CAFKA Summer Reading Series: White Elephant Edition

Drawing from artist Shary Boyle’s commissioned work, White Elephant (2021), CAFKA has programmed a series of book clubs, reading groups, and public lectures that seek to interrogate racism and white supremacy, drive community dialogue on issues of social justice, and facilitate working strategies to actively dismantle these ongoing systems of oppression. Selections made by CAFKA’s Program Committee foreground these issues from various perspectives, including art and culture, racism and multiculturalism in Canada, and Indigenous histories and land tenure specific to the Haldimand Tract.

CAFKA has scheduled virtual book club sessions and reading groups (on Zoom) for the months of June, July, and August to correspond with the duration of the biennial and provide participants with reasonable time to read each selection (see schedule below). Participants must pre-register through Eventbrite. Community guidelines will be circulated in advance and a zero tolerance policy will be in effect. Participants are required to purchase or borrow the selected book and read it in advance of the session. Please note that book clubs and reading groups are currently limited to 20-25 participants in order to facilitate meaningful discussion.

Authors Aruna D’Souza and Kathy Hogarth are confirmed speakers as part of the Big Ideas in Art and Culture Lecture Series on June 24 and July 15, respectively. Visit the Programs & Events page for a schedule of talks, lectures and registration links.

Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts

Register for the book club on June 22
New York-based author Aruna D’Souza’s  takes up three controversial case studies of artworks and exhibitions in New York, articulating how white supremacy is ingrained into the structure of museums and the wider art world.

A Space for Race

Register for the book club on July 13
From scholars and local University of Waterloo Professors Kathy Hogarth and Wendy L. Fletcher, this book critically examines and explores ongoing tensions, challenges, and inconsistencies around race relations embedded within policy and practice in Canada, and engages with history in a way that challenges the historical records that has informed our imaginings of belonging.

The Clay We Are Made Of

Register for the book club on August 17
Haudenosaunee scholar Susan M. Hill presents a revolutionary retelling of the history of the Grand River Haudenosaunee from their Creation Story, through European contact, to contemporary land claim negotiations, a text which poses urgent relevance to those of us situated on the Haldimand Tract in Waterloo Region.

Reading & Discussion Groups

Reading groups read short texts collectively, and out-loud for those who volunteer. Participants do not have to read the text in advance. This method will allow us to read, learn and ask questions together. PDF articles and chapters will be circulated in advance of the session via email post-registrations.

All sessions will run from 7:00 to 9:00 pm eastern time.

June 15 -  Register
White Artists Need to Start Addressing White Supremacy in Their Work by Angela Pelster-Wiebe

July 6 - Register
Whiteness on the Couch by Natasha Stovall

July 20 - Register
I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought About Their Privilege. So I Asked. by Claudia Rankine

July 27 Register
Chapter from Chelsea Vowel’s Indigenous Writes

August 4, 11, 18, 25Register
Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad