BlackLife

Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom

Rinaldo Walcott

Idil Abdillahi

  • ISBN-13: 9781927886212
  • PRICE: $15.00
“One of the most important interventions to emerge in Canada in recent years.”

What does it mean in the era of Black Lives Matter to continue to ignore and deny the violence that is the foundation of the Canadian nation-state? BlackLife discloses the ongoing destruction of Black people as enacted not simply by state structures, but beneath them in the foundational modernist ideology that underlies thinking around migration and movement, as Black erasure and death are unveiled as horrifically acceptable throughout western culture.

With exactitude and celerity, Idil Abdillahi and Rinaldo Walcott pull from local history, literature, theory, music, and public policy around everything from arts funding, to crime and mental health–presenting a convincing call to challenge pervasive thought on dominant culture’s conception of Black personhood. They argue that artists, theorists, activists, and scholars offer us the opportunity to rethink and expose flawed thought, providing us new avenues into potential new lives and a more livable reality of BlackLife.

One of the most important interventions to emerge in Canada in recent years. It ought to be required reading in Canadian Studies and other social sciences and arts courses at both secondary and post-secondary levels across the country. Above all it ought to be taken seriously by those–especially white Canadians–with the ability to apply its insights to public policy and private lives alike. — Hans Rollman, PopMatters

Rinaldo Walcott

Professor Rinaldo Walcott is the Director of the Women & Gender Studies Institute. Rinaldo?s research is founded in a philosophical orientation that is concerned with the ways in which coloniality shapes human relations across social and cultural time and focuses on Black cultural politics; histories of colonialism in the Americas, multiculturalism, citizenship, and diaspora; gender and sexuality; and social, cultural and public policy.


Idil Abdillahi

Idil Abdillahi is an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies, and was the Advisor to the Dean on Anti-Black Racism at the Faculty of Community and Social Services at Ryerson University (2020-2021). Dr. Abdillahi is a critical Black Interdisciplinary scholar, researcher, policy analyst, grassroots organizer, and experienced practitioner across healthcare, institutional, policy, and social service settings. She is the author of Black Women Under State: Surveillance, Poverty, & the Violence of Social Assistance (2022), co-author of BlackLife: Post-BLM and The Struggle For Freedom (2019), author of Blackened Madness: Medicalization, and Black Everyday Life in Canada (forthcoming), and a co-editor of the forthcoming edition of Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies.

Dr. Abdillahi is published widely on an array of topics, including mental health, poverty, HiV/AIDS, organizational development, and several other key policy areas at the intersection of BlackLife and state interruption. Most notably, her cutting-edge research and scholarship on Blackened and antiBlack sanisms has informed the current debates on fatal police shootings of Black mad-identified peoples. Her work is attentive to the tensions between data, research, communities, institutions, and monetization, and she strives to challenge the ways that research data about communities experiencing structural oppression—particularly Black communities—is increasingly used in capital-oriented institutions as it simultaneously is serving socio-political ‘care’ spaces such as non-profit organizations, prisons, hospitals and community-based health centers. Dr. Abdillahi’s work integrates an understanding of how these institutions and ‘care’ spaces continue to disproportionately impact Black women/people, leading to their disenfranchisement from ‘public’ services and supports in Toronto and beyond.

She is a founding member of the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) and served as vice-chair of the board of directors. Her lengthy history as a practitioner in clinical, forensic, and grassroots settings led to her being honoured with several awards and accolades for her work in mental health in Toronto. Upon transitioning to work in the academy in 2012, she was nominated as a “professor who made a mark,” and later won the prestigious Viola Desmond Award, celebrating the achievements of Black Canadian Women. Most recently, Dr. Abdillahi was the faculty recipient of the Sue Williams Excellence in Teaching Award, 2020-2021. 

In 2017, she led and co-produced the documentary It Takes A Riot: Race. Rebellion, Reform, a film marking the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Yonge Street Uprising in Toronto. She was named one of Toronto’s 12 Most Inspiring Women of 2020 by Post City Magazines.


Reviews

Canada Has An Anti-Blackness Problem

From national origin myths to austerity policies, racism permeates the fabric of the world’s ‘friendliest’ nation, argues Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi in their work, BlackLife.

By Rhea Rollman

While chapters of Black Lives Matter exist across Canada, it is Toronto that, for many, has come to be associated with the Canadian iteration of the movement. Established in 2014, the Toronto chapter roared into national prominence in July of 2016 when its activists brought the city’s annual Pride Parade (one of the world’s largest) to a halt with a sit-down protest demanding, among other things, funding for queer black youth groups, greater presence of transwomen and Indigenous persons in Toronto Pride leadership, and removal of police from the Parade. [Read the review on Popmatters]

The Canadian state and Black disregard

Review of BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom

By Phillip Dwight Morgan 

In BlackLife: Post BLM and the Struggle for Freedom, Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi want to change how readers think about Black Canadians. The authors examine Toronto between 1992 and 2005 as a window into Black life. Here, Walcott and Abdillahi coin the term “BlackLife,” arguing that “living Black makes BlackLife inextricable from the mark of its flesh, both historically and in our current time.” Each chapter of BlackLife carefully weaves together analyses of history, philosophy, policy, art, and activism to create a fuller picture of Black Canadian existence. [Read the review at Briarpatch]

A video book review by Erica Violet Lee on Canadian Independent Bookstore Day

Erica Violet Lee is a poet, essayist, political theorist, and urban Native scholar from inner-city Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Turning the Tide Bookstore–check them out! Strombo called named them one of “Ten Beloved Bookstores from Coast to Coast.”