art and Religion as Curative Practices in the Caribbean and its Diaspora edited by Margarite Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 31:61 (2006) 261-263.

2006

The Swinging Bridge by Ramabai Espinet. MaComère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars vol. 7 (2005) 183-186.

2005

In Praise of New Travelers: Reading Caribbean Migrant Women’s Writing by Isabel Hoving. Resources for Feminist Research 29:3/4 (2002) 258-260.

2002

The Heart Does not Bend by Makeda Silvera. MaComère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars 5 (2002) 253-255.

2002

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

“Un/Belonging in Diasporic Cities: A Literary History of Caribbean Women in London and Toronto.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies 13 (June 2019) 17-50.

2019

"The Black Woman Native Speaking Subject: Reflections of a Black Female Professor in Canada." Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice 39.1 (2018): 70-78.

2018

“‘The Real Toronto’: Black Youth Experiences and the Narration of the Multicultural City.”
Journal of Canadian Studies 51:3 (Fall 2017) 725-748.

2017

James, Carl E. and Andrea Davis, “Instructive Episodes: The Shifting Positions of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada.” Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean 14:1 (spring 2012) 1-26. (published fall 2015)

2015

James, Carl E. and Andrea Davis, “Jamaican Males’ Readings of Masculinities and the Relationship to Violence.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, Vulnerability, Persistence and Destabilization of Dominant Masculinities, ed. Crichlow et al, 8 (December 2014) 79-112.

2014

'Black Canadian Literature as Diaspora Transgression: The Second Life of Samuel Tyne.' TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. Ed. Jenny Burman. Spec. issue of Diasporic Pasts and Futures: Transnational Cultural Studies in Canada 17 (Spring 2007): 31-49.

2007

'Translating Narratives of Masculinity Across Borders: A Jamaican Case Study.' Caribbean Quarterly. Ed. Taitu Heron and Hilary Nicholson. Spec issue of Unraveling Gender, Development and Civil Society in the Caribbean 52.2-3 (June-Sept. 2006): 22-38.

2006

'We Have Historically Been ‘Rooted’ in/Routed to this Place and we are Here to Stay: Women’s Voices in Black Canadian Literature.' NEW DAWN: Journal of Black Canadian Studies 1.1 (Spring 2006): 68-74.

2006

'Diaspora, Citizenship and Gender: Challenging the Myth of the Nation in African Canadian Women’s Literature.' Canadian Woman Studies 23.2 (2004): 64-69.

2004

Public Lectures

Publication
Year

“Black Tax and the Invisible Labour of Black Women in the Academy,” Scholar Strike Canada digital teach-in, moderated by Michele Johnson, September 10, 2020.

2020

Farah Nasser (host), “Living in Colour: Why ignoring Canada’s anti-Black racism affects
Black Canadians today.” Global News, June 12, 2020. Television.

2020

Approach to Teaching


My teaching philosophy and practice are framed around a simple concept: teaching as activism. Every September as I stand before students in Cultures of Resistance in the Americas, my largest undergraduate course, my deepest desire is that this course will change the lives of even a handful of students. I hope it might empower students to find their voice; give them the courage to challenge their own assumptions and reach across their differences; and help them translate the knowledge they acquire in the classroom into positive change in their wider communities through whatever careers they choose. By helping students read and think critically, understand and respect the diversity of human experiences, and develop a genuine respect for human rights, each of the humanities courses I teach seeks ultimately to prepare students for intellectually mature citizenship. It is this deep belief in the transformative power of a humanities education that frames my approach to teaching and drives and sustains my passion for the work I believe I am called to do. By approaching teaching as activism, I hold myself accountable to my students: to be conversant in the most current theoretical debates; to be prepared, engaged and committed in my teaching; and to share with them every resource available to help them succeed.

My definition of racism as “a refusal to learn” (Davis, 2020), centers a critique of racial oppression as pivotal to my research, leadership and pedagogy. If racism and xenophobia depend on ignorance, then learning and knowing are essential to an anti-oppressive praxis. As an activist teacher practitioner, I am, therefore, committed to what Bolton et al. (2019) call “teaching race against racism” (6). In a context of increasing appeals to right-wing populism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, as well as the protests challenging them, this commitment has gained new relevance. I find myself being called upon even more to help students use the knowledge acquired in the classroom to make sense of their worlds beyond it. When I stand before students after the death of an unarmed Black man or some other incident of racial violence, my body in the classroom centers that catastrophe as a moment requiring some kind of redress for the open wounds my students themselves carry. Even as I seek to move beyond my gendered racial identity as a singular marker of knowledge or static repository of experience, I cannot detach myself from the physical and imaginative body through which I speak and am called on to translate (hooks 1994).

Understanding teaching as embodied pedagogy has been critical to helping me situate my own experiences and histories alongside my students’ in a practice of shared learning. Embodied pedagogy “joins body and mind in a physical and mental act of knowledge construction” (Nguyen & Larsen 2015, 332) and recognizes “bodies as agents of knowledge production” (Wagner & Shahjahan 2015, 245). In other words, embodied pedagogy is deeply relational. It situates the experiences and knowledges of teacher and student as essential to collaborative learning. By helping students understand racial oppressions as connected to oppressions of class, gender and sexuality and emerging from shared sociopolitical contexts and histories, I position racial in/justice as foundational to human experience. I invite us to think and learn together not only about the ways in which our experiences converge or diverge, but also about knowledge as a mode toward the creation of a better future. In teaching race through the humanities, I am also interested in positioning the ideas and cultures of Black people as important in and of themselves beyond a mere anti-racism project; that is, in recentering Black people’s humanity.

In translating my teaching philosophy into a set of concrete teaching practices, I am seeking ultimately to create a brave space (Arao & Clemens 2013) where difficult learning can take place. An anti-oppressive pedagogy recognizes not only difference, but also tension as generative. Teaching with tension demands moving “forward with students into discomfort, to arm them with strategies for understanding the world and the worlds of others” (Bolton et al. 2019, 12). It requires that both teachers and students recognize and admit their biases, and push beyond their places of safety. By creating opportunities for practice and feedback, helping students develop critical reading and writing skills through practice and application, and integrating elements of my own and their lived experience, I embark with them on a journey of deep reciprocal exchange. I firmly believe that an activist and engaged pedagogy leads not only to self-reflection, but action and transformation. My desire is that students will be empowered ultimately to transform the world.




Andrea A. Davis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Special Advisor on the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies' Anti-Black Racism Strategy. She teaches and supervises in literatures and cultures of the Black Americas and holds cross-appointments in the graduate programs in English; Interdisciplinary Studies; Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies; and Social and Political Thought. She is the author of Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women's Cultural Critiques of Nation, soon to be released by Northwestern University Press.

She is an accomplished teacher who has won teaching awards at the Faculty, university and national levels, including a 2021 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award. Her research focuses on the literary productions of Black women in the Americas. She is particularly interested in the intersections of the literatures of the Caribbean, the United States and Canada and her work encourages an intertextual cross-cultural dialogue about Black women's experiences in diaspora. She is former Chair of the Department of Humanities and former interim director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). Her SSHRC-funded research on the effects of violence on Black youth in Canada and Jamaica, housed at CERLAC, was profiled in the Council of Ontario Universities' Research Matters campaign in 2012-2013. She is currently co-editing (with Leslie Sanders) The Handbook to Black Canadian Literature (Routledge).

Degrees

PhD, York University
MA, York University
BA (first class hons.), University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

Professional Leadership

Special Advisor on LA&PS's Anti-Black Racism Strategies, 2020-present
Academic Colleague, Council of Ontario Universities, 2018-2020
Founder and Coordinator, Black Canadian Studies Certificate, 2018-2021
Chair, Department of Humanities, 2015-2020
Interim Director, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, 2012-2013

Community Contributions

Member, Legal Aid Ontario’s Racialized Communities Advisory Committee, 2017 – present

Research Interests

, Caribbean, African American and Black Canadian Literatures and Theatre, African Diaspora Studies, Black Cultural and Feminist Studies, Youth Studies

Current Research Projects

Resisting White Supremacy in the African Diaspora: Moving Towards Liberation and Decolonization

    Summary:

    Edited Journal Special Issue, Interdisciplinary Humanities Journal, University of Texas at El Paso, Spring 2021

    Description:

    The months of May and June, 2020, saw unprecedented global protests against anti-Black racism and calls for a more equitable and just society that recognizes the humanity and lives of people of African descent. While these protests initially originated across the United States, protesters around the world quickly galvanized in support of these issues, organizing events in a growing number of countries, including Canada, Mexico, Haiti, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia and Japan. This has been an important moment for Black scholars, activists, and cultural producers everywhere—as well as their friends and allies—to reflect not only on the crisis that has marked Black lives, but also on our future possibilities.

    To facilitate these and other conversations, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities invites papers on research pertaining to the theme of “Resisting White Supremacy in the African Diaspora: Moving Towards Liberation and Decolonization.” This timely special issue aims to include papers that capture forms of African descendants’ resistance against the tyranny of white supremacy across multiple continents. The scope of this issue is intended to be broad and inclusive of diverse methodologies, theories, and approaches. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. Black art, literatures, music, media, and cultures
    2. Transnational activism/resistance in all its forms
    3. Black Psychology/Black self-care/Black joy
    4. Black subjectivities and experiences in academia
    5. Black Feminisms/Womanism
    6. Recovering Black histories/identities
    7. African religiosity and spirituality, contemporary and historical
    8. Black political participation and engagement

    The deadline for complete papers (6000 words) is January 1, 2021. Please send enquiries and submissions to guillorycry@uhd.edu. Decisions on publication will be made by March 31, 2021. The guest editors of the special issue are Sarita Cannon (sncannon@sfsu.edu), Andrea Davis (aadavis@yorku.ca), and Crystal Guillory (guillorycry@uhd.edu ).

    Project Type: Self-Funded
    Role: Co-editor

    Start Date:
      Month: Jun   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Jun   Year: 2021

    Collaborator: Sarita Cannon and Crystal Guillory
    Collaborator Institution: San Francisco State University and University of Houston - Downton
    Collaborator Role: Co-editors

Handbook to Black Canadian Literature

    Summary:

    The Handbook to Black Canadian Literature, co-edited with Leslie Sanders, is a comprehensive introduction to Black Canadian literatures consisting of 40 original essays of approximately 8,000 words each organized in five sections: (1) Historical Frame, (2) Region, (3) Genre, (4) Major Writers of Influence, and (5) New Directions. The handbook is under contract with New York: Routledge, expected publication 2022.

    Description:

    The Handbook to Black Canadian Literature offers a comprehensive overview of the growing and increasingly significant field of Black Canadian literary studies. Including both historical and contemporary analysis, the volume is an essential text that maps the field over the 200 years of its existence from slave narratives and anti-slavery journalism to dub and sound experiments. It presents Black Canadian literature as encompassing a diverse set of viewpoints, approaches and practices, as touching every aspect of Canadian territory and life, and as deeply influencing debates and understandings of Black peoples far beyond its borders. The handbook employs an interdisciplinary framework that incorporates literary, historical, geographical and cultural analysis and is organized into five sections that chart the literature’s development across Canada, its relationship to the country’s diverse Black communities and their diasporas, and its narration of both specifically Canadian, as well as global concerns. Sections include (1) Historical Frame; (2) Region; (3) Genre; (4) Major Writers of Influence; and (5) New Directions. Contributors are drawn from among the most prominent theorists in the field, as well as from a cohort of emergent scholars and artists. The volume’s range of subject and plurality of perspectives provide an excellent resource for teachers, researchers, and students from multiple disciplines, including Canadian studies and literature, Caribbean studies, global Black studies, hemispheric studies, diaspora studies, history, and cultural studies.

    Project Type: Self-Funded
    Role: Edited Volume for research and teaching

    Start Date:
      Month: Sep   Year: 2020

    End Date:
      Month: Sep   Year: 2022

    Collaborator: Leslie Sanders
    Collaborator Institution: York University
    Collaborator Role: Co-editor

Youth and Community Development in Canada and Jamaica: A Transnational Approach to Youth Violence

    Summary:

    The project brought together three community organizations and 18 researchers from six universities in Canada and Jamaica, organized in three research clusters. It sought to realize critical social improvements in the lives of youth, ages 16 to 29, by exploring new approaches to research on the effects of violence on Black youth.

    Description:

    The partnership situated its team of Canadian and Jamaican researchers and community workers within an emerging body of research that confirms the success of culturally based programs in encouraging youth and broad civic engagement. The partnership expanded this existing research in two important ways. First, it included a transnational approach between the two countries. The goal was to examine whether positive youth engagement through the arts might be further enhanced for Black youth in Canada and Jamaica by bringing these youth into conversations across their intersecting national and cultural borders. Second, by using an approach that combined art-based programs with social history and literature, the partnership expanded the research field by seeking to determine whether a greater understanding of Jamaican society might help Black Toronto youth achieve the positive identity formation needed to challenge the effects of anti-Black racism.

    Findings from the project confirmed that Black youth in Canada identify anti-Black racism as the most pervasive and damaging form of violence they face, particularly as expressed in the educational system and labour market, as well as through differential treatment based on class, age, gender and geographical location. Jamaican youth (both urban and rural) identified class-based oppression as the most oppressive form of violence they experience on a daily basis.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Jul   Year: 2011

    End Date:
      Month: Apr   Year: 2014

    Collaborator: Vermonja Alston; Erna Brodber; Karen Burke; Mirna Carranza; Peter Cumming; Donald Davis; Asheda Dwyer; Honor Ford-Smith; Cecil Foster; Carl James; Michele Johnson; Donna Hope; Naila Keleta Mae; Richard Maclure; Jalani Niaah; Sonja Stanley Niaah; L'Antoinette Osunide Stines; Ronald Westray
    Collaborator Institution: McMaster University; University of Guelph; University of Waterloo; University of Ottawa; University of the West Indies (Mona); Nia Centre for the Arts; Jamaica Youth Theatre; Woodside Community Action Group
    Collaborator Role: Co-researchers and partners

    Funders:
    SSHRC

All Publications


Book Chapters

Publication
Year

Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. “Canadian-Jamaican.” The Jamaica Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Eds. Diana Paton and Matthew J. Smith. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2021. 465-467. (Extract reprinted from Carl E. James and Andrea Davis, “Instructive Episodes: The Shifting Positions of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada.” Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean 14:1 (2012) 17-41; published fall 2015).

2021

“‘What Floats in the Air Is Chance’: Respectability Politics and the Search for Upward Mobility in Canada.” Critical response to “‘Colour Matters’: Suburban Life as Social Mobility and Its High Cost for Black Youth” in Colour Matters: Essays on the Experiences, Education, and Pursuits of Black Youth by Carl E. James. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021. 278-282.

2021

“Women and Healing in Anglophone Caribbean Literature.” Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions. Ed. Patrick Taylor and Frederick I. Case. 2 vols. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2013, vol. 1. 525-534

2013

“From Canada to Jamaica: Miss Lou and the Poetics of Migration.” Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Eds. Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012. 230-245.

2012

Davis, Andrea and James, Carl E. “Introduction.” Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Eds. Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012. 10-12.

2012

“Project Groundings: Canadian and Jamaican Youth (Re)Define Violence.” Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Eds. Carl E. James and Andrea Davis. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012. 329-342.

2012

'Rearticulations, Reconnections and Refigurations: Writing Africa Through the Americas.' Africa and Trans-Atlantic Memories: Literary and Aesthetic manifestations of Diaspora and History. Ed. NaanaOpoku-Agyemang, Paul E. Lovejoy and David V. Trotman. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2008. 275-290.

2008

'A Feminist Exploration in African Canadian Literature.' Multiple Lenses: Voices From the African Diaspora Located in Canada. Ed. David Divine. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 250-261.

2007

'Sex and the Nation: Performing Black Female Sexuality in Canadian Theatre.' African-Canadian Theatre. Ed. Maureen Moynagh. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2005. 107-122

2005

“Rewriting Calypso as Feminist Discourse: Jean and Dinah ‘Take Over Now.’” Scholarly Introduction to Jean and Dinah by Tony Hall in Testyfyin': Contemporary African Canadian Drama: Vol. II. Ed. Djanet Sears. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2003. 151-154.

2003

“Healing in the Kitchen: Women’s Performance as Rituals of Change.” Scholarly Introduction to sistahs by maxine bailey and sharon m. lewis in Testifyin’: Contemporary African Canadian Drama: Volume I. Ed. Djanet Sears. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2000. 279-280.

2000

Book Reviews

Publication
Year

“Narrating Black Canada.” Book review essay: Paul Barrett, Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism, University of Toronto Press, 2015, 256 pp.; and Harvey Amani Whitfield, North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes, University of British Colombia Press, 2016, 192 pp.

2017

The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past by Winfried Siemerling. Literature & History 25:2 (November 2016) 214-216.

2016

Healing Cultures: Art and Religion as Curative Practices in the Caribbean and its Diaspora edited by Margarite Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 31:61 (2006) 261-263.

2006

The Swinging Bridge by Ramabai Espinet. MaComère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars vol. 7 (2005) 183-186.

2005

In Praise of New Travelers: Reading Caribbean Migrant Women’s Writing by Isabel Hoving. Resources for Feminist Research 29:3/4 (2002) 258-260.

2002

The Heart Does not Bend by Makeda Silvera. MaComère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars 5 (2002) 253-255.

2002

Books

Publication
Year

Davis, Andrea A. and Leslie Sanders (eds). Handbook to Black Canadian Literature (under contract with Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group)

2021

Davis, Andrea A. Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women's Cultural Critiques of Nation, Northwestern University Press (in press)

2021

James, Carl E., and Davis, Andrea (eds.) Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2012.

2012

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

“Un/Belonging in Diasporic Cities: A Literary History of Caribbean Women in London and Toronto.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies 13 (June 2019) 17-50.

2019

"The Black Woman Native Speaking Subject: Reflections of a Black Female Professor in Canada." Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice 39.1 (2018): 70-78.

2018

“‘The Real Toronto’: Black Youth Experiences and the Narration of the Multicultural City.”
Journal of Canadian Studies 51:3 (Fall 2017) 725-748.

2017

James, Carl E. and Andrea Davis, “Instructive Episodes: The Shifting Positions of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada.” Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean 14:1 (spring 2012) 1-26. (published fall 2015)

2015

James, Carl E. and Andrea Davis, “Jamaican Males’ Readings of Masculinities and the Relationship to Violence.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, Vulnerability, Persistence and Destabilization of Dominant Masculinities, ed. Crichlow et al, 8 (December 2014) 79-112.

2014

'Black Canadian Literature as Diaspora Transgression: The Second Life of Samuel Tyne.' TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. Ed. Jenny Burman. Spec. issue of Diasporic Pasts and Futures: Transnational Cultural Studies in Canada 17 (Spring 2007): 31-49.

2007

'Translating Narratives of Masculinity Across Borders: A Jamaican Case Study.' Caribbean Quarterly. Ed. Taitu Heron and Hilary Nicholson. Spec issue of Unraveling Gender, Development and Civil Society in the Caribbean 52.2-3 (June-Sept. 2006): 22-38.

2006

'We Have Historically Been ‘Rooted’ in/Routed to this Place and we are Here to Stay: Women’s Voices in Black Canadian Literature.' NEW DAWN: Journal of Black Canadian Studies 1.1 (Spring 2006): 68-74.

2006

'Diaspora, Citizenship and Gender: Challenging the Myth of the Nation in African Canadian Women’s Literature.' Canadian Woman Studies 23.2 (2004): 64-69.

