The work of Afua Cooper, the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies

…It’s been a little more than three years now since Dr. Cooper took over the James R. Johnston (JRJ) Chair, which was first established in the 1990s. Prior to her arrival, the chair was dormant for four years after its occupant, David Divine, had to step down following a serious motor vehicle accident.

Dr. Cooper, a historian, poet, and creative writer whose research focuses on slavery and the abolitionist movement in Canada and beyond, was tasked with reanimating the chair’s mandate, which encompasses teaching, research and public outreach.

“This is the only Black Studies chair in all of Canada, and it’s a national chair,” she explains. “It’s important because it recognizes the significance of Black Canadians — their history and their culture. And that history begins here in Nova Scotia in the early 17th century.

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