Joseph Mensah


Joseph Mensah is a first-generation African-Canadian intellectual, born and raised in post-colonial Ghana where he did his B.A. in geography with a minor in philosophy at the University of Ghana. He immigrated to Canada in 1987 under a Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Scholarship for his MA in geography (1987 to 1989), after which he completed his PhD (in 1993), also in geography, at the University of Alberta under another academic scholarship. He taught at various colleges and universities in British Columbia, including SFU, UBC, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University before taking up an Assistant Professorship at York University in 2002. He became a tenured Associate Professor at York in 2005, and a full Professor of Geography in 2010.

Professor Mensah is currently a member of the Senate of York University and the Chair of the Department of Geography. Previously, he was the Deputy Director of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples at York University (2010 to 2013); a Board Member of the Center for Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) from 2011 to 2013; the Coordinator of York University’s International Development Studies (IDS) program (2008 to 2010); and the Undergraduate Program Director for the Atkinson School of Social Sciences from 2005 to 2008. Professor Mensah is a founding member of the University of Ghana Pan African Doctoral Academy (PADA). Sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, PADA runs short-term courses on selected topics for Ph.D. students across Africa. Professor Mensah’s research cuts across a wide range of disciplines, culminating in publications is such diverse and reputable journals as Health Economics, Higher Education, Studies in Political Economy, Housing Studies, Canadian Geographer, and Social Identities. He has written a number of book chapters and books, including the well-received Black Canadians: History, Experience, and Social Conditions, published by Fernwood in 2002 & 2010. Professor Mensah’s current research focuses on globalization and culture; transnational migration; and ethnicity, race, and identity formation. He has received several competitive awards and grants from the likes of SSHRC, the Gates Foundation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and ILO. He was the recipient of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa’s (CODESRIA) Inaugural Diaspora Visiting Professor Fellowship at the University of Ghana in 2016. Professor Mensah has been a recipient of the highly competitive York University Faculty Merit Award for a number of years. He has been profiled in Who’s is Who in Black Canada since 2006. Professor Mensah lives in Brampton, Ontario, with his wife, Janet, and their two daughters, Nicole and Cassandra. Professor Mensah is an avid runner and a soccer enthusiast.

  • Boomerang Ethics

    How Racism Affects Us All

    By Joseph Mensah and Christopher J. Williams     September 2017

    Timely and incredibly important, Boomerang Ethics is a much-needed resource in the fight against racism because it does not gloss over the self-interests of members of the privileged, who ultimately have the power to help alleviate racism.

  • Black Canadians, Second Edition

    History, Experience, Social Conditions, Revised Edition

    By Joseph Mensah     February 2010

    Black Canadians provides an authoritative reference for teachers, students and the general public who seek to know more about the Black Diaspora in North America. Arguments made in this book may be unpleasant for those with little appetite for pointed, provocative views and analysis from the standpoint of Black people. For those with a genuine interest in venturing beyond established orthodoxies and simplistic solutions to the contentious ethno-racial problems in Canada, this book will be insightful and worthy of close attention. This new edition expands the regional coverage of Black history, updates all the statistics with the 2006 census data, and adds important new material on multiculturalism and employment equity.