Organizing and mobilizing social justice at Congress 2014

At Congress 2014, Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI) will be creating a transdisciplinary space to foster dialogue and galvanize colleagues from the social sciences and humanities around themes of social justice.

A key priority for the newly created institute is to break down boundaries and connect the threads of social justice scholarship taking place across various disciplines.


To do this at Congress 2014, SJRI is helping to promote the social justice events of 21 academic and community organizations, including co-sponsoring 11 high-profile events.

“Connections among academics, activists and community partners will produce knowledge that addresses urgent social problems and opens new pathways to social change locally, nationally, and globally,” says Janet Conway, Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, and SJRI affiliate.

The institute represents a new organizational model for thematic and transdisciplinary research in social justice in an academic setting. It aims to connect the dots between disciplines without having one true “home” association.

“We wouldn’t want a home association because that’s the point,” says Andrea Doucet, Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work and Care and SJRI affiliate.

“When we talk about social justice issues we’re focused on problematics,” says Doucet. “And problematics require multiple approaches because, often, it’s not just one disciplinary approach that’s going to make sense of it.”

Key events at Congress 2014 that Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute have had a hand in helping to organize or promote, include:

* Performance of neXT Company Theatre’s Khalida
Saturday, May 24, 8 p.m., Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, Brock University

Khalida features the confessions and testimony of Said, a man in flight from a conflict zone in the Middle East who has found himself in an oil producing country in the economic North. Written and directed by David Fancy.

* Globalization and social movements for global justice
Thursday, May 29, 11:15 a.m., Lowenberger Dining Hall, Brock University

This inter-disciplinary session addresses the growing interconnectivity across national borders and the North-South divide in global politics, while elaborating on linguistic, ethno-cultural, and class difference and inequality in global social justice movements operating in different places and at various scales.

* Documentary film-making meets social justice: A feminist journey
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 3:30 p.m., Thistle 325, Brock University

In this public keynote lecture, Kum-Kum Bhavnani from the University of California discusses the making of her two award-winning films (The Shape of Water and Nothing like Chocolate), how they work to dissolve boundaries between scholarly and public understandings, as well as how they attempt to “speed up processes of social justice.”

Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI) was established Fall 2013 as a leader in advanced transdisciplinary social justice scholarship, innovative knowledge mobilization strategies, and community-university partnerships.

SJRI is a vibrant collective of 47 faculty members from 15 departments and centres at Brock University brought together by a shared concern for pressing social justice issues.

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