George Elliott Clarke to speak at York University about ‘The Great Black North’


TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2014 − Poet Laureate of Toronto George Elliott Clarke will speak at York University on Monday, February 3, 2014, about how the presence of “people of colour” in Northern climes, such as Canada, is perceived as aberrant.

A literary writer and respected scholar of African-Canadian studies, Clarke will deliver this year’s Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture.

In his talk, “Poles Apart? The ‘Great Black North’ in Canada and Sweden”, Clarke will argue there is a perception that “northern geography is so integrated popularly with peoples of ‘light’ or ‘white’ complexions that the presence of persons of hues exhibiting darker pigmentation is almost automatically perceived as aberrant or disruptive.”

This idea enforces the notion that “persons originating from the ‘South’ hemisphere, with their skin colouration marking their visible ‘alien’ origin, are displaced, or, quite literally, out-of-place.” This has the effect of making them less welcome and less deserving of equal rights and equal opportunities to succeed and prosper, says Clarke, E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, and the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Associate Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University.

WHAT: George Elliott Clarke, “Poles Apart? The ‘Great Black North’ in Canada and Sweden”
WHEN: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at 1pm
WHERE: Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, Keele campus.
MAP: See Accolade East, building 92 on Map

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