Claudine Bonner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Phone: (902) 585-1296

Research Interests

Having a PhD in equity and social justice education, my research focuses on the migration and settlement of people of African descent within the Americas, and explores notions of identity and belonging within the nation state. My doctoral work sought to address the absence of African Canadian historical narratives in the classroom, and looked at the community of North Buxton, Ontario, an African Canadian community settled by people escaping slavery and racial intolerance in the 1840s.

My current research continues to look at the ways in which people of African descent have been actively involved in building the fabric of this nation. I am researching the migration of people from the West Indies to work in the coal mines and steel plants of Cape Breton Island beginning in the late 1890s. The project examines the recruitment, settlement and integration of this group of migrant workers into their new communities.

I am also researching the Number 2 Construction Battalion; in 1916, after a great deal of protest and lobbying on the part of the African Canadian public, the Number 2, Canada’s first and only all-black battalion, was formed. Very few details of the experiences of the members of this unit have been shared publicly, and there is a dearth of archival material documenting their period of service. This study aims to significantly increase available data regarding not only the men of the battalion, their lives, and their experiences, but also the memories of the war from the viewpoints of the women and children left behind.

Selected Publications

Bonner, C. (2014). “A Daughter of Promise – Diary of a Female African-Canadian Teacher in Rondeau, 1907.” In de B’beri, B., Reid-Maroney, N., & Wright, H. Eds. The Promised Land Project: History and Historiography of the Black Experience in Chatham-Kent’s Settlements and Beyond, University of Toronto Press 90-105.

Bonner, C. & Bernard. W. (2013). “Kinship and Community Care.” Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (JMI) 4, 1.

Bonner, C. & Bernard, W. (in press). “Labouring for Change:  Narratives of African-Nova Scotian Women, 1919 – 1990.” In Reid-Maroney, N. (Guest Editor). Women in the Promised Land: New Essays in African Canadian History. African Diaspora Cultural Series. Ottawa: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.