Photo of Shenella Charles

Shenella Charles


Department:Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies


Shenella Charles (she/her) is a Lokono and Afro-Guyanese scholar. She is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Toronto. She received an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Guelph and BA in History from the University of the West Indies.

Her current research explores intersections between histories of Indigeneity and Blackness through discussion of the complex relations between Indigenous peoples, Afro-Guyanese, and Indo-Guyanese; Afro-Indigeneity; and the African diaspora-centered nationalism that emerged in the early decades of Guyana’s independence.

In addition to her research, Charles has taught courses on Caribbean and Latin American History.

Her pedagogy challenges the “paper genocide” of Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean and advocates for histories that illuminates Indigenous experiences and voices. She encourages her students to reflect on their positionality and critically engage with history as present.

Charles is a member of the Great Lakes Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures and has worked with Lokono, Kalina, and Garifuna communities and organizations in the Caribbean. Her work with Indigenous communities and organizations has helped to shape her approach to building global Indigenous solidarities through learning, teaching and activism.