Student Profiles

Amina Doherty

Years at McGill: 2002 - 2006
McGill Degree: BA Political Science & Women's Studies
McGill Dissertation: "Assessing the Impacts of the Global Gag Rule on Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights Funding"
LSE Dissertation: «The Geopolitics of Difference & Postmodern Possibilities: Caribbean Feminist Inflections.»

Amina is a creative writer and women's rights advocate. She holds a BA in Political Science & Women's Studies from McGill University and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics. Her research interests include feminist theory, critical geopolitics and social justice philanthropy. She is passionate about music, art, fashion and culture and has worked as a freelance writer for several magazines. Amina has worked as a programme officer at the Sigrid Rausing Trust in the women's rights grant-making programme, and has also worked with the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda where she conducted research for the national report to CEDAW, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) and the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA). She has interned with several organisations including the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington D.C., and the London-based creative network Arts & Business. Amina has lived and studied in West Africa, the Caribbean, Canada and currently lives in the United Kingdom.

“I worked most closely with Professor Nelson during my last two years at McGill. As a professor she was tough but she always pushed me to engage at a much deeper level and consistently think 'outside of the box.' Her classes were always the most interesting and I especially valued her use of music, real life experience, and visual art to add life and meaning to the content we were studying. As an advisor she was dedicated and genuinely invested in my success. Even after I left McGill she has remained in touch and continues to inspire and encourage me to reach for the stars! Professor Nelson is so much more than an Educator to me - she has become a role model and a friend.”

Daisy Charles

Daisy completed an undergraduate degree in Art History and French Language and Literature at McGill, graduating in 2013. The courses she took with Charmaine Nelson were essential, introducing her to issues of colonialism and transatlantic slavery that had been systematically left out of her high school education in the UK. Daisy published "Manifestations of the Minstrel: From Jim Crow to Flavor Flav" in Canvas (2012), the McGill undergraduate student art history journal. A comparison of the traditional minstrel show and modern reality television, the paper was developed from work that Daisy completed in Charmaine's class on the representation of the black subject in Western film and television.In 2013, Daisy was one of sixteen students who worked with Charmaine on Legacies Denied: Unearthing the Visual Culture of Canadian Slavery, a curatorial and book project developed out of a research seminar. Daisy now works as an assistant with McGill's Visual Arts Collection. Displayed in every building on campus rather than a museum, the collection provides an interesting curatorial challenge.

"I am incredibly grateful to Charmaine for teaching me to critique and engage with all types of media in new and rewarding ways. Had I not met Charmaine, I would see the world with my eyes not quite fully open."

Emma Bardes

Emma Bettman Bardes graduated from McGill University in 2013 with a Major in Classical Studies and Minors in Art History and Religious Studies.   During her undergraduate studies, her primary concentration was on Ancient Greek Language and History with a research emphasis on the development of national identity and inter-state interactions.  She is particularly interested in the way in which social constructions affect peace and conflict on a global scale.  While at McGill, Emma served the Arts Undergraduate Senate as Financial Officer for the Classics’ Student Association and was also involved in numerous research positions, including her publication in Legacies Denied: Unearthing the Visual Culture of Canadian Slavery (2013).  Born and raised in New York City, Emma is currently completing a term of National Service in Philadelphia, where she is working as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service and Global Citizen.  In this capacity, she helps connect City agencies, community groups and non-profit organizations with volunteers, particularly for issues relating to anti-poverty efforts as well as veterans resources.

"I had the great fortune of enrolling in one of Charmaine’s classes, 'Canadian Slavery and its Legacies: a Curatorial Seminar,' in my final semester as an undergraduate at McGill University.  The course was challenging in every way, but also extremely rewarding.  Charmaine is a true educator, providing a safe and responsible environment for probing dialogue, meaningful engagement with source material, and intense research.   She has an uncanny ability to transform her students, helping them grow simultaneously into critical scholars and responsible citizens."


Emma Doubt

Emma Doubt completed a Masters of Art History in June 2010. Supervised by Professor Nelson, she undertook a course of study geared towards contemporary art and postcolonial studies, with seminars including Landscape and Empire, Visual Culture and Representation, and Critical Issues in Contemporary Art I & II. She also undertook an independent research project with Professor Nelson, in which she looked closely at the exhibition politics of contemporary First Nations art. The final thesis paper she completed was entitled «The Veil and Me: Contemporary Interventions into Single Politics Feminism, and the Moving Self-Portraits of Ghazel», and used a close study of divergent feminist discourses to examine the 2003 British exhibition Veil: Veiling, Representation, and Contemporary Art, with special focus on the video work of artist Ghazel. Professor Nelson's expertise in feminist and postcolonial studies, as well as her background in curatorial practice made her an exceptional supervisor for the various research projects undertaken throughout the course of the degree.

Emma is now living in London, UK and working at Hauser & Wirth London.

Katya Isaev

Master's in Art History (2008-2010) with thesis titled "Slave Banjo Music: Colonial Constructs and Resistive Identity in Visual Culture."

Bio: Originally from Belarus, I have lived in Savannah, Georgia since 1993 and received a Bachelor's in Liberal Arts (Concentration in Art History and Studio Art) in 2007 from Armstrong Atlantic State University. During my time at McGill, under the tutelage of Charmaine Nelson, and attendance at international conferences/seminars, I have become increasingly interested in decolonialism, critical race theory, and visual culture of slavery. While currently residing in Philadelphia, I am carefully planning my next life step.

“In my first semester as a grad student at McGill, I registered for Dr. Nelson's seminar titled "Landscape and Empire" and was unsure of what to expect. After the first class, I knew I was in good hands! Right away, Dr. Nelson made it a point to make a safe place within the seminar room for insightful discussion and debate. For two years, I had the privilege of working under her tutelage. My experience at McGill was greatly enriched by Dr. Nelson's incessant positive energy, encouragement, and guidance. She is truly inspirational!”

Kristin Moriah

I am currently a Ph.D. student in English Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. My current areas of interest are African American drama and Nineteenth Century American literature. My work has appeared in the University of Leicester's Peer English and Callaloo. I am currently editing a collection of essays on black American writers and the leftist movement for Cambridge Scholars Press. I teach first year composition at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.

I graduated from the M.A. program in English at McGill University in 2007. I actually worked with Charmaine Nelson when I was an undergrad at the University of Western Ontario, before she moved to McGill. I graduated from Western in 2003 with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in English and Comparative Literature. That year, I took an independent study course with Charmaine Nelson in the department of Visual Arts entitled "Race and Representation". I was a literature student at the time, but I was very interested in learning more about race and representation in visual culture. Charmaine was the only person I knew who was working in that area and who was willing to take the time to work me through an independent study course. I wrote a paper for her on Kara Walker. That paper, "Figuring Blackness: Kara Walker's Subversive Silhouettes," was published in McGill University's Hotel Critical Review, an undergraduate journal. I continue to work on issues of race and representation in my current studies.

“Charmaine Nelson was one of a handful of professors at Western who encouraged me to apply to graduate school. Prof. Nelson has written several letters of recommendation for me and has acted as a mentor on many occasions. She was one of my referees for both the M.A. program in English at McGill and the Ph.D. program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. I admire her academic work and the role she has taken in encouraging students of colour to explore their academic interests. She is an inspiring teacher and has already had an impact on Canadian academe as a scholar and a mentor.”

Kyle Lawrence Vaughan Balderston


  • M.A. Art History, McGill University, Montreal, Year 2010.
  • B.A. cum laude, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS, 2003

Academic Awards and Fellowships:

  • Principal's Graduate Fellowship, McGill University, Montreal, 2010
  • Provost's Graduate Fellowship, McGill University, Montreal, 2010
  • ARIA (Arts Research Internship Award), McGill University, Montreal, 2010
  • President's Hall of Academic Excellence, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS, 2003

About Me:

After my first degree, I had a successful career in business management, most recently employed as a Sales Director with the luxury jeweler Birks & Mayors Inc., in Halifax, NS, and Montreal, QC. In my professional life, I had many talented colleagues, and while employed with Birks in Montreal, I was inspired by observing Canadian artisans working in the medium of precious metals, and in a prestigious milieu, to formally pursue my interest in the ethos of this production, through the study of Art History. By reputation, and through personal recommendation, the Art History and Communication Studies department of McGill University was the obvious place to foster a critical, multi- disciplinary appreciation of Canadian art, compatible with my previous education in Canadian Literature.

