Monday, 25 February 2013

CfP: Little Britain's Memory of Slavery

Little Britain’s Memory of Slavery: The local nuances of a ‘national sin’ 

A partnership conference organised between University College London, 
University of York and the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery 
and Emancipation (WISE) Hull 

UCL, London September 13th and 14th 2013

Keynote Speakers: Catherine Hall (UCL), Madge Dresser (UWE)
Plus ‘Artists in conversation’ interview session chaired by Professor Alan Rice (UCLAN)
Welcome Address from Professor John Oldfield (WISE, University of Hull)

Call for Papers

In recent years there has been an explosion of interest around the history
of the transatlantic slave trade fuelled largely by public, academic
and institutional activities and projects undertaken for the national
marking of 2007 as the Bicentenary of the Abolition Act in Britain.
Alongside this there has been a greatly heightened academic and
scholarly consideration of the way Britain has remembered this
history through museum exhibitions, memorialisation and cultural
representations in media, film and literature. Further large scale
research initiatives have been set in motion to assess and explore
the legacies of this history such as the ESRC funded Legacies of
British Slavery Project at UCL and the recently initiated European-wide
project combining genetics, archaeology and public history (EUROTAST).
Numerous postgraduate and early career researchers across the country
have also embarked upon individual projects of their own in a variety of
disciplines across the humanities, including the organisers of this conference.
Much of the research currently being done is turning away from the national
picture and increasingly focusing on the smaller scale specifics of British
involvement in transatlantic slavery, on the memory and legacies of individual
people and places in their specific contexts and we are honoured to welcome
some of the people pioneering these research strands from Catherine Hall’s
work on nineteenth century biography, Alan Rice’s research into Lancaster’s
memorial project, and Madge Dresser’s consideration of Bristol’s ‘obscured’
links to its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

This two day conference aims to facilitate a dialogue across institutions, disciplines
and subject areas between people whose work addresses the smaller-scale specifics
of Britain’s memory of slavery in more ‘local’ projects,
looking at case studies of places, the lives and memory of individuals,
networks and organisations across a broad span of time, from the 18th century
to the present day. Through this intellectual exchange we aim to correlate
the micro with the macro and probe the extent to which the literature on
Britain’s national memory of slavery holds true for more nuanced case
studies and specific research currently being carried out. The dialogue will
thereby explore the interactions of 'levels of memory' in relation to this
history whilst giving focus to individual and local agency and aiding a more
complex understanding of the workings of memory in line with history.

 Potential panel areas could cover though are by no means limited to:
 • People and memory: enslaved and free black people living in Britain,
black and white abolitionists in Britain and their contexts; merchants and
the legacies of individual and family wealth; politicians (pro and anti-slavery),
historians and authors – writing slavery, artists and performers – contesting
and creatively engaging with memory
• Place and memory: towns and cities - the urban landscape of slavery
memory; ports and the ‘maritimization’ of slavery; country houses and the
elaborate display of excessive wealth; parks and gardens – open public spaces;
local art exhibitions and artist interventions; walking tours and history trails
• Organisations and Networks: public and private institutions (schools,
banks, high culture) and remembered/forgotten connections; charitable
organisations and people – the paradox of philanthropy; religious
organisations and campaigning
• Memory Work: local museums, galleries and the exhibition of memory;
local memorials – creating tangible memory; heritage projects and the communal
• Education: teaching slavery in schools, informal learning and adult
 • Engaging with communities and conducting outreach: token gestures or
meaningful encounters?
• Reparations, social justice and apologies: where are we now?
• The (contemporary) slavery question: the drive to highlight
contemporary global human rights abuses –natural succession or diversion tactic?

Papers are invited from postgraduate students, early career researchers, established academics and independent researchers from any discipline including History, English, Museology, Archaeology, Heritage, Geography, Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Women’s Studies, Film, Theatre and History of Art.

Please send abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers along with a 50 word biography to the organisers: Kate Donington, Jessica Moody and Ryan Hanley via email by May 31st 2013.

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