2024 DARE Seminar 3

Antisemitism in EDI discourses in Canadian higher education: How did we get here, and how can we move forward?

Equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonizing (EDI/D) became a pertinent issue for Canadian higher education in redressing the ongoing effects of historical exclusion and marginalization of Indigenous Peoples and people from equity-seeking groups. Yet while Canadian universities are becoming more active in promoting EDI/D, little attention is paid to antisemitism in policy and action plans or their development. Academics who bring up antisemitism in their work on anti-racism are often told this is not part of the EDI agenda.  

This talk suggests that the omission is not accidental. Prevalent conceptions of race (grounded in Whiteness) and decolonizing (grounded in settler-colonialism) in EDI/D discourses are insufficient in addressing the historical, institutional, ideological, and cultural underpinnings of antisemitism. Acting against antisemitism does not mean justifying Israeli state politics or shielding Israel from critique. Yet the complexity of distinguishing between antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and political pressures from the left and right might discourage universities from incorporating antisemitism in EDI policies and action plans. The consequences of this omission became urgently apparent following the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and the following cycle of violence. Questions about how universities address antisemitism are tangible for Jewish students, faculty, and staff who are facing hostility on campus because of their Jewish identity. This talk will unpack the reasons for omitting antisemitism from EDI discourses and suggest ways to move forward.

Presenter bio

Dr. Lilach Marom is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada. Her research draws on critical theories to highlight issues of equity, anti-racism, and inclusion in education. It focuses on structural and institutional barriers to access and success in higher education, with a particular focus on teacher education. Lilach has worked as an educator with diverse students and communities in multiple contexts. Her current SSHRC-funded projects explore the barriers facing Punjabi international students in Canadian higher education and a comparative study of the recertification processes of Internationally educated teachers in Canada and Europe. She is further interested in EDI policies and action plans in higher education, asking what is included and what is left unaddressed.

Dr. Lilach Marom

Monday, May 27
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

SFU Burnaby Campus, EDUC 8620