Events

Legacies of the Slave Past in the Post-Slave Present

General Programming

Cosponsors
  • Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • The Advanced Research Collaborative at City University of New York

Several years ago, Catherine Hall, Nick Draper, and Keith McClelland launched a project at University College, London, on the “Legacies of British Slave Ownership.” The project sought to document the impact of slave ownership on the formation of modern Britain. Phase one involved building a searchable, publicly accessible, database containing the identity of all slave-owners in the British Caribbean, Mauritius, and the Cape at the time of slave abolition in 1833. The recently published book, Legacies of British Slave-Ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain (2014), is a collaborative work based on this phase. In phase two the researchers are now inquiring into the structure and significance of slave ownership in the British Caribbean between 1763 and 1833.

This is a timely and enormously instructive research project, with wide implications for rethinking the present of past slaving and slave societies. It is timely inasmuch as it converges with the re-emergence of serious scholarly and public discussion (in the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States) about the long aftermaths of New World slavery in terms of the question of the repair of that historical injustice. It is instructive partly because it demonstrates the possibility of detailing the scale of value placed on slaves at the time of abolition, but also because, in excavating the pathways of capitalist financial interests in slavery (both state and private) it points to possible ways of articulating a contemporary counter-veiling reparatory claim—a material claim about justice for the descendants of the enslaved.

This event is free and open to the public -- seats are first come, first served -- and will take place over two days. The first October 1 afternoon discussion with Catherine Hall will take place at the Skylight Room, 9th floor, of CUNY Graduate Center.The October 2 one-day symposium will take place at the Heyman Center Common Room, Second Floor. (Please note the location change of the October 2 symposium, which was previously to be held in the Held Lecture Hall, Barnard College.)

Program

October 1, 2015  Thursday

4:15pm - 4:30pm EDT

Introductions

4:30pm - 6:00pm EDT

Legacies of the Slave Past in the Post-Slave Present

Catherine Hall

Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History

University College London

October 2, 2015  Friday

9:15am - 9:30am EDT

Welcome/Introductions

9:30am - 10:00am EDT

Opening Remarks

David Scott

Professor of Anthropology

Columbia University

Herman Bennett

Professor of History

Graduate Center, City University of New York

10:00am - 11:00am EDT

Demographic Logics and Colonial Encounters: Numeracy and Race in the Seventeenth-Century English Atlantic

Jennifer Morgan

Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History

New York University

11:00am - 12:00am EDT

Capitalism and Slavery

Sven Beckert

Laird Bell Professor of History

Harvard University

12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT

Three Theses on Atlantic Slavery and the Antinomies of Britishness

Kathleen Wilson

Professor of History

State University of New York, Stony Brook

1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT

Lunch Break

2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT

Antigua: Periphery in the Empire, Shadow in the Archive

Natasha Lightfoot

Assistant Professor of History

Columbia University

3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT

'This Mess of a Colonial Legacy': Indigeneity, Restorative Justice and the Caribbean Community

Melanie Newton

Associate Professor

University of Toronto

4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT

Slavery, Emancipation and the Organization of Inherited Inequality

Richard Drayton

Rhodes Professor of Imperial History

King's College London

5:00pm - 6:00pm EDT

Closing Engagement

Nick Draper

Research Associate

University College, London

Participants
  • Sven Beckert Laird Bell Professor of History Harvard University
  • Herman Bennett Professor of History Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Nick Draper Research Associate University College, London
  • Richard Drayton Rhodes Professor of Imperial History King's College London
  • Catherine Hall Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History University College London
  • Natasha Lightfoot Assistant Professor of History Columbia University
  • Jennifer Morgan Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History New York University
  • Melanie Newton Associate Professor University of Toronto
  • Donald Robotham Professor of Anthropology City University of New York, Graduate Center
  • David Scott Professor of Anthropology Columbia University
  • Kathleen Wilson Professor of History State University of New York, Stony Brook