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George Dei smiles standing outside.May 17
3 - 5 pm
Education Library

This address will employ the interface of Blackness and Africanness, grounded in the Ubuntu philosophy to articulate ‘Blackcentricity’ as an approach for Black/African peoples’ advancement. While not conflating ‘sociology of knowledge’ with ‘critical epistemology’, it is noted that the rich African intellectual traditions of ‘Ubuntu’ philosophy was born out of African struggles, resistance, and liberation. My intellectual and political objective is to contribute to a discussion on the power of Black and African bodies to define challenges afflicting our communities and to think through our own creative solutions. For example, how do we engage the ‘Black African humanhood’ working across solidarities, relationalities, inter-connections, mutual interdependence as shared knowledge base for educational praxis? How do we advance critical African scholarship to upend our mental/intellectual enslavement? The paper acknowledges the “dialectics of theory” and “social praxis”, engaging the Black African body as a site, source and place of knowing, as well as educational resistance and political action. It is contended that when it comes to the Black/African experience, the ‘question’ has always been: How do we assert the ‘locus of control over our story’ and how we tell stories about ourselves, identities, histories, cultures & lived experiences? We must ‘vocalize our politics’ with an adherence to the idea that ‘to know is to act’ politically, responsibly and timelessly. And, with a realization that the Black/African educator/learner/scholar/worker must always develop a spiritual remembrance of: ‘I am because We are and because We are therefore I am’. In my address this twinning of ‘Black’ and ‘African’ in “Blackcentricity” is deliberate - to register the confluence of race, colour, culture, spirituality and history to implicate, invoke and further advocate for a global Black African radical politics.

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Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei is a renowned educator, researcher and writer who is considered by many as one of Canada’s foremost scholars on race, anti-racism studies, Black and minority education, African Indigeneity and anti-colonial thought. He is a widely sought after academic, researcher and community worker whose professional and academic work has led to many Canadian and international speaking invitations in US, Europe and Africa. Currently, he is Professor of Social Justice Education & Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). On May 6, 2024, Professor Dei will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of South Africa at the University’s convocation ceremony. Dr Dei has been asked to give an address at the University’s convocation. Professor Dei is the 2015, 2016, 2018-19 Carnegie African Diasporan Fellow. In August of 2012, Professor Dei also received the honorary title of ‘Professor Extraordinarius’ from the Department of Inclusive Education, University of South Africa, [UNISA]. In 2017, he was elected as Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious award for an academic scholar. He also received the ‘2016 Whitworth Award for Educational Research’ from the Canadian Education Association (CEA) awarded to the Canadian scholar whose research and scholarship have helped shaped Canadian national educational policy and practice. He is the 2019 Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Chapman University, US - ‘Social Justice Award’ winner. In April of 2021, Professor Dei received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators [ONABSE] for how long-standing work promoting Black and minority youth education. Also, Professor Dei in October 2023, was named by Silvertrust Media as one of the 100 most influential Black Canadians nationwide. He received this award at the African History gala where he was chosen as the keynote speaker. In March of 2023 Professor Dei has received the highly prestigious ‘2023 President’s Impact Award,' given to a University of Toronto scholar whose work has reached beyond walls of academia to significantly impact local communities, nationally and internationally. In April 2023, Professor Dei was given an Honorary Research Associateship in The Centre of Excellence in Disabilities, University of South Africa, [UNISA]. Professor Dei has forty-four (44) books and over eighty (80) refereed journal articles to his credit. Finally, in June of 2007, Professor Dei was installed as a traditional chief in Ghana, specifically, as the Gyaasehene of the town of Asokore, Koforidua in the New Juaben Traditional Area of Ghana. His stool name is Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah.

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