Location: Think Corner (Tiedekulma), Yliopistonkatu 4, 00100 Helsinki
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The centrality of the ‘global dimension’ and a ‘diverse and inclusive community’ in many strategic plans by Finnish universities is both evidence of increasing value of ‘Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI)’ and academia’s interest in talking the talk of DEI. However, how can we represent academia as ‘global’ and a ‘community’ if we simultaneously ignore race, racism, and many other forms of othering? Diversity, equality, and inclusivity are not simply ideas to be celebrated through lip service or something to be used in marketing materials. Equally, racism and other forms of discrimination are not just matters of theoretical debate; they are embedded in everyday institutional knowledge and practices. Such issues cannot be eliminated by simple administrative corrections either. Rather, they are central organizing and constructive features of positions and frames of power and hierarchy that explicitly and implicitly sustain inequality and whitewash inclusion. For instance, what is the share of People of Colour (POC) and immigrants in the entire university community? Such questions are relevant in understanding the Janus face of inclusion in academia. Similarly, when universities neglect the historical role of race and imperialism in constructing and grounding notions of academic excellence either institutionally (through, e.g., university and journal rankings) or individually (through, e.g., language), research and professional inequalities are perpetuated.
In this context, should scholars neglect or critically examine how race and othering are reflected in academia? Do we dare question or take for granted the construction of equality and inclusion in the university? Is inclusion a mirage in academia given its historical context and contemporary realities? This event boldly takes a critical look at the state of DEI in Finnish universities. Through raising this issue, we aim at generating critical reflection and forging sustainable pathways to build a more inclusive university.
Opening by Anna-Leena Riitaoja (Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Chair of the Diversity Council, UNA Europa, and Affiliated Researcher at Helsinki Inequality Initiative [INEQ], Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki)
Talk 1: Presentation of the KOTAMO report on the state of equality, non-discrimination and diversity among teaching and research staff in Finnish higher education institutions
Inkeri Tanhua (Equality Research Helsinki/KOTAMO-project and Doctoral Researcher, Hanken School of Economics, Management and Organisation, Helsinki)
Talk 2: Racial Equality Data in Finland: Current Landscapes and Possibilities in Academia
Amiirah Salleh-Hoddin (Doctoral Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences and Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism [CEREN], Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki)
Panel 1: Othering and Discrimination: Race and Internationalization in Finnish Academia
Moderator: Kris Clarke (Associate Professor of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki)
Panel 2: Towards an Inclusive University: Challenges and Solutions
Moderator: Maryan Abdulkarim (Columnist, Co-Founder and board director of Qlab)
14:45-15:00: Questions from the audience