Dr. Nisha Nath - 'The Letters': EDI and Tracing Work in the Academe

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November 5, 2020 | 7-8:30 p.m. MST

The Support Network for Academics of Colour Plus (SNAC+) & The Alberta Human Rights Commission Education and Multiculturalism Fund


Dr. Nisha Nath, Assistant Professor of Equity Studies, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, Athabasca University

In collaboration with the Women Scholars' Speaker Series

‘The Letters’: EDI and Tracing Work in the Academe

In the past 6 months, ‘The Letters’ have been collecting. Open letters, private letters, emails – letters of appropriation, documentation, desperation, surveillance, and support. Letters are 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 (Equity Diversity & Inclusion). 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 ‘The Letters’ are also an archive, revealing a body of analytically rich, intentional, strategic, undocumented, unpublished work written by those who experience the academy in the most precarious ways.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’?

Many thanks to my collaborators, Davina Bhandar (Athabasca University), Rita Dhamoon (University of Victoria) and Anita Girvan (Athabasca University). This talk emerges out of our larger project on ‘The Letters’.

Dr. Caroline Hodes, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, University of Lethbridge

About the speaker:
Nisha Nath (she/her) is a settler woman of colour living in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) and an Assistant Professor of Equity Studies in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University. She is working on two major projects implicating race, security, gender and citizenship – one on relational securitization in Canada and a second interdisciplinary project with Dr. Willow Allen on the settler-colonial socialization of public sector workers.

Room or Area: 
Zoom webinar

Registration is not required.



Caroline Hodes | caroline.hodes@uleth.ca | 403-329-2684