Statement on Congress 2021  

L’Association canadienne de traductologie / the Canadian Association for Translation Studies (ACT-CATS) would like to acknowledge and express respect for the decision made by the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) to withdraw from Congress 2021, as well as the decisions of several other associations who have withdrawn in solidarity. After the cancellation of Congress 2020 due to COVID-19, the BCSA made reasonable and minimal requests to the Federation for the Humanities and the Social Sciences to ensure that Black scholars would be heard and that issues of racism and colonialism would be confronted within and via Congress, and the response of the FHSS was inadequate. The theme of Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism remains pressing and, following the lead of the BCSA, we urge the FHSS to commit to it in an upcoming conference.

The Executive Committee of ACT-CATS appreciates the work of the BCSA and other associations in drawing attention to ongoing problems of racism and exclusion within academia and specifically in Canada, and we have begun reflection on our own response. We have decided to participate in Congress 2021. As a smaller association, we lack the resources to put on an alternative virtual conference. Given that Congress 2020 was cancelled, we moved forward our theme from last year– “Translations, Translators, Interpreters and Subversion / Traductions, traductrices, traducteurs, interprètes et subversion”–which was developed in response to the previous congress theme of Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism and remains highly pertinent. A number of our participants, who come not only from Canada but also from more than fifteen other countries and have diverse backgrounds, will present papers that engage directly with racism, subversion and censorship. Some of this research will find opportunities for further dialogue via publication in the association journal, TTR Traduction Terminologie Rédaction. Nonetheless, we realize that some participants may choose to withdraw and we fully respect that decision. In addition, we recognize that the virtual format can open up possibilities for connection between people in different situations and geographical locations, but at the same time, create conditions of isolation, stress and alienation. We will attempt to ensure a safe environment and seek to make our conference inclusive and accessible. We also intend to add a plenary session to our program that would foreground scholarly and/or literary translation work by Black people, Indigenous people or people of colour.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare systemic injustices in academia that particularly affect contract faculty and students; in recognition of the difficulties exacerbated by the current health situation, we set association fees at $0 for student and unwaged members. Given that the FHSS has waived congress registration fees for Black and Indigenous students, and with the aim of increasing accessibility, we have also set association fees at $0 for student and unwaged non-members. We further intend to review our membership fee structure at our upcoming AGM.

We are committed to ongoing reflection on issues of anti-racism and decolonization and we invite feedback from our members.

The executive committee of ACT-CATS