Rethinking Slavery in the 21st Century: Images and Archives

Date: November 10, 2016 -November 11, 2016
Time: 5:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall - C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse

Rethinking Slavery in the 21st Century:  Images and Archives


This one and half-day symposium will examine the archival and popular representation of chattel slavery, as altered by the cultural and technological transformations of the 21st century. Scholars will explore the histories and legacies of slavery in the Atlantic world, as they occur in art, film, literature, legal records, museums, social interaction, and technology.  Our goal is to think across methodological approaches to slavery in order to clarify the exigencies and demands for continued investigation of the bondsperson’s experiences and the cultural significance of slavery.



5:00 – 6:00


  • Opening Remarks, Mark Anthony Neal, Professor of African & African American Studies, Founder and Faculty Director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE), Duke University


  • Speaker Introduction, Laurent Dubois, Professor of Romance Studies and History, Founder and Faculty Director of the Forum Forum for Scholars and Publics, Duke University


  • Keynote Lecture, "Slavery’s History in the Age of the Database: Interface Design for Corrupted Files," Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University


6:15 – 7:00                              Reception



9:00 – 10:00                            Breakfast


10:00 – 12:00                           Panel I


Slavery, Sex & Gender:  Research in the 21st Century

  • "Black Freedom and the Paradoxes of White Supremacy in Pre- Emancipation Brazil," Lamonte Aidoo, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor, Duke University


  • "La Traversée: Free/Black/Female Crossings in a World of Atlantic Slavery," Jessica Marie Johnson, Assistant Professor, John Hopkins University


  • "Class Awareness in Antebellum Slave Narratives," William Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill



12:00 – 1:30                            Lunch/Book Sales


1:30 – 3:30                              Panel II


Representing Slavery

  • "Cinema’s Peculiar Institution," Ellen Scott, Associate Professor, Director and Chair, Moving Image Archives Studies, UCLA


  • "Scenes in the Hold: Roots and the Middle Passage," Matthew Delmont, Professor, Arizona State University


  • "Through the African American Lens: (Re)Interpreting Images of Slavery for the National Museum of African American History and Culture," Mary Elliot, Museum Specialist, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture


  • Chair, I. Augustus Durham, English Department, Duke University


3:30 – 3:45

  • Closing Remarks, Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Assistant Professor, Department of African & African American Studies and Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University



Location:  All events are scheduled for Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall

Sponsors:  African and African American Studies (AAAS), Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Forum for Scholars and Publics, and Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI)