‘The Letters’:

EDI and Tracing Work in the Academe
Thursday, 4 February 2021 - 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Off-campus address: 
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Contact person: 
Michael Orsini
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Free of charge
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Over the past year, ‘The Letters’ have been collecting.  Open letters, private letters, emails – letters of appropriation, documentation, desperation, surveillance, and support.  Letters written by the institution and those who carry it, as well as ones written by those the institution bears down upon.    

In this talk, I explore the genre of ‘The Letter’ to trace the impact of another familiar set of letters: EDI. Organized around a typology of three institutionalized and epistolary relationships, I explore how letter writing within universities is a social practice that is revealing of both the form and content of the EDI academy.  ‘The Letters’ are also an archive, revealing a body of analytically rich, intentional, strategic, undocumented, unpublished work written by those who experience the academy in the most precarious ways.  Painful to recuperate and almost impossible to track because of volume and frequency, these letters, frequently seminal texts unto themselves, are also often invisible to their authors.    

Animated by Rita Dhamoon’s (2020) assertion that racism within the academy is a workload issue, I suggest that ‘The Letters’ offer an opening to explore the circulation of work within the academe.  For those committed to equity, but called into EDI in harmful ways, this talk invites us to consider, what shall we do with ‘The Letters’? 


Bio of speaker: Dr. Nisha Nath (she/they) is a settler woman of colour living in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) and an Assistant Professor of Equity Studies at Athabasca University. In addition to collaborating on ‘The Letters’ with Drs. Davina Bhandar, Rita Dhamoon and Anita Girvan, she is working on two major projects implicating race, security, gender and citizenship – one on relational securitization in Canada and a second SSHRC-funded project with Dr. Willow Allen on the settler-colonial socialization of public sector workers. 

Moderator: Dr. Gulzar R. Charania, Assistant Professor, Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies