Canada’s hidden cooperative system: The legacy of the Black Banker Ladies with Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein

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9 March, 2021

Big Thinking appears inside a large thought bubble12:00pm to 1:00pm Eastern Time

Black diaspora women are leading in solidarity economics through a specific form of mutual aid–formally referred to as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs)–to meet their livelihood and social needs and those of others. These women call themselves the Banker Ladies, and the ROSCAs they run are rooted in mutual aid and self-help. Members decide on the rules and processes to make regular contributions to a fund that is given in whole or in part to each member in turn. Based on a decade of research with hundreds of Black women who draw on ancient African traditions of Tontines and Susu and prioritize the collective, this work shows that Black women hold the key to making the economy serve the needs of everyone and that we need to listen to them. 

This event takes place in English with French simultaneous interpretation.

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Biography Image of Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein

Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein is Associate Professor of Business & Society in the Department of Social Science at York University in Toronto, Canada and founder of the Diverse Solidarity Economies Collective. She is author of the award-winning Politicized Microfinance: Money, power and violence in the Black Americas (University of Toronto Press, 2016); co-author of Business & Society: A Critical Introduction (Zed, 2017); editor of The Black Social Economy in the Americas: Exploring Diverse Community-Based Alternative Markets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and co-editor of the forthcoming Community Economies in the Global South (Oxford University Press 2021). Dr. Hossein holds an Ontario Early Researcher Award (2018-2023) and her project “African origins in the Social Economy” is funded by the SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2017-20). First in her family to attend university, Dr. Hossein holds a PhD in Political Science (University of Toronto), an MPA (Cornell University), an LL.B (University of Kent at Canterbury) and BA (Saint Mary's University, Halifax). Prior to becoming an academic scholar, Dr. Hossein worked in global non-profits for a decade including managing a community bank in Niger, West Africa.

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