Message from the Coordinator

As the Chair of the Department of Humanities and coordinator of the Black Canadian Studies Certificate, I am thrilled to offer you this wonderful opportunity to learn about the cultures and histories of Black Canada in courses that will transform the way you think about the world and your place in it.

The Certificate is, in large part, a response to students’ own desire for a more diverse curriculum that is reflective of their lived and shared experiences in Canadian society. In it commitment to examine the diversity of human experiences and how human cultures have developed historically and continue to develop today, the Department of Humanities has responded to your call to provide the kind of education and research training that can prepare you to assume your role as an intellectually mature citizen in a changing world.

The Certificate is easy to complete alongside your undergraduate major. You complete 24 credits from among a carefully focused curriculum that gives you a clear set of choices and  path to completion, allowing you to build a sense of community and move through the certificate requirements as a cohort. Up to 12 of the Certificate credits may count (if applicable) toward your undergraduate major. Our courses—such as HUMA 1300 9.0 Cultures of Resistance in the Americas, HIST 3535 6.0 African Canadian History, HUMA 3165 3.0 Griots to Emcees, and HUMA 3318 3.0 Black Popular Culture—are among some of the most popular in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. These courses provide learning that is both challenging and fun by situating the material you study and the questions you engage directly within the larger contexts of your daily lived experiences.

Combining the Certificate with your undergraduate major is also advantageous.

The Certificate:

  1. prioritizes a student-centered approach by partnering with university groups like the Jean Augustine Chair in Education to provide tutoring and writing support, and mentorship, thus increasing your ability to do well across all your programs.
  2. allows you to combine the specific disciplinary skills of your degree with the transferable writing, critical thinking and research skills foundational to a humanities education.
  3. enhances your success in future careers by positioning you to draw on these skills for decision making in complex contexts and to bring to a range of problems careful and nuanced analysis from multiple perspectives.

You will study and work with an amazing group of accomplished researchers and teachers, including Professor Christina Sharpe, one of the foremost scholars in Black Studies internationally, who has joined the Department of Humanities to help us build leadership in Black Diaspora thought and cultures. Professor Sharpe will teach a new fourth-year course, HUMA 4306 6.0 Imagining Slavery and Freedom.

The launch of this Certificate is truly a milestone achievement. I am incredibly excited. I hope you are too, and I look forward to meeting you soon and getting to know you well.

Andrea A. Davis, PhD
Coordinator Black Canadian Studies Certificate and Chair, Department of Humanities
Email: aadavis@yorku.ca