After talks featuring Jesmyn Ward and Ibram X. Kendi were cancelled in March, the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs plans to host them virtually this November.
Every year, the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs’s Phil Lind Initiative brings prominent speakers from the United States to UBC to give public talks and teach a seminar on different issues each year.
The theme of the 2020 series was “Thinking While Black,” which focused on the ways that “Blackness as a form, concept and experience shaped American Iconographies,” according to the initiative website. Several months later this theme remains increasingly relevant especially in regards to the racial turmoil in the United States in light of both Black Lives Matter protests and the approaching presidential election.
But here in Canada it also finds relevance in ongoing conversations about racial justice and anti-Blackness.
From January to March, UBC hosted Claudia Rankine, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay.
- Phil Lind Initiative Seminar centres Black thought and scholarship
- Lessons from Ta-Nehisi Coates: the power of memory and the luxury of forgetting
Due to physical distancing restrictions that resulted from the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, the remainder of the talks that were to be hosted at the Chan Centre were postponed.
The Phil Lind Initiative announced on October 8 that the remaining two talks and a newly added discussion will take place virtually in November.
The first speaker will be Jesmyn Ward, a MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner for her works Sing, Unburied,Sing and Salvage the Bones. Ward’s talk will take place on November 10 and will be moderated by Canisia Lubrin, a writer, editor, critic and professor.
On November 12, Ibram X. Kendi historian and author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist.
In this talk, he will discuss the shifting the perspective from how not to be racist to being actively anti-racist while making suggestions beyond bandage solutions. This talk will be moderated by El Jones, spoken-word poet, journalist and community activist.
On November 25, both Ward and Kendi will join together for a final conversation to bring the Phil Lind Initiative’s Thinking While Black series to a close.
Tickets for all three events are now available here.