International Women's Day 2024 Feature: Professor Deirdre McCorkindale | College of Arts

International Women's Day 2024 Feature: Professor Deirdre McCorkindale

Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2024

International Women's Day. Professor Deirdre McCorkindale.

Deirdre McCorkindale, assistant professor of Black Canadian Studies and History in the College of Arts, brings expertise and passion to her role. McCorkindale actively changes the narrative surrounding prevailing stereotypes of Black people in North America by highlighting their often-overlooked contributions and unifying their experiences in her research and teachings. McCorkindale challenges the intersecting systems of oppression that have historically marginalized Black people. She is currently completing her PhD on the history of racial intelligence testing with a Canadian focus.  

When asked whether there are unique perspectives with which she approaches her work as a woman during an interview with the College of Arts’ Marketing and Communications team, McCorkindale replied, “My experience as a woman of colour definitely does impact my research...the way that I consider community is probably a big aspect of my experiences as a woman of colour because in Black communities, women have always [been the backbone] of our communities.”  

Professor McCorkindale's professional journey is marked by both challenges and triumphs. "Sometimes being in more male-dominated spaces can be challenging, especially when you do the history of marginalized groups. These [topics] are not always received well." As a woman of colour in academia, she has faced the uphill battle of establishing herself as an authority on specific subjects about which she is knowledgeable. However, her resilience and determination have propelled her own success and paved the way for greater inclusivity and representation of marginalized groups in the future. McCorkindale remains steadfast in her commitment to empowering future generations and reshaping the academic landscape to be more inclusive and diverse. Reflecting on challenges that individuals from marginalized groups often face in leadership capacities, McCorkindale noted, "[It’s always hard] being the first. It’s always that way when you’re from a marginalized group, but somebody must be the first, so there can be a second, so there can be a third, and if you really want things to change then you have to do that.” 

Throughout her career, McCorkindale has experienced inspiring moments that highlight the significance of her work. From witnessing a remarkable turnout at an early morning panel discussion on Black history comprised of herself and three other Black women to teaching the African Canadian History course in the College of Arts, she has experienced first-hand and continues to demonstrate the transformative impact of representation and of diversifying historical education.