Courageous Conversations Speaker Series

Speaker Series

research, knowledge, understanding and change

The OEDI’s Courageous Conversation Speaker Series was launched in fall 2020, featuring discussions on racism, anti-racism, colonialism, and complaint.

Inspired by Maya Angelou and Violet King, the series engages the campus community and beyond in difficult conversations about systemic inequities. The series features locally and internationally renowned teachers, researchers, practitioners, and community-engaged scholars and activists by exploring critical questions about what needs to be done to effect sustainable change and ensure accountability.

Identifying, naming, discussing, and tackling historical and contemporary injustices can be profoundly unsettling. That’s where courage comes in – the courage to speak truth to power, to say things that the comfortable might not want to hear. Courageous Conversations are vital to advancing EDI in a university. It ensures that we are discussing EDI and modelling our expressed commitment to human rights, human dignity and cultivating equitable pathways that enable human flourishing.

Violet King
Maya Angelou

Decolonization and Questions of Justice in the University

The 2021-2022 Courageous Conversations theme is “Decolonization and Questions of Justice in the University.” The series is designed to tackle the durable legacies of colonialism, slavery, and historical and contemporary injustices on higher education, and to inspire courageous thinking and practices aimed at transforming legacies of colonialism, slavery, and contemporary injustices. 

Past sessions

Missed a session?
Full recording and additional reading resources are now available!


Faith Matters: Why Engaging Religious Diversity Should be a Top Priority

Monday, March 21, 2022

Dr. Eboo Patel is a widely acclaimed civic leader who believes that religious diversity is an essential and inspiring dimension of democracy. Named “one of America’s best leaders” by US News and World Report, Dr. Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), the leading interfaith organization in the United States. 


Decolonizing Disciplines and Structures of Inequality

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dr. Gurminder K. Bhambra is a Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at the University of Sussex. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and President of the British Sociological Association (2022-25).

Dr. Yolande Bouka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner whose research and teaching focus on gender, violence, decoloniality, race and international relations, and African affairs.


Human Rights Day: Ableism, Disability Justice and Accessible Futures in Post-Secondary Education

Friday, December 10, 2021

Dr. Laverne Jacobs (she/her) is a full Professor of Law at the University of Windsor in Canada, and a person with physical disabilities. 

Dr. Jay Dolmage is committed to disability rights in his scholarship, service, and teaching. His work brings together rhetoric, writing, disability studies, and critical pedagogy.


Anti-Racism and Decolonization in the University

Thursday, November 21, 2021

Dr. Verna St. Denis is a Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Foundations and Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Shirley Anne Tate is a Professor and Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Feminism and Intersectionality in the Sociology Department, University of Alberta, Canada.


Decolonization: Rethinking the Coloniality of Power, Knowledge, and Being

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Dr. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is Professor and Chair of Epistemologies of the Global South with Emphasis on Africa at the University of Bayreuth, and a member of Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence.

Dr. Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez is Binizaá (Zapotec) from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico and Professor of Political Science at University of Alberta.


Decolonization, Disciplines, and Indigenous Knowledges in the University

Thursday, September 21, 2021

Dr. Marie Battiste holds the position of Professor Emerita at the University of Saskatchewan, and is Mi’kmaq from the Potlotek First Nation.

Dr. Catherine Odora Hoppers is a scholar and policy specialist on International Development, education, North-South questions, disarmament, peace, and human security.



Coloniality and Racial (In)Justice in the University

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Dr. Delia D. Douglas holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. Enakshi Dua is a Professor and Graduate Director in Sexuality and Women’s Studies in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University.

Dr. annie ross is an Indigenous teacher and artist working within a community inside the Canadian west.

Dr. Sunera Thobani is a Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia.


What, You’re Calling "Me" A Racist?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dr. Fiona Nicoll is a professor in the Faculty of Arts (Political Science) at the University of Alberta. She is also a founding member of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and edited its inaugural issue in 2005.

Dr. Sarita Srivastava is Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, OCAD University. In her previous position as Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gender Studies, Queen’s University, she developed graduate seminars in Transnational Theories of Race, Gender and Sexuality and undergraduate seminars such as race, sex and the body, and race gender and nation, and taught a Social Justice Practicum for many years.


The Racist Violence of “Not Racism” and The Role of “Contrarian” Academics

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dr. Alana Lentin is an Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. She is a European Jewish woman who is a settler on Gadigal land (Sydney, Australia).


Complaint, Diversity, and Other Hostile Environments

Friday, March 20, 2020

Sara Ahmed is a feminist of colour scholar and writer. Her work addresses how power is experienced and challenged in everyday life and institutional cultures.