As McGill prepares to celebrate its Bicentennial - 200 years filled with innovation and excellence - it is also an important moment for the University to reflect critically on some troubling elements of its past by confronting its historical connection to the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism. In response, Provost and Vice-Principal Academic Professor Christopher Manfredi established the Provostial Research Scholars in Institutional Histories, Slavery, and Colonialism. Melissa N. Shaw and Joana Joachim have been selected as the postdoctoral research scholars whose projects will serve as an important way for the University to critically understand its past.
Melissa N. Shaw is currently completing her PhD in History at Queen’s University. In August, she will start preliminary archival work to assess how Blackness, Indigeneity and whiteness informed McGill’s development from the 1800s into the twentieth century. As a scholar of Black Canadian history, Shaw is deeply concerned with the role of historical contingency when dealing with weaponized racial identities.
Joana Joachim holds a PhD from the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University. In the fall, she will begin research to better understand the lives led by the women enslaved in the James McGill household, an approach she hopes will deepen our knowledge of how Canadian slavery and Black-Indigenous relationships can serve towards anti-racist and decolonial work in contemporary society.