We announce this call for papers at a profound and troubling moment in American life and politics. Persistent structural inequalities remain acute within healthcare, education, housing and the deeply discriminatory criminal justice system; while the M4BL has emphasized that the vulnerability of the black body remains at the very heart of the African- American experience. Historians now see the deep roots of these problems in slavery’s racialized discrimination and violent exploitation, and have recognised that the history of slavery cannot be told without taking into consideration the long and ongoing process of black emancipation. We invite researchers (postgraduate and established academics) from any discipline, as well as writers, artists and other creatives to participate in a one day workshop that aims to open up new ways of thinking about slavery and telling its many important, yet untold stories.
We invite papers that demonstrate how new theories and ways of working can provide scholars with the tools to achieve a deeper understanding of slavery’s past and long-lasting legacies, and encourage new, creative and interdisciplinary ways of communicating slavery’s experiences, impact, and overall cultural significance.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
Black Lives Matter -- How has the M4BL affected scholarship and popular interest in slavery? What can scholars learn from the practices of M4BL activists, and how can they support this vital activism?
Cultural production as history, memory and witness -- What can academic historians learn about the continuing collective trauma of U.S. slavery from modern day representations in art, poetry, music and film?
Communicating slavery -- What challenges are faced when communicating slavery’s experiences, impact and cultural significance with a broader audience? How can we overcome these, and what new approaches can be used?
Emotions and trauma -- How can attention to emotional content and form in testimonies of the enslaved and enslavers deepen our understanding of the slave system and how it was experienced?
Violence and slavery -- How can a finer-grained study of violence shed new light on the enslaved experience of violence, the mind-sets of enslavers and their accomplices, and the counter-violence and resistance practices of enslaved peoples?
Sources and archives -- What new types of evidence are available to scholars of slavery? What conceptual tools could allow historians and others to draw updated conclusions from often-cited source sets? How do slavery’s archives enable, complicate, or inhibit the exploration of untold stories of the enslaved?
Please send a proposal of no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org and B.Wilson5@liverpool.ac.uk by July 17th 2017. This event will be held at the University of Liverpool, with support from the Royal Historical Society and the Centre for the Study of International Slavery. Limited travel bursaries are available to UK-based postgraduate students.