Charmaine A. Nelson

Commonwealth Honors College Celebrates Black Heritage Month with Lecture by UMass Amherst Scholar Charmaine A. Nelson

Prominent scholar and art historian Charmaine A. Nelson will be giving the keynote lecture for the Commonwealth Honors College Annual Black Heritage Month Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. in the Honors Events Hall at UMass Amherst. Her talk, titled “Slavery, Mobility, and the Creolized Counter-Knowledge of Resistance”, will examine the intersecting histories of Transatlantic Slavery in both Canada and the USA and how it has been strategically suppressed in different ways.

“I am honored to be presenting the CHC Black Heritage Month Lecture. It's a wonderful opportunity for me, as a new UMass professor, to connect with colleagues and students while sharing my research on enslaved Africans,” says Nelson.

“Knowledge of these histories can transform our understanding of our nations and each other for the better,” she adds.

Nelson is Provost Professor of Art History in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and director of the Slavery North Initiative at UMass Amherst. From 2020-2022, she was a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art and Community Engagement at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University in Halifax, Canada where she founded the first-ever institute focused on the study of Canadian Slavery. Before that she worked at McGill University (Montreal) for seventeen years (2003-20). Nelson has made ground-breaking contributions to the fields of the Visual Culture of Slavery, Race and Representation, Black Diaspora Studies, and Black Canadian Studies. She has published seven books including “The Color of Stone: Sculpting the Black Female Subject in Nineteenth-Century America,” “Slavery, Geography, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica,” and “Towards an African Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance.” She is actively engaged with lay audiences through her media work including ABC, CBC, CTV and City TV News, The Boston Globe, BBC One’s “Fake or Fortune,” and PBS’ “Finding your Roots”. She has blogged for Huffington Post Canada and written for The Walrus. In 2017, she was the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University, and in 2021, a Fields of the Future Fellow at Bard Graduate Center (NYC). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2022) and a member of the American Antiquarian Society (2022).

Supported by the Williamson Lecture Funds, the event is open to the public.