Concordia’s Institutional History in an Era of Truth and Reconciliation

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For our inaugural event, we are pleased to invite all students, faculty, and community members to join us on January 26th at 1:30 p.m. EST for “Concordia’s Institutional History in an Era of Truth and Reconciliation,” a virtual lecture presented by Colby Gaudet (PhD Candidate in Religion, Concordia).

Following the lead of American and British universities, some Canadian universities with colonial histories have undertaken the project of critically investigating their institutional pasts. In this presentation, a brief historical overview of Concordia University’s founding and partner institutions (Jesuits, YMCA, and Grey Nuns) will be made. Though established in 1974 from a merger of two earlier institutions, Concordia is nonetheless an inheritor of colonial legacies, including connections to residential schools and slavery. These facts, as we will explore, have important implications for discourses on Truth and Reconciliation, both within Concordia and for Canadians more broadly.

A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Speaker Bio: Colby Gaudet is an interdisciplinary researcher in the fields of religion, colonialism, decoloniality, and the histories of indigenous-settler relations. Currently a PhD candidate in the Dept of Religions & Cultures at Concordia, they hold a master’s degree in Indigenous & Interreligious Studies from the Vancouver School of Theology (2018), and undergraduate degrees in Creative Writing (Concordia, 2008) and English literature (Dalhousie, 2006). 

Colby’s doctoral research investigates missionary archives and reflects critically on the function of colonial religion in Indigenous, settler, and diasporic communities in early eastern Canada. The working title of their dissertation is “Sacramental Communities: Atlantic World Catholics and Social Formation in British Nova Scotia.” 

Colby’s research is also, in a sense, autobiographical as they are descended from many of the historical contexts they study, including the settler communities that colonized Mi’kma’ki (otherwise known as Nova Scotia, or Acadia) during the 17th and 18th centuries.  


As this event is free, we are asking all attendees to consider making a donation to First Peoples Justice Center of Montreal. The Center helps Indigenous peoples in issues related to justice through education, support and empowerment. We hope you can contribute to this cause and help take action alongside our lands acknowledgement. More information on their important work can be found on their website and donations can be made here.