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Data & Sovereignty: Resisting Colonial Logics For Racial Justice

Data & Sovereignty: Resisting Colonial Logics For Racial Justice Online



Recent attentions to the collection, use, dissemination, ownership, and impacts of demographic data have convened several historical contradictions, resurfacing the contours of the false promise of equity from quantitative data collection. COVID-19 has positioned a number of initiatives that claim to address injustice and inequities in health or elsewhere though data collection often without the needs of those mined for data at the centre of these conversations. Regularly, these data are on or about Black, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Latinx, Asian, South Asian, Caribbean, and other non-white groups, people living with mental health issues, disabilities, those who are houseless or underhoused, low-income, people living with substance use needs, and 2SLGBTQ+ populations while also collecting information on gender. These initiatives that collect and do not deliver have not gone uncontested.



Gikendamaawin e-aabadak – use of information: an Indigenous perspective on data sovereignty
Bernice Downey, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, School of Nursing/Department of Psychiatry and Neuro-Behavioural Sciences, Director, McMaster Indigenous Research Institute

Addressing hate/hate Crimes/hate incidents through communal frameworks
Kojo Damptey, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (Executive Director)

Data colonialism and plantation logics in social services, and public health
Ameil Joseph, Ph.D. Associate Professor, School of Social Work McMaster University

KEYNOTE: Data, deception and dispossession: Breaking the cycle of colonization and racial capitalism in Canada's public health & health care systems
LLana James, Ph.D.(Cand), Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, rede4blacklives.com

Thursday, December 3, 2020
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
  Data Ethics     SCDS Sponsored Events  
This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
Registration has closed.

This event is supported by:

  • The McMaster Institute for Health Equity
  • The Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship
  • The McMaster Indigenous Research Institute


Dr. Bernice Downey

Dr. Bernice Downey (kwe/she/her) is an Anishinaabe-kwe (Indigenous woman) of Ojibwe - Saulteaux and Celtic heritage, a mother and a grandmother. She is a nurse and a medical anthropologist and is cross-appointed with the Department of Psychiatry and Neuro-Behavioural Sciences & the School of Nursing. She is also appointed as the Indigenous Health Lead for the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster. Her research interests include health literacy and Indigenous Traditional knowledge and health/research system reform for Indigenous populations. She holds a Heart & Stroke Foundation - Canadian Institute of Health Research - Chair in Indigenous Women’s Heart and Brain Health. Dr. Downey successfully led the development of the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute, of which she is currently the Acting Director. She is committed to addressing anti-Indigenous racism and the promotion of Indigenous self-determining approaches in system reform.

Kojo Damptey

Kojo is an interdisciplinary scholar-practitioner who holds a B.Eng in Chemical Engineering (McMaster University) and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Royal Roads University). His work revolves around music, communication, African culture, African politics, social justice, and social movements. His academic work revolves around the broad discipline of African Studies, particularly around governance, African Indigenous Knowledge Systems and politics in Africa. He approaches his work using theoretical frameworks of decoloniality and Afrocentricity. In addition to being a current graduate student with the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster, Kojo spends his time as the Executive Director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.

LLana James

LLana James is a public intellectual and scientist. She has worked in the private sector and public service, having held senior roles in tech and health care, respectively. LLana brings her experience, and critical analysis together to interrogate, map, develop, implement and evaluate interventions at the intersection of AI, medicine, public health, data, health systems, race-ethnicity and the law. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Medicine.

Ameil Joseph

Ameil Joseph is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. He draws on perspectives of critical forensic mental health, mad studies, postcolonial theory, critical race theory, and critical disability studies to analyze the historical production of ideas about difference, normalcy, sexuality, eugenics, race, ability and mental “illness” as they cohere, diverge, interdepend and perform within policy, law and practice. Ameil is also the author of: Deportation and the confluence of violence within forensic mental health and immigration systems published by Palgrave-MacMillan. A historiographical post-colonial analysis of the practice of deportation in Canada for those identified as “undesirable”.
Ameil is currently writing a book entitled, Social Services, Big Data and the Overseers of Violence - Cultivated on the Plantations of Human Suffering with Palgrave Macmillan and has presented and published on data colonialism within the social work and social service sector over the last 4 years.

Event Organizer

Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship

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