What a beautiful day it is! As the temperature climbs and the days lengthen it is truly beginning to feel like spring is in the air. And do you know what that means? Yes, baseball is back this week, but more significantly the 2021 Convergences Conference is just one month away! So, get outside, shake off your zoom fatigue and winter blues, and get ready for the must-attend graduate history conference of the season!

Our program for the conference has been finalized and I know that the members of the Conference Committee and I are thrilled by the number of incredible panels we have been able to assemble. We are truly looking forward to a mix of immersive, interdisciplinary, and international interpretations of our theme. I have been asked by my colleagues to whet your appetite for the impending spectacle by briefly introducing to you the panels we will be facilitating.

After our Keynote Speaker Funke Aladejebi kicks off our conference with what will be an engaging and invigorating presentation at 11am on the 28th of April. We will be “confronting crisis” through as broad and relevant a historical lens as the submissions we have received allow. Thanks to the plethora of incredible submissions, we obtained we are all in for a knowledge laden treat.

After an hour for lunch and to digest and discuss Professor Aladejebi’s address Thursday’s slate of panels will run from 1 to 5pm. They will examine various concepts like life on the margins of Toronto’s society in the 20th Century, to how protest has been used to confront crisis, and to how confronting crisis has shaped various cultural identities. Finally, we will discuss how the acts of writing and of producing memories have enabled members of various cohorts to confront crisis as well as the future confrontation of the scars that manifest during times of turmoil.

We will resume our program on the 29th with both a morning and an afternoon session. The AM sessions will run from 10am to 12pm and will include panels that engage with the concept of “Radical Thought” and the notion of a “Crisis of the Body”. The afternoon sitting will commence at 1pm and conclude at 5pm. Its panels will discuss a broad range of topics. Including conversations on “the crisis of colonialism”, environmental crises, and examples of confronting crises and problematic resolutions to crises throughout human history.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to and end. As a result, Convergences 2021 will be concluding on the 30th of April, but not before we provide our community with two more great sessions of panels and an awesome concluding roundtable. The AM session on the 30th will run from 10 to 12pm. First, there will be an examination of various international responses to crises, followed by a review of what can be considered the catastrophe of right-wing populism. After lunch, we return for our final sitting from 1 to 2:30pm. Finishing on a high, we end with panels addressing new historical approaches to writing about crisis and the usage of resources during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As if this was not a sufficient dosage of crisis minded historiography to sustain a virtual conference attendee, we return after a brief break for our concluding event “Conversations in Crises” at 3pm. This will be a roundtable discussion that should not be missed as it is hoped to conclude the conference for the attendee by consolidating and defining some of the key themes and ideas disseminated by the various participants.

We are thrilled to announce that our final event will include three incredible and powerful female thinkers. We look forward to the analysis and wisdom that Dr. Kate Brown, Dr. Monica Green, and and President of the Ontario Black History Association, Natasha Henry will surely leave us with. Three noted academics from various backgrounds collaborating to discuss their experiences with confronting crises. I for one, could not have imagined a finer ending to this year’s rendition of Convergences.

Richard Richardson

York Unviversity

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