For over 50 years, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology has been offering excellent undergraduate and graduate programs, graduating thousands of students outfitted with conceptual approaches and methods to understand social, cultural, political, economic, and other dynamics shaping everyday lives and broader regional, national, and global scale conditions. A common social justice lens in our courses and in our faculty and students’ research is exploring and addressing various forms of social inequalities and forms of marginalization arising from racism, sexism, colonialism, ableism, among others.

Spurred on by growing anti-racism and decolonization efforts and by the recognition that we are working on a campus located on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory, we are starting to systematically apply this social justice lens in a tangible way to our own programs and department. As a result, we are establishing this award to recognize academic excellence among Black, Indigenous and Racialized students who are entering either our Sociology or our Anthropology undergraduate programs and who are coming from families in which they belong to the first generation attending university.

Our undergraduate students are increasingly diverse and many face financial difficulties. Our Black, Indigenous and Racialized students additionally face barriers coming from structural racism that is inherent in Canadian society (like elsewhere). Students who come from families in which they are the first generation attending university face another set of disadvantages before and after they enter university.

With your generous support, this award will be the first of its kind for our Department and the first ever award in our Department specifically helping undergraduate students in Sociology and/or Anthropology.