Charmaine A. Nelson – Examining the Canadian Fugitive Slave Archive

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5 à 7
October 1, 2019
Time: 5:00-7:00pm

Feminist Media Studio 
CJ Building, Room 2.130

Concordia University 
7141 Sherbrooke W 
Montreal, QC 

The scholarship on transatlantic slavery has long benefited from the often-exhaustive data published in the fugitive slave archive. Ubiquitous throughout the transatlantic world, fugitive slave advertisements were commonly placed by slave owners seeking to recapture enslaved people who had fled. Such notices commonly provided specific, invasive detail about an enslaved person’s body, dress, skills, languages, and even gestures and mannerisms. However, enslaved females standardly comprised a smaller number of runaways. Nevertheless, the fugitive notices that do exist for female runaways shed light on their lives and experiences. Through an examination of the fugitive slave archive and other sources, this paper seeks to fill some of the scholarly gaps on the experiences of enslaved females of African descent in Canada. More specifically, this paper will offer some distinctions between the lives and experiences of enslaved females in slave minority (temperate) and slave majority (tropical) sites in the British transatlantic world.  

Beverly Seckinger is a Professor in the School of Theatre, Film & Television, an accomplished documentary filmmaker and an expert in documentary and social impact.  She is a founding member of the UA Institute for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, and since 1993 has directed the annual Lesbian Looks Film Series. Beverly is an active member of New Day Films, the leading filmmaker-owned distribution company for social issue documentaries in the U.S.  Her most recent film, Hippie Family Values, is a feature-length documentary about three generations at a back-to-the-land community in rural New Mexico. Her 2004 diary/documentary Laramie Inside Out, addresses the aftermath of Matthew Shepard’s 1998 murder in her hometown community. She teaches Advancing Human Rights through Documentary Media for the UA’s online graduate program in Human Rights Practice.  


Charmaine A. Nelson is a Professor of Art History at 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 has published seven books including Slavery, Geography, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica (2016), and Towards an African Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance (2018). Her media work includes CBC, BBC One, PBS, Huffington Post Canada, and The Walrus. Most recently, she was the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University (2017-2018).  

The Speaker Series provides a forum for informal encounters among members of the Feminist Media Studio and the community. It consists of presentations, conversations, or critique seminars by visiting scholars, artists and activists, presentations by Studio members of work in progress (both textual and media-based), and discussions around themes that link the practices and commitments of the Feminist Media Studio community. A common theme of the Speaker Series consists in exploring the intersections of research, creation, and political engagement in feminist work (historically, and in our current efforts to articulate our research praxes, collectively).