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Abolitionism and the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

General Programming

  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Columbia Maison Française
  • Center for Ethnomusicology
  • Department of Music at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Royal Musical Association
  • Music & Letters
  • Department of Music
  • University Seminar in Eighteenth-Century European Culture
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Drawing of violin and open music book

Opposition to slavery and the slave trade permeated the art worlds of literature, music, and visual art in the long eighteenth century. Europeans and Americans composed poetic critiques of the slave trade, sang songs of sympathy for enslaved people, and engraved images that asserted the common humanity of Africans and Europeans. This interdisciplinary symposium brings together musicologists, literary and theater scholars, art historians, and historians to think through the connections between the arts and the history of abolitionism in the Atlantic world. The symposium will feature opening remarks by Atesede Makonnen (literature, Columbia University), two interdisciplinary panels of read papers, and a plenary dialogue between Adrienne Childs (art history, The Phillips Collection) and Patricia A. Matthew (literature, Montclair State University). The day will conclude with a concert of rarely-heard abolitionist songs from the long eighteenth century performed by Awet Andemicael (soprano, Yale University) and Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (piano, Columbia University). Please visit the full conference website for more information.

10:00am – 5:00pm Interdisciplinary Symposium at the Heyman Center
5:30pm Concert at the Maison Française (Register here)