Philip S. S. Howard

Title: 
Dr.
Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor

Contact Information
Address: 

Office: Education, Room 427

Email address: 
philip.howard [at] mcgill.ca
Department: 
Department of Integrated Studies in Education
Area of expertise: 

• Critical Race Studies in education
• Black Canadian Studies, Afro-pessimism, and antiblackness in education
• Critique of post-racialist/Antiracialist discourses
• Racially-embodied epistemologies, knowledge, and agency 
• Community-based agency and impacts on schooling and education
• Community-based research methodologies
• Strategies of resistance
• Critical race pedagogies
• Social Studies Education/Sociology in Education
• Social Justice and Equity Education/Socially-Just Education

Description of research/teaching activities

I am interested in the social formations, pedagogical processes, and epistemological frames that mediate the ways we come to know ourselves, adopt identities, create community, and exercise agency and resistance in various forms against colonialism, antiblackness, and racial injustice. In settler-colonial contexts, racial violence, antiblackness, and injustice are not exceptional, but rather mundane and routine. What are the pedagogical processes—both within and beyond schools—through which we learn and normalize racial violence, antiblackness, and injustice? What are the mutually constitutive relationships among these processes, the knowledge they produce, and contested notions of national identity, citizenship, social justice, humanity, and belonging? What investments does the settler-colonial, neoliberal nation state and its institutions have in particular kinds of knowledge, and how are they enacted through public education? What investments does civil society have in these kinds of knowledge? Very importantly, how can we challenge/resist colonialism, antiblackness, and racial inequity in their intersectional and interlocking manifestations among each other and with other forms of oppression? Who learns to rise to this challenge, and how? These are the overarching questions that drive my research. I investigate these questions at both formal and informal educational sites with a particular (though not exclusive) focus on Black experience in Canada. 


 

Courses: 

Critical Race Studies and Education

Critical Influences on Educational Praxis

Educational Leadership and Social Justice Praxis

Social Studies Pedagogy


 

Current research: 

Research Projects

2018-2021: Documenter et comprendre les initiatives d’éducation supplémentaire des communautés noires à Montréal de 1900 à nos jours

(Documenting and Understanding Black Community Supplementary  Educational Initiatives in Montreal from 1900 to the Present)

(Principal Investigator: Philip S. S. Howard)
This research is supported by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC): Soutien à la recherche pour la relève professorale 

Research has demonstrated that Black people’s experience with state-run schooling in Canada is dehumanizing and alienating. Attending only to these facts paints a dismal and incomplete picture of Black education. A fuller understanding of Black education comes through recognizing the various ways in which Black communities have exercised agency with regard to education by resisting and challenging antiblackness and inequitable conditions. Montreal, since at least the beginning of the 20th century, has been a site of Black educational activism, seeing the implementation of multiple Black community supplementary educational (BCSE) initiatives, including homework clubs, tutoring, after-school, weekend-school, and summer school programs. However, to date there exists no comprehensive account of the historical emergence and work of BCSE initiatives in Montreal or of their visions and outcomes; nor is there research that looks at both Francophone and Anglophone BCSE initiatives together.  This research will: 1) create an inventory of BCSE initiatives in Montréal since 1900, and document their successes and challenges from the perspective of BCSE organizations; 2) produce a critical account of the diverse political visions that inform these community responses to state schooling, and the ways in which gender, class, language and heritage influence these visions; and 3) critically analyze the ways in which relationships (such as funding relationships) among Montréal BCSE initiatives, state educational structures, and municipal, provincial and federal governments might impact the realization of these educational visions.   

 

2017-2018: The Arts Against Postracialism: Strengthening Resistance Against Contemporary Canadian Blackface 

(Principal Investigator: Philip S. S. Howard)
This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through a Connection Grant

This knowledge mobilization outreach project will use arts-based methods to engage audiences with my research into contemporary Canadian blackface. The objectives are to: 1) raise awareness about blackface, its history and its impacts at Canadian universities and beyond 2) offer Black students and others impacted by blackface a space to heal and to develop strategic responses, and 3) to combat isolation by fostering connections between Black student associations across Canadian universities. I collaborate in this project with artist/curator Camille Turner, experienced at facilitating artist-researcher collaborations, and the project commissions four artists with a socially-engaged, critical art practice to create art installations inspired by the research and its objectives. 

[visit website]

2013-2017: Racial Humour in the Post-Racial: A Critical Race Africology of Canadian Blackface Incidents

(Principal Investigator: Philip S. S. Howard)
This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through an Insight Development Grant

This study explores incidents of ostensible humour involving blackface occuring on Canadian university campuses.
The objectives of this research are to: 1) analyze the discursive context(s) within which these contemporary Canadian blackface incidents are performed, articulated, justified, and apologized for in a post-racialist climate; 2) explore how claims to humour function rhetorically to allow particular forms of racial knowing and not knowing; 3) understand how the antiblack tropes of racism on which these acts seem to draw are or are not, learned, recognized, and forgotten; 4) explore the diverse ways in which these acts are experienced by black persons amid dominant claims to the diminishing significance of race; 5) explore how black communities on university campuses understand these acts, and exercise agency in challenging them. 

[more information]

2011-2015: The Africentric Alternative School Experience: Agency and Action

(Principal Investigators: Carl E. James & Philip S. S. Howard)
This research was supported by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and York University’s Centre for Education and Community (YCEC)

This project involved a 3-year partnership between the Africentric Alternative School (AAS), TDSB and YCEC. The objectives of the study were: 1) To understand the aspirations of the parents, staff, and students of the AAS, and to understand the ways that they are shaping the school in relation to these aspirations; 2) to explore the multiple ways in which members of the school community understand and create a local version of African-centered community, teaching, and learning; 3) to document the transformative successes of the AAS; 4) to identify areas in which parents, staff, and students require further support and to devise, with them, strategies for providing that support with appropriate resources; 5) to identify best practices in the education of Black students that are transferable to the larger TDSB system; 6) to contribute to a climate of high positive regard for the AAS in light of the negative media attention it has attracted. 


 

Selected publications: 

Edited Books

Kitossa, T., E. Lawson, and P.S.S. Howard (forthcoming) African Canadian Leadership: Perspectives on continuity, transition and transformation.  Under review with University of Toronto Press.

Howard, P.S.S. & G. Dei.  (Eds.)  (2008). Crash Politics and Antiracism: Interrogations of Liberal Race Discourse.  New York: Peter Lang.

Refereed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Howard, P.S.S. (2018) “A Laugh for the National Project: Contemporary Canadian Blackface Humour and its Constitution through Canadian Anti-Blackness.” Ethnicities, 18(6), 843-868. (Published online: July 8, 2018).

Howard, P.S.S. (2018) “On the back of Blackness: Contemporary Canadian blackface and the consumptive production of post-racialist, white Canadian subjects.”  Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 24(1), 87-103. (Published online: January 23, 2017).

Howard, P.S.S. (2015) “Critical Whiteness Studies.” In Shujaa, M.J. & K.J. Shujaa (eds.) Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Howard, P.S.S. (2015) “Whiteness.” In Shujaa, M.J. & K.J. Shujaa (eds.) Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Howard, P.S.S. (2014) “Drawing Dissent: Post-Racialist Pedagogy, Racist Literacy, and Racial Plagiarism in Anti-Obama Political Cartoons.”  Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 36(5), 386-402.

Howard, P.S.S. (2014). “Taking the Bull By the Horns: The Critical Perspectives and Pedagogy of Two Black Teachers in Anglophone Montreal Schools.” Race, Ethnicity and Education, 17(4), 494–517. (Published online: March 5, 2013).

Howard, P.S.S. (2013) “The Smack of Self-Determination: A Fanonian Analysis of the Africentric Schooling Debate in Toronto.”  In G. J. S. Dei & M. Lordan (eds.), Contemporary Issues in the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity: A Critical Reader, pp. 43-68.  New York: Peter Lang.

Howard, P.S.S. (2010). “Turning out the centre:  Racial politics and African agency in the Obama era.”  Journal of Black Studies, 40(3), 380-394.

*Reprinted in A. Mazama & M. Asante (eds.) (2012).  Barack Obama: Political frontiers and racial agency, pp. 55-69. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Howard, P.S.S. (2008) “Colliding positions on what counts as racially progressive: A critical race Africology of the film, Crash.” In P. Howard & G. Dei (eds.), Crash Politics and Antiracism: Interrogations of Liberal Race Discourse, pp. 25-47. New York: Peter Lang.

Dei, G. & P. Howard (2008). “Introduction: Up to No Good: Crash Politics and the Liberal Race Discourse.”  In P. Howard & G. Dei (eds.), Crash Politics and Antiracism: Interrogations of Liberal Race Discourse, pp. 1-11. New York: Peter Lang.

Howard, P.S.S. (2006). “On silence and dominant accountability:  A critical anticolonial investigation of the antiracism classroom.”  In G. J. S. Dei & A. Kempf (eds.), Anti-colonialism and education:  The politics of resistance, pp. 43-63.  Rotterdam:  Sense Publishers.

Howard, P.S.S. (2004).  “White privilege: For or against? A discussion of ostensibly antiracist discourses in Critical Whiteness Studies.”  Race, Gender and Class, 11(4), 63-79.

Non-refereed Publications

Howard, P.S.S. (2018) “If you’re thinking of doing blackface for Halloween, just don’t.” The Conversation (October 25)

Howard, P.S.S. (2018) “The Problem with Blackface.” The Conversation (June 11)


 

Graduate supervision: 

Prof. Howard is currently accepting graduate students whose research interests overlap with his own.  He is particularly (though not exclusively) interested in hearing from prospective students who are working in the areas of Black Canadian Studies and anti-blackness within settler-colonial contexts as they relate to education, knowledge production, and resistance.

