CfP: Histories from a Shared Past – a transatlantic lecture series, January 20-27, 2017

Niklas Thode Jensen's picture

Call for Papers: Histories from a Shared Past – a transatlantic lecture series

Deadline for proposals:     January 15, 2016

Venues:                               St. Croix and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, January 20-27, 2017

                                            Copenhagen, Denmark, June 10-17, 2017

The Danish West Indian Society (DWIS) in collaboration with the Friends of Denmark (FOD) in St. Croix, St. Thomas & St. John invites paper proposals for a transatlantic lecture series to be held in January and June, 2017. The series will be held in celebration of the centennial of the transfer in 1917 of the islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John, the former Danish West Indies, from Denmark to the United States of America. The series is partially funded by the Solar Foundation, Denmark, the DWIS and the FOD.

The temporal and spatial frame of the lecture series is the history of the US Virgin Islands from the time of the arrival of the first people until today. As indicated by the title, “Histories from a Shared Past”, the main thematic focus within this frame is on what is shared, i.e. the relations, connections and exchanges, between people, ideas and objects in the islands and in other geographical spaces on a regional, Atlantic or global scale.

We welcome proposals that explore the possibilities of this thematic focus. The following list is intended as an inspiration and is not exhaustive:

  • The material lives of people in the Virgin Islands: connections to regional and global patterns of trade and consumption.
  • Perceptions of Nature: connected ideas of Tropical Edens, colonies of disease and environmental degradation.
  • Voices of Slavery: the mobility of enslaved people and ideas of rights in a society of control.
  • Negotiating Citizenship: crossing borders of race, class and locality in search of new possibilities.
  • Gender and Family: migration patterns with social and emotional consequences.
  • Languages and Religion: forming identities in a society of creoles and syncretisms.

We encourage proposals not only from historians but also from researchers of other disciplines such as ethnologists (ethnographers), anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, social scientists etc.

The lecture series will consist of eight lectures of 45 minutes each (30 minutes for presentation + 15 minutes for questions from the audience). The series of lectures will be repeated in three locations on both sides of the Atlantic: first on St. Croix and St. Thomas, and then in Copenhagen. The same roster of papers will be given at all three venues. The eight presenters will be selected from the submitted proposals to represent both sides of the Atlantic: four from the western hemisphere and four from the eastern. Selected presenters will sign a contract that they will participate in all three venues.

The organizers will cover the presenters’ expenses for economy flights to and from the US Virgin Islands/Copenhagen to a maximum of 900 US Dollars (800 Euro, 6000 DKK) per person plus all expenses for meals and local transport in the USVI and Denmark. Accommodation will be arranged with members of the DWIS and the FOD.

Papers must be written and presented in English and must be illustrated with a power point presentation or equivalent. As the presentations will be digitally recorded and uploaded on the internet, the selected presenters will sign a waiver that they agree to be recorded and that their presentations will be broadcasted only for educational purposes, without financial remuneration expected from the presenters or the sponsors.

Proposals, consisting of a paper abstract (no more than 400 words) and a short biography (no more than 200 words), should be submitted to one of the coordinators no later than Friday January 15, 2016. Candidates will be selected by a panel of scholars selected by DWIS and FOD. We will respond to proposals by mid-April 2016.

For more information, please contact:

Elizabeth Rezende, FOD St. Croix, Coordinator in the US Virgin Islands,


The Culture Committee, DWIS, Coordinator in Denmark,