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BHM Student Work Feature: "Reflections on African American Experiences" by Ilina Nikolovska

In honour of Black History Month, the Department of History is featuring undergraduate student research that addresses Black histories, Black cultures, and Black experiences. Throughout the month of February, we will post the eight essays deemed to be the strongest of the many exceptional projects we received during our open submission call. We hope you enjoy reading our students’ work.

The Selection Committee would like to thank all of those who submitted their work for consideration.

Our fourth selection for the Student Research Showcase is a series of reflections written by Ilina Nikolovksa in the second-year History course, HIST 275: The African American Experience.

Ilina's reflections are based purely in external research. Her piece explores the following topics: emancipation and its limits, the ubiquity of white power in the segregated South, the intersection of race and gender, the relationship of race and nationality in a nation that refuses to protect racialized individuals, the effects of drug criminalization on predominantly Black (and Latino) neighbourhoods, and the multiplicity of Black identities. Some of these topics, such as white power, intersectionality, and identity, are recurring themes that play out in multiple reflections.

As Ilina explains,

This work specifically spans African American history from 1863, when Lincoln’s government passed the Emancipation Proclamation, through to 1993, when Stuart Hall’s article [“What Is This ‘Black’ in Black Popular Culture?"] ... was published. [My work] aims to better understand the complex experiences of African Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and to appreciate the work of Black activists like Amy Jacques Garvey and Malcolm X ... [W]hile this work focuses exclusively on the ways in which anti-Black racism has affected African Americans, it also offers insight into the experiences of African Canadians in that no racist sentiments exist purely within one set of borders.

Ilina is a second-year student at Queen's University.

Read Ilina's complete reflections here


Ilina Nikolovska

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6


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Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.