The Lapidus Center inaugural conference, “Reckoning With Slavery: New Directions in the History, Memory, Legacy, and Popular Representations of Enslavement” took place November 16-18 at the Schomburg Center.
On Opening night, Sid Lapidus shared his passion for collecting rare books and the reasons why he decided to give his collection of books and pamphlets pertaining to slavery and the slave trade, as well as $2.5 million, to the Schomburg Center to open a center for the study of the slave trade, slavery and anti-slavery.
David Wheat was awarded the 2017 Harriet Tubman Book Prize for Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640; and the opening session concluded with a fascinating conversation between Lapidus Center Advisors and eminent historians Leslie Harris, Craig Wilder, Chris Brown and Manisha Sinha.
Over the following days, twenty-five scholars from various disciplines shared cutting-edge, brilliant presentations with an enthusiastic audience; and historian Herman L. Bennett offered wide-ranging, insightful closing remarks.
Hundreds of people attended the three-day conference, which got well over 14,000 online views.
View the 5 videos and more photos here
Welcome by Sid Lapidus
Harriet Tubman Prize to David Wheat
Christopher L. Brown, Professor of History, Columbia University
Leslie M. Harris, Professor of History, Northwestern University
Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut
Craig S. Wilder, Barton L. Weller Professor of History, M.I.T.
William B. Hart, Associate Professor of History, Middlebury College:To “construct a virtuous…community in Africa”: Extending the Great Redeemer’s Kingdom through the American Colonization Society
Johanna Ortner, PhD Candidate, University of Massachusetts, Amherst:“I pledged myself to the antislavery cause:” Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and the Abolitionist Lecturing Circuit
Natalie Joy, Assistant Professor of History, Northern Illinois University: The Wronged Red Man”: Indians in the Antislavery Movement
Marcela Echeverri, Assistant Professor of History, Yale University and Celso T. Castilho, Assistant Professor of History, Vanderbilt University: The Spanish American Abolitions and Global Slavery and Antislavery (1810s-1860s)
Chair: Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut
11:10 – 12:40 Civil War and Reconstruction
Kathleen Hilliard, Associate Professor of History, Iowa State University: “Getting by in War and Freedom: Slavery, Entrepreneurship, and the Transformation of Southern Society in the Civil War Era
Ethan J. Kytle, Professor of History, California State University, Fresno: Shaking the Shackles of Slavery: African American Voters and the Memory of Bondage in Reconstruction South Carolina
Robert Colby, PhD Candidate, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Sold “Far Out of the Way of Lincoln”: Profit, Power, and Counterrevolution in the Civil War South
Chair: Martha Hodes, Professor of History, New York University
12:40 – 1:40 Lunch
1:45 – 3:45 Gender and Sexuality
Patrick H. Breen, Associate Professor of History, Providence College: Slave Rape on the Big Screen: History and the Fiction Confront Historical Sexual Exploitation
Anthony A. Lee, Lecturer of African-American History, University of California, Los Angeles: An Enslaved African Woman in Nineteenth-Century Iran: The Life of Ziba Khanum of Yazd
Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History & Gender Studies, Indiana University: Remembering Julia: A Tale of Sex, Race, Power, and Place
Bethan Fisk, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto, Canada: Reforming Bodies: Enslaved Sexualities, the Archive, and the Atlantic Enlightenment
Chair: Jennifer L. Morgan, Chair, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and Department of History, New York University
4:00 – 5:30 Archives
David C. LaFevor, Assistant Professor Latin American History & Digital Humanities, University of Texas at Arlington: Archival Rescue and African Slavery in Cuba
Ikuko Asaka, Assistant Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: From Japan to Luanda: An Unexpected Archive of the Nineteenth-Century African Diaspora
Michael Ferguson, Visiting Scholar, The New School: Legacies of Archival Violence for the Study of African Slavery in the Ottoman Empire
Chair: Philip Misevich, Assistant Professor of History, St. John’s University
10:30 – 12:15 Photography
Matthew Fox-Amato, Assistant Professor of History, University of Idaho: Trading Images: Photography and Family in the Antebellum South
Pedram Khosronejad, Associate Director for Iranian & Persian Gulf Studies, Oklahoma State University: First Ever Digital Photo-Archive of African Slavery in Iran and its Importance for the Field of African Slavery (1840s-1960s)
Aston Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of History, Salisbury University: “Vivid and truthful exhibition[s]”: Black Abolitionists and Their Moving Panoramas of Slavery
Chair: Barbara Krauthamer, Professor of History, Dean of the Graduate School, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1:20- 3:00 In Search of Freedom
Julia Bernier, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for the Study of Slavery at Georgetown University :“Plans for Money-Making. Networking, Capital Accumulation, and Compensated Manumission in the Antebellum United States.”
