2021-2022 Faculty-Graduate Seminar: “Plantation Effects” ft. Charmaine Nelson, NSCAD University

Sep 28, 2021, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
  • By Invite Only
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Graduate Students
  • Alumni
Event Description

Plantation Effects: Visual Ecologies of Race, Place and Labor

This seminar examines the multiple iterations of the plantation, and to draw from Katherine McKittrick, the kinds of futures it brings forth for us now. The plantation might be, to paraphrase Krista Thompson and Huey Copeland an “afrotrope” – a “recurrent visual form” that has played a key role in the formation of Black Diaspora identity and culture. We will consider its various representational formats, along with its various lives, and afterlives. As an ecological, material and economic intervention in the landscape, the plantations is a site of labor and knowledge production. It is both a form of enclosure and an extremely mobile form, a space where human and commodity flows converged, and an ecology formed through interspecies interaction. By considering these histories of the plantation – an ideological and spatial apparatus – we will think through its implications for practices of labor, experiences of the natural world, the organization of vision and, constructions of freedom as they have been formulated in African American Studies. Furthermore, across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, the plantation remains a site where alternative constructions of freedom, and otherworldly economies of knowledge, resilience and resistance formed. We will also consider how the transformations wrought by the plantation across the globe create possibilities to imagine the intimacies and particularities of time and space differently that can help us better understand the politics of race, representation and labor in our contemporary moment. Invited presenters for this seminar include scholars, writers and artists working in the fields, and intersecting geographies of Art History, History, Literary Studies, African American Studies, Creative Writing, Anthropology, Geography and the Environmental Humanities.

Please note that incoming and advanced graduate students are welcome to register.


About The Speaker

Dr. Charmaine Nelson
Photo: Meghan Tansey Whitton

Dr. Charmaine A. Nelson is a Professor of Art History and a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art and Community Engagement at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After receiving her PhD in Art History from the University of Manchester (UK) in 2001, she has taught at Western University (2001-2003) and McGill University (2003-2020).

Her research and teaching interests include postcolonial and black feminist scholarship, Transatlantic Slavery Studies, and Black Diaspora Studies. Her scholarship examines Canadian, American, European, and Caribbean art and visual culture including various types of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art and popular art forms including TV, film, photography, print culture, sculpture, painting, and dress. She also works across various genres including portraiture, still-life, nudes, and landscape art.

Dr Nelson is an innovative, award-winning teacher who actively mentors students, supports their professionalization, and publishes their research. She encourages student training in primary research protocols including the first-hand study of various types of archival documents and artifacts, art and visual culture. Dr. Nelson has made ground-breaking contributions to the fields of the Visual Culture of Slavery, Race and Representation, Black Canadian Studies, and African Canadian Art History. To date she has published seven books including the edited volumes:  Racism Eh?: A Critical Inter-Disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada (2004), Ebony Roots, Northern Soil: Perspectives on Blackness in Canada (2010), Legacies Denied: Unearthing the Visual Culture of Canadian Slavery (2013), and Towards an African Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance (2018). Her single-authored books include: The Color of Stone: Sculpting the Black Female Subject in Nineteenth-Century America (2007), Representing the Black Female Subject in Western Art, (2010), and Slavery, Geography, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica (2016).


For more information, please contact:


The seminars are only available to the Princeton University students, faculty, and staff.

To enroll in the seminar, please complete the registration form.


Event Type
Faculty-Graduate Seminar
Event Category
AAS Events