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Debra Thompson: On Blackness and Belonging


Thu Oct 13, 2022
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
90 mins


Toronto Reference Library
Bram & Bluma Appel Salon

TPL and Toronto Metropolitan University presents leading scholar on the politics of race Debra Thompson in conversation with Sanjay Ruparelia, on stage and in-person at Toronto Reference Library's Appel Salon space.

Professor Debra Thompson is a leading scholar of the comparative politics of race at McGill University. Her teaching and research interests focus on the relationships among race, the state, and inequality in democratic societies. Her previous book, The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census, studies the racial classifications on the national censuses and how the nature of the census has evolved from an instrument historically used to manage and control racialized populations to its contemporary purpose as an important source of statistical information. Her new book, The Long Road Home, follows the roots of Black identities in North America and the routes taken by those who have crisscrossed the world's longest undefended border in search of freedom and belonging and the relationship between North American racism and democracy.

Debra Thompson shares her insights in conversation with Sanjay Ruparelia.

Question and answer session and book signing to follow. Books available for purchase.


Read More:

About Debra Thompson

About Sanjay Ruparelia

Read The Long Road Home


About the series:

On the Frontlines of Democracy is a new public lecture series to analyze its prospects in the twenty-first century. Around the world, democracies face serious challenges, old and new. Can we protect our constitutional democracies in an era of popular mistrust, severe partisanship and resurgent nationalism? Can they reduce inequalities of power, wealth and status, defend deep diversity and confront climate change in the new digital age? Can we develop innovative strategies to revitalize civic engagement and empower public institutions to renew the promise of collective self-rule? And what can Canada offer, learn and do to promote the prospects of democracy, in a spirit of mutual learning, in our post-western world?


This event is part of our signature On Civil Society series, where we host local and international authors, activists and academics in conversation about the most critical topics of our time.

Generously supported in part by Chris M. Reid.


Note: This is an in-person event at The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, the premiere event space for Toronto Public Library's cultural and heritage programming located on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street).

Arrive early, meet people. The talk starts at 7 pm, but doors open at 6 pm. Come early so you can chat with your fellow literature lovers, and make new friends. As with all Appel Salon events, we'll have a cash bar with a selection of beer, wine, and liquor, as well as sandwiches and snacks.

Please don't print your tickets. We'll either scan your ticket on your smartphone or quickly find your name on our tablets and check you in.

This event will not be live streamed but the replay will be made available to watch on TPL's YouTube channel.

Check here for the latest COVID-19 health and safety policies at Toronto Public Library.


Accessibility at Toronto Public Library

We are committed to making our content accessible to as many Torontonians as possible. Please call or email us if you are Deaf or have a disability and would like to request accommodation to participate in this program. Please let us know as far in advance as possible and we will do our best to meet your request. At least three weeks' notice is preferred. Phone 416-393-7099 or email

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Civil Society