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Charmaine Nelson, Slavery, Geography and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica, London, 2016

Birkeli, Helene; (2019) Charmaine Nelson, Slavery, Geography and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica, London, 2016. [Review]. Object , 20 (20) pp. 101-103. Green open access

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Abstract

Caribbean plantation landscapes have primarily been staged in art historical studies as ‘unique’ sites of troubled artistic negotiations between European notions of the picturesque, and slippages of the reality of enslaved labour and creole culture. Charmaine Nelson reframes these landscapes, by reading together two geographically remote locations, Montreal and Jamaica, as intertwined through colonial authority, trade and the movement of people. She argues that the ideological and visual processes of ‘landscaping’ these localities operated under the same strategies of ‘whiteness,’ nonetheless with different interested outcomes, made legible in various media such as paintings, aquatints and drawings. The urgency she places on this material is clear, as she asks: ‘how do landscape representations produce ways of knowing that are dangerous for how they have naturalized Western understandings of land as universal?’ Her inclusion of Northern locations to the colonial and slave holding imaginary is significant, and arguably opens the field to cross-comparisons also between Europe and the Caribbean. This review asks whether Nelson’s book overstates the ideological homogeneity and coherence of these visual practices and suggests that a closer attention to cartography would make explicit her invocation of geography.

Type: Article
Title: Charmaine Nelson, Slavery, Geography and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica, London, 2016
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: ©2018, The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Caribbean, Visual culture of slavery, Landscapes, Jamaica, Québec, West Indies, Imperialism in art, Geography in art
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of History of Art
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066229
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