Picture of James Walker

James Walker is Professor of History at the University of Waterloo, where he specializes in the history of human rights and race relations. In 2003-2004, he was the Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research, in 2013 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2016 he became a Member of the Order of Canada. He has written five books and co-edited another, and he has published numerous articles and book chapters analysing campaigns for human rights reform.

In the 1960s he served as a CUSO volunteer with a Gandhian association in India, engaging in community development projects. As a student in Toronto, he participated in the local support group for the US civil rights movement (“Friends of SNCC”), and later as a graduate student in Halifax he was a founder and teacher in the Transition Year Program for African-Canadian and First Nations students at Dalhousie University.

Returning to Ontario, he was a founder and long-time board member of the Global Community Centre of Kitchener-Waterloo, and has served on the boards of several NGOs with an international focus including CUSO and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. He is currently working on a book to be entitled “Look Over Jordan: The Canadian Journey Toward Racial Equality.”

Academic / Professional Awards

  • Member of the Order of Canada, 2016
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, elected 2013.
  • Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights, 2003-2004.
  • Professor, History
  • University of Waterloo

  • Office: HH 112 (UW)

  • (519) 888-4567 | Ext. 33706

  • PhD, History, Dalhousie University, 1973
  • MA, History, University of Waterloo, 1967
  • BA, History, University of Toronto, 1962


  • Walker, James and Burnley Jones. 2016. “Burnley “Rocky” Jones, Revolutionary“. Fernwood Press.
  • Walker, James. 2013. “Decoding the Rights Revolution: Lessons from the Canadian Experience”. Taking Liberties. A History of Human Rights in Canada. Edited by Stephen Heathorn and David Goutor. Oxford University Press.
  • Walker, James. 2012. “Black Confrontation in 1960s Halifax”. Debating Dissent. Canada in the 1960s. Edited by Greg Kealey et al. University of Toronto Press.
  • Walker, James. 2012. “A Black Day in Court: ‘Race’ and Judging in R v RDS”. The African-Canadian Legal Odyssey. Edited by Barrington Walker. Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and University of Toronto Press.
  • Walker, James. 2012. “Claiming Equality for Canadian Jewry: The Struggle for Inclusion 1930-1945”. Nazi Germany – Canadian Responses. Edited by Ruth Klein. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Walker, James and Andrew Thompson. 2008. “Critical Mass: The Emergence of Global Civil Society“. Centre for International Governance Innovation and Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • Walker, James. 1997. ““Race,” Rights and the Law in the Supreme Court of Canada“. Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • Walker, James. 1992. “The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone“. 2nd edition. University of Toronto Press.

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