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Dr. Mélanie Knight appointed as advisor to the dean on Blackness and Black Diasporic Education in the Faculty of Arts

Dr. Mélanie Knight

Advisor to the Dean, Blackness and Black Diasporic Education
DepartmentDean's Office, Faculty of Arts
Phone416-979-5000 x4191

A critical scholar, Dr. Knight’s research focuses on Black activism/organizing, Black collective economic initiatives and Black women business owners. Her most recent article published in the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire entitled “The demise of a Black organization: The Home Service Association (1921-1965),” examines the Association’s valuable place in Toronto’s Black community, its struggles to stay viable and the state’s attempts to delegitimize this organization. She is currently researching Black credit unions in Toronto and Black francophone activism in Ontario. Her extensive research on Black women entrepreneurs and their resistance to anti-Black racism in the labour market has been published in a number of journals, including the Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Journal, Gender, Work and Organization and The Canadian Geographer. Dr. Knight was sole Principal Investigator on a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant looking at subtexts of race and gender in entrepreneurship curriculum (2012-2016). Outside of her work in the academy, she collaborates with numerous community organizations, including developing initiatives with the Ontario Black History Society and the Rella Black History Foundation. In 2018, Dr. Knight was recipient of the Viola Desmond Faculty Award. 

In her role as advisor, Dr. Knight will promote Black scholarship in all of its complexities across disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences and at the same time, address the underrepresentation of Black scholars in the Faculty. “I plan to work with the dean and all interested departments and faculty members in Arts to promote Black scholarship and curricular changes that deepen our understanding of the histories of oppression faced by people of African descent in the diaspora and on the continent, with specific attention to the Canadian context,” she says. As advisor, she will also provide mentorship and support to Black students in the Faculty. Mélanie explains, “the recent uprisings we are seeing in the world, including in universities, with calls for changes to Eurocentric curriculum, safer classroom and campus spaces, and for more Black and Indigenous faculty, is in large part due to students making their voices heard. Students, rightly so, are demanding change.”