2004

Public Lectures

Publication
Year

“Black Tax and the Invisible Labour of Black Women in the Academy,” Scholar Strike Canada digital teach-in, moderated by Michele Johnson, September 10, 2020.

2020

Farah Nasser (host), “Living in Colour: Why ignoring Canada’s anti-Black racism affects
Black Canadians today.” Global News, June 12, 2020. Television.

2020

Approach to Teaching


My teaching philosophy and practice are framed around a simple concept: teaching as activism. Every September as I stand before students in Cultures of Resistance in the Americas, my largest undergraduate course, my deepest desire is that this course will change the lives of even a handful of students. I hope it might empower students to find their voice; give them the courage to challenge their own assumptions and reach across their differences; and help them translate the knowledge they acquire in the classroom into positive change in their wider communities through whatever careers they choose. By helping students read and think critically, understand and respect the diversity of human experiences, and develop a genuine respect for human rights, each of the humanities courses I teach seeks ultimately to prepare students for intellectually mature citizenship. It is this deep belief in the transformative power of a humanities education that frames my approach to teaching and drives and sustains my passion for the work I believe I am called to do. By approaching teaching as activism, I hold myself accountable to my students: to be conversant in the most current theoretical debates; to be prepared, engaged and committed in my teaching; and to share with them every resource available to help them succeed.

My definition of racism as “a refusal to learn” (Davis, 2020), centers a critique of racial oppression as pivotal to my research, leadership and pedagogy. If racism and xenophobia depend on ignorance, then learning and knowing are essential to an anti-oppressive praxis. As an activist teacher practitioner, I am, therefore, committed to what Bolton et al. (2019) call “teaching race against racism” (6). In a context of increasing appeals to right-wing populism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, as well as the protests challenging them, this commitment has gained new relevance. I find myself being called upon even more to help students use the knowledge acquired in the classroom to make sense of their worlds beyond it. When I stand before students after the death of an unarmed Black man or some other incident of racial violence, my body in the classroom centers that catastrophe as a moment requiring some kind of redress for the open wounds my students themselves carry. Even as I seek to move beyond my gendered racial identity as a singular marker of knowledge or static repository of experience, I cannot detach myself from the physical and imaginative body through which I speak and am called on to translate (hooks 1994).

Understanding teaching as embodied pedagogy has been critical to helping me situate my own experiences and histories alongside my students’ in a practice of shared learning. Embodied pedagogy “joins body and mind in a physical and mental act of knowledge construction” (Nguyen & Larsen 2015, 332) and recognizes “bodies as agents of knowledge production” (Wagner & Shahjahan 2015, 245). In other words, embodied pedagogy is deeply relational. It situates the experiences and knowledges of teacher and student as essential to collaborative learning. By helping students understand racial oppressions as connected to oppressions of class, gender and sexuality and emerging from shared sociopolitical contexts and histories, I position racial in/justice as foundational to human experience. I invite us to think and learn together not only about the ways in which our experiences converge or diverge, but also about knowledge as a mode toward the creation of a better future. In teaching race through the humanities, I am also interested in positioning the ideas and cultures of Black people as important in and of themselves beyond a mere anti-racism project; that is, in recentering Black people’s humanity.

In translating my teaching philosophy into a set of concrete teaching practices, I am seeking ultimately to create a brave space (Arao & Clemens 2013) where difficult learning can take place. An anti-oppressive pedagogy recognizes not only difference, but also tension as generative. Teaching with tension demands moving “forward with students into discomfort, to arm them with strategies for understanding the world and the worlds of others” (Bolton et al. 2019, 12). It requires that both teachers and students recognize and admit their biases, and push beyond their places of safety. By creating opportunities for practice and feedback, helping students develop critical reading and writing skills through practice and application, and integrating elements of my own and their lived experience, I embark with them on a journey of deep reciprocal exchange. I firmly believe that an activist and engaged pedagogy leads not only to self-reflection, but action and transformation. My desire is that students will be empowered ultimately to transform the world.