Charmaine Nelson
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Dr. Charmaine Nelson is a Professor of Art History (McGill University). She has made ground-breaking contributions to the fields of the Visual Culture of Slavery, Race and Representation and Black Canadian Studies. Nelson’s six books, include: Racism Eh?: A Critical Inter-Disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada (Captus Press, 2004), The Color of Stone: Sculpting the Black Female Subject in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010), Representing the Black Female Subject in Western Art (Routledge, 2010), and Slavery, Geography, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica (Routledge, 2016). Her honours include a Caird Senior Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum in London, UK (2007), a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of California - Santa Barbara (2010), and a Montreal Women’s Y Foundation, Woman of Distinction Award (2012). Nelson is a member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists (2016).

Entries by Charmaine Nelson

Modern Racism In Canada Has Deep Colonial Roots

(90) Comments | Posted February 23, 2017 | 12:08 PM

I recently had the privilege of being called upon to comment on the state of racism in Montreal, Quebec, and Canada on the Leslie Roberts Show CJAD Radio. I must also thank Tommy Schnurmacher who has extended this opportunity to me many times in the past.


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The Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts Has Whitewashed Jazz Music

(6) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 11:03 AM

A former student reminded me that the Colours of Jazz art exhibition, a show featuring the 1920s modernist art of the Beaver Hall Group, was about to close at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

As the Canadianist in my department entrusted to teach historical Canadian art,...

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What a Wrongful Birth Lawsuit Can Teach Us About Race

(31) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 6:21 PM

To say that the recent lawsuit filed by the lesbian couple Jennifer Cramblett and Amanda Zinkon has caused a stir would be an understatement. Desiring children, Cramblett was inseminated at Midwest Sperm Bank in Downers Grove, Illinois. The issue arose when, into Cramblett's second trimester, the couple contacted...

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Racially Profiled for "Walking While Black"

(7) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 5:01 PM

How long does it take a new immigrant to be profiled in Montreal? Before you hazard a guess, place "black male" in front of immigrant and "racially" in front of profiled. In the wake of the "shopping while black" incidents at Macy's and Barneys (USA), a...

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Getting Arrested for "Shopping While Black"

(4) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 1:24 PM

A few of years ago a man by the name of Joël Debellefeuille was out for a drive with his wife and stepdaughter. For the purposes of this story it is important that we note that this man is black and that the car he was driving was...

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Sheryl Underwood's Take on Natural Black Hair

(1) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 7:03 PM

On the 30 August 2013 episode of the multi-host, female talk show, The Talk (CBS), African-American female comedian Sheryl Underwood caused a furor with her derogatory comments (for which she has since apologized) about black hair. In the midst of a conversation about how the white...

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What Trayvon Martin's Murder and the George Zimmerman Trial Verdict Tell Us

(5) Comments | Posted July 16, 2013 | 10:36 AM

I have a confession to make. I did not watch the Travyon Martin case -- live on CNN. I deliberately avoided subjecting myself to the full brunt of the trial. Why? Deep down I knew the verdict would not be the one for which Trayvon's parents, and millions of blacks...

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What Sergio Garcia's and Paula Deen's Racism Really Tell Us

(15) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 8:57 AM

Scene One -- Sergio Garcia, Tiger Woods and "fried chicken":

The 33-year-old, white, Spanish pro-golfer Garcia was on stage at the European Tour awards dinner in late May. In the midst of what has been called "an ongoing spat" with Tiger Woods, when asked during the U.S....

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Why Did a Cheerios Commercial Spark a Racist Meltdown?

(19) Comments | Posted June 5, 2013 | 1:26 PM

The controversy over the new Cheerios ad is not about a fear of cross-racial contact in general, but the fear of a certain type of cross-racial contact. In the 30-second ad, a very cute and obviously bi-racial girl asks her white mother if it is true that Cheerios...

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Challenging "Blackface" Is Not Quebec-Bashing

(103) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 6:21 PM

Mario Jean's blackface "impersonation" of Boucar Diouf at the Gala des Oliviers (Radio Canada, 12 May 2013), has sparked problematic responses in La Presse and Metro. Besides factual errors, the responses seemed designed to reconfigure centuries of homegrown Canadian and Quebec racism as American problems. Am I surprised? Not at...

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