A message from the Dean

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As final grades are being submitted and we leave a long winter semester behind us, we have completed our third-ever term conducted entirely online. I want to acknowledge the major additional demands this has placed on our graduate and undergraduate students, faculty members, teaching instructors, chairs and directors, and staff. I am incredibly grateful for all of their hard work and dedication and hope they will have the opportunity to take a very well-deserved break at some point over the coming months.

The ongoing uncertainties associated with COVID 19 continue. While access to vaccines and a planned phased return to campus suggest that there is an “other side” to the pandemic, many communities, locally and globally, are experiencing exceptional challenges due to the asymmetrical impact of COVID-19. Our hearts go out to the peoples of Brazil and India in particular at time—and to those among you who continue to contend with your own COVID 19-related personal challenges.

During this time of unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty, the work of social justice in all its forms is ever more urgent. The intensification of anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, and anti-Asian racism and anti-Semitism has been palpable over the last year—as has the strengthening of anti-racist social movements and actions in Canada and beyond. The very real threat of the climate emergency is, thankfully, back on the international agenda. Nevertheless, it remains clear that a commitment, in words and actions, to the projects of Indigenous, racial, gender, environmental, economic, and social justice – the stuff of the Humanities – remains as pressing as ever.

This semester’s newsletter highlights some of our collective successes and shares updates from our community. With graduation 2021 and the summer semester on the horizon, these stories and photos remind us that there is much for which we can be proud and thankful, and much to which we may look forward.

- Annalee Lepp, Acting Dean
May 6, 2021.