behnaz-960x300-2-680x300 Slavery, Liberation and Islamic Law in the Middle East and beyond

October 5, 2018
Brock University
St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

This one day multi-disciplinary symposium “Slavery, Liberation and Islamic Law in the Middle East and beyond” will be held on October 5, 2018, at Brock University in St Catharines, Canada. It will bring together scholars and students to address various topics related to slavery and liberation. The symposium also proffers new research approaches and methodologies.

The dispersal of descendants of enslaved people globally itself highlights the importance of such a study. Promoting recognition, justice, development and the human rights of descendants of enslaved people and appreciating their cultural contributions, moreover, will strengthen efforts to achieve greater equality and democracy at a universal level.

Papers on the following general themes are currently being accepted:

  • Slavery, abolition, liberation
  • Islamic law and slavery
  • Colonialism and its legacy
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Justice and human rights
  • Education
  • Culture and arts
  • Economic empowerment

Please send your abstract (maximum 300 words), including a title, together with a brief CV and biography to Professor Behnaz Mirzai at

About Brock University and the Niagara Region:
Located in St Catharines, Brock University is named after British general Sir Isaac Brock, who died at the Battle of Queenston Heights during the War of 1812. It is Canada’s only university to be located in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, atop the Niagara Escarpment. The Garden City is also the gateway to the Niagara Region (, offering an abundance of sights and activities from its award winning vineyards and to the wonders of Niagara Falls. The region has great significance to the history of Underground Railroad movement in that its most important conductor – Harriet Tubman – was a resident of St Catharines from 1851 to 1858.


IMG_0523-960x300-2 “People of African Descent: Recognition, Empowerment and Equity” Conference

Behnaz Mirzai Associate Professor of History organized a conference entitled “People of African Descent: Recognition, Empowerment and Equity” September 22–23, 2014. It provided an opportunity to bring together leading scholars, UNESCO delegates, policy makers, and students to explore the related subjects of the global ethnocultural and identity formation of enslaved Africans and the complex intercultural relations of the African diaspora communities.

Jack Lightstone (President and Vice-Chancellor), Douglas Kneale (Dean, Faculty of Humanities) and Mark Spencer (Chair, Department of History) opened the conference with welcome greetings to the participants.

Brian McMullan (The Mayor of St. Catharines) addressed the opening remarks. It was followed up by Edward Alpers’s keynote presentation entitled “From Bilal to Barack: What are the implications for recognition, empowerment and equity in the African diaspora?.” This conference continued by a session on Africans in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, comprising Ehud Toledano (Tel Aviv University) and John Thabiti Willis (Carleton College). A plenary round-table session led by Ali Moussa-Iye(History and Memory for Dialogue Section, UNESCO Headquarter, Paris) and Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados; and Vice President of the UNESCO Slave Route Project) outlined strategies for Promoting recognition, justice, development and the human rights of people of African descent.

The third session, on Colonialism and Nationalism, included contributions from Bonny Ibhawoh and Arua Oko Omaka (McMaster University) and Dolana Mogadime (Brock University).

The second day began with a session on Justice and Literature consisting of presentations by Carrie Walker (University of Nevada), Fouad Mami(University of Adrar, Algeria), and Awet Tewelde Weldemichael (Queen’s University). This was followed by Challenge for Change, in which Dana Elizabeth Weiner (Wilfrid Laurier University), Karlee Sapoznik (York University) and David Wilkins (University of Hull) presented their research.

The conference was sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, McMaster University and Brock University.