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CFP – 27th Canadian Ethnic Studies Association Biennial Conference

November 14-16, 2024
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Canada 


The Canadian Ethnic Studies Association (CESA) invites panel and/or paper proposals for its 27th biennial conference devoted to the theme “Colonial Legacies, Contemporary Crises and Contested Futures: Canada in an Interconnected World.” Today ethnic studies scholars confront complex dynamics in dealing with such mainstays of the field as migration and ethnicity, language and religion, diasporas and multiculturalism, as well as racism and anti-racism. On the one hand, historical processes that have shaped Canada and other polities—like settler colonialism—continue to reverberate in the present in ways that powerfully shape identities and claims-making, and raise new questions concerning patriarchy and feminisms, dispossession and decolonization, as well as coalition building and solidarities.  On the other hand, fast-paced changes, including advanced digital technologies, are transforming the ways in which we learn, work, communicate and regulate the mobility and movement of people(s).  Added to this, concurrent contemporary crises carry both global and national implications, such as conflict and war, health and pandemic(s), the environment and climate change, poverty and food insecurity, as well as xenophobic populism and misinformation. These realities give urgency to better understanding the contemporary dynamics of longstanding concerns, the shape of state policies and practices, as well as how Canadian citizens and newcomers in all their diversity are faring and what they aspire for.  These realities also suggest value to investigation at various levels (local, national and transnational), in relation to history, and also in cross-national comparison.  This is an open call for papers and panels centered on the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary tradition of ethnic studies, and its diverse theoretical and methodological approaches.  The following themes are merely suggestive:

  • Indigeneity, land, nationalism/nationhood, sovereignty and relationality;
  • Resurgence and/versus reconciliation;
  • Indigenous-settler relations historically, contemporaneously or in comparative perspective;
  • Colonial legacies, immigration and refugee flows historically or contemporaneously;
  • How crises do (or do not) shape immigration and refugee policies and practices (and vice versa);
  • How crises like war, conflict and environmental disasters impact immigration and refugee flows, diasporic communities and the larger society and open up new and emergent practices of coalition and solidarity;
  • Dynamics of refugee and immigrant integration and citizenship (economic, social, cultural etc., for diverse groups);
  • The use of advanced digital technologies in immigrant selection, by immigrants, or by immigrant-serving organizations;
  • The use of advanced digital technologies in asylum seeker detection beyond state borders and its implications;
  • The impact of border control and safe third country agreements on refugee claimants;
  • The urban and regional dynamics of immigration policies, and immigrant experiences in relation to category of entry (e.g., international student, temporary foreign worker etc.);
  • Debate on immigration level and impacts on host societies and attitudes towards immigrants;
  • Debates over multiculturalism (as policy or practice) in Canada or in comparative perspective;
  • Ethnocultural, ethnoreligious and ethnolinguistic diversity and cultural maintenance historically or contemporaneously;
  • Language policies and politics, including official languages and immigrant services in Canada;
  • The impact of xenophobic populism on immigration discourse;
  • Antiracist initiatives and/or EDI policies and their success combatting different forms of racism (such as anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Arab racism, antisemitism etc.);
  • Data, methodological and theoretical frontiers in immigration and ethnic studies;
  • Challenges and opportunities in organizing for change and forging solidarity across lines of difference.

CESA invites theoretical and empirically-based contributions, individual papers and/or fully formed panels, standard papers or presentations in other formats (e.g., posters, roundtables, films), and all the above from a variety of disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.

The 27th Canadian Ethnic Studies Association’s conference will be held in person at the University of Alberta, one of Canada’s top research universities, located in Edmonton, Alberta from November 14-16, 2024. Edmonton, a city with one million residents, is one of the northernmost major cities in the world.  It has a rich history comprising Indigenous peoples, settlers and recent immigrants, and today a quarter of the population are immigrants, speaking over 125 different languages. The University of Alberta, its buildings, labs, and research stations are primarily located on the traditional territory of Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, and Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe nations; lands that are now known as part of Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and homeland of the Métis.

Who Should Attend?

In addition to members of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association, the conference will be relevant to a wide range of people interested in history, colonialism, ethnicity, race, immigration and citizenship issues in Canada and internationally. University professors, graduate students, other researchers and teachers; policymakers and civil servants from all levels of government; those who work in various non-governmental organizations, as well as those involved as frontline workers delivering various kinds of social services – all of these will find that this conference offers them worthwhile information, challenging critical perspectives, and an opportunity to network and discuss important issues with people from across the country and from a variety of academic disciplines and institutional perspectives.


Conference organizers welcome proposals for papers, panels, roundtables, posters and film presentations that address any of the related topics. The proposals/abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Organizers invite submissions from a variety of perspectives, academic disciplines, and areas of study. The deadline for submission of proposals for papers, sessions, panels, roundtables, and poster presentations has been extended to 15 May, 2024. The decisions on the submitted proposals will be communicated by June 1, 2024.

Abstracts/proposals will be refereed by the CESA Program Committee. Individual conference presentations will normally be 20 minutes in length, and conference sessions will be 90 minutes. Abstracts should be directed electronically to: cesa2024@ualberta.ca.