I am excited to be working with Dr. Charmaine Nelson, whose expert work in the intersecting spheres of Post-Colonial and Slavery studies, is assisting me in the deconstruction, and reinterpretation of both lionized Canadian artistic icons, and the integration of relatively unknown producers and previously unconsidered mediums, into the Canadian artistic canon. My current work is centered on the role of tourism in the formation of Canadian national identity.

I would like to thank Enza De Meo, Charmaine Nelson, and Nicolas Brochu for their enthusiastic support in the pursuit of my exciting venture.

“Classes with Dr. Nelson were focused and result-driven. In 2009/2010, I took both of her popular undergraduate courses, "Oh Canada!: Nation, Art and Cultural Politics, and "The Visual Culture of Slavery," in classrooms packed beyond capacity. Despite the lecture format and our swelled numbers, every student was favoured with personal attention, and encouraged to be interactive. This was easily accomplished because Dr. Nelson's lectures were delivered with passion. She stratified class materials with relevant current events and shared new developments in her ongoing research, so student engagement was guaranteed.

Interesting and exciting, her courses were also highly practical. In each, there was an assignment based on creative resource and research development, which I have continued to apply in all of my courses and current work. Dr. Nelson teaches her students to look between required texts and traditional academic resources, to discover and illuminate the threads of new discourses.

Through example and encouragement, Dr. Charmaine Nelson enlivens the study of Canadian Art History. ”

Maisie Jacobson

Maisie Jacobson is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts at McGill University with a major in Art History and a minor in Canadian Studies. She will graduate in 2011. She worked on an independent research project and exhibition under the guidance of Professor Nelson in June and July of 2010, entitled «Diana, Joanna, and the Benevolent Female of Colour: Contradictory Representations of Mixed-Race Women in the Colonial Caribbean.» She grew up in Toronto.

“Dr. Nelson was a joy to work with. She not only encouraged us to learn actively in the classroom setting, but challenged us to explore the themes of her courses in relation to the city of Montreal. We visited museums and historical sites in order to engage critically with our surroundings. Dr. Nelson challenged us to think analytically about issues of representation, focusing particularly on race, class, and gender. I admire her sociohistorical and politicized approach to art history. She is an engaging lecturer who connects personally with her students. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to do an independent project with Dr. Nelson. She was warm and supportive of my work, and provided invaluable advice in regards to to my exhibition, as well as my academic future. It was exciting to work with someone so knowledgeable and so inspiring.”

Mariya Paskovsky

Mariya Paskovsky worked for several years as a graphic artist and illustrator. She is currently enrolled at McGill University in her first year of MA in Art History under the supervision of Prof. Charmaine Nelson.

Her main interests are the First Nation's material culture objects and the representation of these culture objects in museums.

“I am endlessly grateful to Charmaine Nelson for her constant support and encouragement. She is a great motivator, and her creativity, passion and dedication are truly inspiring!”

Miriam Aronowicz

I was at McGill from 2002-2006 Honored in Art History and minored in Political Science. Currently I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto Department of Art, and my dissertation is called «The International Artists' Workshop: Contemporary Art and Transnational Production.» My research interests include Modern and Contemporary Art, Art and Globalization, Postcolonialism, Transnationalism, Internationalism and Global Networks. I've been awarded a SSHRC Grant for my studies and am currently teaching at the University of Toronto.

“Professor Nelson sparked my interest in critical art history. She always encouraged us to look beyond the canon and question conventional ways of seeing. Her methodologies and approach continue to inspire the way I write, teach and approach the discipline.”

Nadia Kurd

Nadia Kurd is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Art History at McGill University. Her articles have appeared in a number artist catalogs and publications such as FUSE Magazine, NUKTA Art Journal and Proteus: A Journal of Ideas. Nadia's dissertation, tentatively titled “In Search for Authenticity: The Practice of Islamic Architecture” focuses on the appropriation, practice and application of mosque architecture in Canada and the US.

Formerly the Programming Coordinator for SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Collective), Nadia has a B.F.A. from the University of Ottawa and a Masters in Art History from York University. She is currently the Curator of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery:

I have worked under the guidance of Dr. Charmaine Nelson since 2007. I have greatly benefitted from her considerate feedback and insights on my research and it has helped me grow as an emerging scholar. I have also been able to work alongside Dr. Nelson in the classroom and have observed the knowledge and energy she has imparted onto her students. She has been very supportive of my dissertation and I continue to draw on her work as a respected academic.