Dark Peril in history
Barrington Walker gives talk to history programs at Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg
When news reached Manitoba that Barrington Walker from Queen’s University would be going to the Black Canadian Studies Conference hosted at Brandon University, historians in Manitoba began planning for a stop-over in Winnipeg. But a problem arose quickly, that Professor Walker would only have time for a one day stop, and would only be able to manage one talk at one of the city’s two universities. Thanks to the special relationship enjoyed by the two departments of history at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba formed through a joint masters program, the possibility to hold one joint talk shared between the institutions was made possible.
Through the planning of faculty members at both institutions, Walker gave a talk at the University of Winnipeg entitled Dark Peril: Black and Social Order in North America’s Urban Landscape, which discussed the 2012 shooting in the Danzig area of the Toronto suburb of Scarborough and the media coverage surrounding that event.
The talk was introduced by Adele Perry, professor of history at the University of Manitoba, who highlighted Walker’s importance as a figure in the field of black Canadian history, and drew attention to the importance of his work for understanding more fully the history of our nation.
Walker’s talk centred on what he described as a “phenomenology of black violence” both in relation to and in the broader context outside of the Danzig shooting incident. His talk encapsulated a history of the event itself, the media reaction afterward, and provided an analysis of the political situation surrounding the event.
Research like that presented by Walker allows us in our current political climate to examine with greater clarity what different moments mean for different groups of people. The media, and later the government’s reaction to the situation highlight a difference between the black community directly affected by the violence of this situation highlights the ways different situations are perceived at different parts of society.
An audio recording of Professor Walker’s talk will soon be made available on the University of Manitoba history department’s website.