Applicants to the DISE graduate programs interested in being supervised by Prof. Howard should contact him directly by email, attaching a current CV, a brief description of their potential research interests, and a recent transcript.

 

Selected talks and presentations: 

Selected Conference Presentations

Howard, P.S.S. (2018).  Blackface, Apologies, and Institutional Responses.  What We Can Learn About What National Apologies for Slavery Might Look Like.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Black Canadian Studies Association, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan.  May 28-29.

Howard, P.S.S. (2018).  Black Teachers Resisting Anti-blackness in Education: The pedagogy of teachers at Toronto’s Africentric Alternative School.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Black Canadian Studies Association, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan.  May 28-29.

Howard, P.S.S. (2017).  Contemporary Canadian Blackface, Slaveability, and Anti-Black Libidinal Economy.  Paper presented at the Black Canadian Studies Association Conference: “Blackness, Indigeneity, Colonialism, and Confederation: 21st Century Perspectives” Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba.  May 11-14, 2017.

Howard, P.S.S. (2017).  African Canadian Leadership and Collaboration with Whites within Predominantly White Institutional Structures.  Paper presented at the Black Canadian Studies Association Conference: “Blackness, Indigeneity, Colonialism, and Confederation: 21st Century Perspectives” Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba.  May 11-14, 2017.

Howard, P.S.S. (2016).  Knowing by showing up black:  Racial literacy, racial embodiment, and racial presentation.  Paper presented as part of the panel “More than a big liberal hug: Building racial literacy through critical race praxis in education” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.  May 28-June 3, 2016.

Howard, P.S.S. (2016).  Post-racialism and the production and negotiation of blackness at university.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.  May 28-June 3, 2016.

Howard, P.S.S. (2016).  A Laugh for the National Project: Contemporary Canadian Blackface Humour and its constitution through settler-colonial relations.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.  May 28-June 3, 2016.

Howard, P.S.S. (2016).  Canadian Post-racialism and the Education of Resistance:  The Critical Role of Black community and Black Student Associations on Canadian University Campuses.  Paper presented at the Anti-Black Racism Network Conference: Anti-Black racism: Criminalization Community, Resistance. Toronto, Ontario.  February 18 – 20, 2016.

Howard, P.S.S. (2015). The Pedagogical Imperative: Black Indignation, White Education, and Institutional Responses to Blackface Incidents on Canadian University Campuses. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE)-SOCINET, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario.  May 30-June 5, 2015.

Howard, P.S.S. (2015). Contemporary Canadian Blackface: Instantiations of Canadian Multiculturalism. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario.  May 30-June 5, 2015.

Howard, P.S.S. (2015). Contemporary Canadian Blackface and the Afterlife of Slavery. Paper presented at the Critical Ethnic Studies conference: Sovereignties and colonialisms: Resisting racism, extraction, and dispossession.  York University, Toronto, Ontario.  April 30-May 3, 2015.

Howard, P.S.S. (2014). Contemporary Blackface, Microagression, and Pedagogy for Whiteness: Teaching and Learning Disregard on Canadian University Campuses. Paper presented at the 8th Annual Critical Race Studies in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.  May 28 - 30, 2014.

Howard, P.S.S. (2014). Blackface, Multicultural Education and the Post-racial Fungibility of Race.  Paper presented at the 8th Annual Critical Race Studies in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.  May 28 - 30, 2014.

Howard, P.S.S. (2013). Blackface Humour in the Post-Racial: Implications of and for antiracism education. Paper presented at the 7th Annual Critical Race Studies in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.  May 29 - June 1, 2013.

James, C. & P.S.S Howard (2013). Toronto’s Public Africentric School:  Community Agency and Action. Paper presented (by Philip Howard) at the 7th Annual Critical Race Studies in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.  May 29 - June 1, 2013.

Howard, P.S.S. (2013).Blackface Humour on Canadian University Campuses: Race-making and Resistance in the Ostensible Post-Racial. Paper presented at the Black Canadian Studies Association Conference: “’Where are you from?’ Reclaiming the Black Presence in Canada,” Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.  May 24-26, 2013.

Howard, P.S.S. (2013).Black agency and constrained resistance: An analysis of gendered race narratives and their impact on black anti-racists who work with  White allies.  Paper presented at the conference: Decolonizing the Spirit: Subalterneity and the Politics of Subversion. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.  April 12-13, 2013.


 

Professional activities: 

Service

Editorial Board – Whiteness and Education

Board of Consulting Editors – Canadian Journal of Education

Reviewer:

Race Ethnicity and Education

Review of Education Pedagogy and Cultural Studies