Critical Racial & Anti-Colonial Studies (CRACS)

The Critical Racial & Anti-Colonial Studies (CRACS) Research Network assembles UBC scholars whose work overlap with themes covered by anti-racist and anti-colonial political movements, with a focus on whether or not they are advancing a different notion of social justice. This will be done through the promotion of scholarship and conversations, in the form of talks, lectures, workshops, and sponsorship of student-led initiatives.

Events of the past two years or so have reminded us that colonial and racial subjugation remain crucial to the functioning of global capital and the state form.

Across the globe, we saw a proliferation of colonial practices such as legal acts that expropriate indigenous lands and deployments of state (police) violence onto black, undocumented migrants, and Arab and Muslim persons. Though they have not been included under a larger umbrella –as the Occupy Movement (globally) and the Arab Spring (rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East) –, over the same period there was an eruption of a number of anti-racist and anti-colonial responses (such as Idle No More, Indigenous Brazilians against the Belo Monte Dam, Black Lives Matter, to name a few), which joined a host of already existing movements and organizations (Zapatistas, Incite!, Landless Movement in Brazil, the prison abolitionist movement in the United States, etc.). The descriptive phrase anti-racist and anti-colonial political movement here merely captures how these activist programs and discourses delineate a political project that aims at the transformation of existing governmental institutions, practices, and policies. While these movements target state and capital but are not necessarily closely informed by traditional Marxist discourse, and its privileging of the economic sphere.

What distinguishes these movements is the fact that their claims and demands go beyond what typically falls under prevailing conceptions of social justice, that is, distribution and inclusion (as representation or recognition). More specifically, their agenda, activities, and statements indicate a conception of justice, which addresses economic, juridic, and symbolic mechanisms of power attending to the various modalities of subjugation, such as colonial, racial, gender-sexual, as well as their different moments of operation, with a particular emphasis on expropriation, criminalization, environmental degradation, police brutality, etc. The kind of remedies they seek requires social transformation, not merely social inclusion.


Denise Ferreira da Silva (GRSJ), Convener
JP Catungal (GRSJ), Convener
Dina Al-Kassim (GRSJ)
Janice Stewart (GRSJ)
Glen Coulthard (Political Science/FNIS)
Johnny Mack (Law/FNIS)
Daniel Justice (English/FNIS)
Vanessa Andreotti (Educational Studies)
Renisa Mawani (Sociology)
Handel Wright (Educational Studies)
Dory Nason (English/FNSI)
Annette Henry (Education)
Phanuel Antwi (English)
Pilar Riano-Alcala (Social Work)
Christina Zanotti  (Civil Engineering)

Visiting Professors

Mark Harris (GRSJ/FNIS/Law and Society)

Graduate Students

Taq Bhandal (PhD Student, GRSJ)
Sebastiaan Boersma (MA Student, English)
Kristi Carey (MA Student, GRSJ)
Amel Eldihaib (PhD Student, GRSJ)
Maddie Reddon (PhD Student, English)
Dallas Hunt (PhD Student, English)
Sharon Stein (PhD Student, Educational Studies)
Peter Wanyenya (PhD Student, GRSJ)