SSHRC: Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative. And a few comments on its terminology.

Most of SSHRC‘s call for applications for its 2021 Race, Gender and Diversity (RGD) Initiative1 funding competition is word salad. But I’ll try to summarize the Initiative as follows.

This grant funds a collaborative project between one university and one or more community organizations which will address systemic barriers and discrimination experienced by members of the Four Designated Groups (FDGs): Women and Gender+; Indigenous; Disabled; and, Visible Minorities.

The RGD Initiative awards grants of up to $450,000, distributed over a three year period, for each succesful applicant. Up to $80,000 is paid per annum for the first two years, and up to $290,000 is paid out in the third year. The grant is automatically elligible for a two year extension without additional funding.

The RDG Initiative aimed to award “approximately 20” grants to successful applicants. The actual number of award recipients is 46. The recipients share in a grand total of $19, 265, 518. You can check my calculations here. (You might also be interested in perusing the Award Recipient list for more details, including the project titles.1)

I mentioned at the outset of this post that most of SSHRC’s call for applications for this competition is word salad. Let’s look at a few examples. And please feel free to add more in the comments.

1.The phrase “knowledge mobilization” is used throughout the document, usually preceding the words “activities” and “practices.” But a knowledge mobilization “forum” is also mentioned. Since it’s not clear from the context what knowledge mobilization means, I was relieved to find within the document a link to SSHRC’s defintion. That is, until I discovered that the definition is another helping of word salad:

“The reciprocal and complementary flow and uptake of research knowledge between researchers, knowledge brokers and knowledge users—both within and beyond academia—in such a way that may benefit users and create positive impacts within Canada and/or internationally, and, ultimately, has the potential to enhance the profile, reach and impact of social sciences and humanities research….”

2. The last sentence under the subheading Context reads,

“This research will help inform actions to address social disparities related to race, gender and other forms of diversity.”

I’m pondering over what other forms of diversity might be.

3. The second paragraph under the subheading Goal starts with, “This initiative encourages an intersectional approach.” The next sentence is a trend I’m noticing in EDI discourse, “Intersectionality—a term first coined by African-American scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw….”

It seems that whenever people accustomed to using EDI-talk mention intersectionality they knee-jerkedly follow with the information that the term was coined by a Black female scholar. Are they surprised?

[1] Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative, 2021 Competition, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-12-06, Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative (sshrc-crsh.gc.ca), accessed August 2, 2022.

[2] Definitions of Terms, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-05-04, Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative: 2021-22 Competition (sshrc-crsh.gc.ca), accessed August 2, 2022.

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