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Grappling with the Colonial Archive

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art & Community Engagement and Founding Director of NSCAD’s Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery Dr. Charmaine Nelson will present a lecture on Grappling with the Colonial Archive: An Introduction to Canadian Slavery.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6 p.m. AST.

Streamed to Facebook Live

Dr. Nelson’s talk will introduce elements of the histories of Canadian Slavery and underscore the importance of having the Institute at NSCAD University and in Nova Scotia.

Scholarship on Canadian Slavery falls far short of the research that has been produced on the American South, the Caribbean, and South America. This neglect is due in part to Canada’s national myth of racial tolerance. Although slavery looked different in Canada than in tropical regions where plantations flourished, it was no less brutal for the enslaved, who suffered various forms of abuse and were isolated from their cultural, linguistic, and spiritual communities.

The fugitive slave archive is a valuable resource to help our understanding of the enslaved experience in Canada. Found throughout the Transatlantic World, fugitive slave advertisements demonstrate the ubiquity of African resistance to slavery.

This lecture will examine these notices, alongside other archival evidence, to explore various dimensions of the enslaved experience like dress, family, health, labour, and resistance.