Marc Adam Hertzman, Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Bird’s Song: Suicide, Flight, and the Afterlives of Quilombos
Gabriel de Avilez Rocha, Assistant Professor of History, Drexel University: Maroons in the Montes: Towards a Political Ecology of Marronage in the Sixteenth-Century Caribbean
Chair: Yuko Miki, Assistant Professor of Iberian Atlantic History, Fordham University
3:15 – 4:45 Public History
Clare Corbould, Australian Research Council Fellow, Senior Lecturer, School of History, Monash University, Australia: History of Slavery, Lost and Found: Uncovering the Work of Ophelia Settle Egypt, Lawrence D. Reddick, and Others
Stacie McCormick, Assistant Professor of English, Texas Christian University: Staging Black Geographies of Slavery in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean
Cheryl Thompson, Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Toronto, Canada: From The Book of Negroes to Uncle Tom’s Cabin: De-mythologizing the Underground Railroad and Canada as a Land of Freedom
Mary Niall Mitchell, Ethel & Herman L. Midlo Endowed Chair in New Orleans Studies, University of New Orleans: Kunta Kinte, Robert E. Lee, and Thousands and Thousands of Fugitives: New Lessons Learned in the Public History of Slavery
Chair: Anthony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory, Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University
4:45-5:00 Closing Remarks
Herman L. Bennett, Professor of History, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
Photographs by William Farrington
Ikuko Asaka is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book, Tropical Freedom: Climate, Settler Colonialism, and Black Exclusion in the Age of Emancipation (Duke University Press), examines the intersections of settler colonialism and emancipation in the eighteenth-and nineteenth-century British and U.S. empires. Her second project explores the nineteenth-century United States as a site that transcended the Atlantic and Pacific worlds by looking at popular representations of and governmental dealings with the 1860 Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States. Her work has come out in the Journal of African American History and American Quarterly.
Gabriel de Avilez Rocha is Assistant Professor of History at Drexel University. A specialist in the social, legal, and environmental history of the early Atlantic world, his book manuscript “Empire from the Commons: Political Ecologies of Colonialism and Slavery in the Early Atlantic” examines how popular struggles over collective resources and shared property contributed to the formation of the Portuguese and Spanish Atlantic empires over the long sixteenth century. His research has received support from the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Commission, the Mellon Foundation, and the Huntington Library. He received his Ph.D. from NYU in 2016.
Herman L. Bennett is a Professor of History at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York, with a particular focus on Latin American history. He has written extensively on the presence of African slaves and freedmen in Mexican society during the colonial period and on the consequent interaction between Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans in colonial Mexico. His books include Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico and Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640. He is completing a new book, Soiled Gods: Africans & Sovereign Power in the Early Atlantic.
Julia Bernier is an African American Studies scholar whose work focuses on slavery and abolition in the United States. She completed her PhD from UMass Amherst in 2017. Her current project, “A Papered Freedom,” is a comprehensive study of self-purchase and compensated manumission in the antebellum United States and works to center the importance of this path to freedom to African American communities.
Anthony Bogues, Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory at Brown University, is the author, notably, of Caliban’s Freedom: The Early Political Thought of C.L.R. James; Black Heretics and Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals; and Empire of Liberty: Power, Freedom and Desire. He is the editor of From Revolution in the Tropics to Imagined Landscapes: the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié. Bogues has curated shows in the United States and South Africa and published numerous essays and articles on the history of criticism, critical theory, political thought, political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history as well as Haitian Art.
Patrick Breen is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Classics at Providence College, where he teaches both history classes and in the Development of Western Civilization Program. His research has focused on the Nat Turner revolt, including notably The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt. Since the publication of this book in 2015, he has been working on public history projects, including helping to create a driving tour of Southampton County, the site of the Nat Turner revolt.
Christopher L. Brown, Professor of History at Columbia University, specializes in the history of eighteenth century Britain, the early modern British Empire, and the comparative history of slavery and abolition, with secondary interests in the age of revolutions and the history of the Atlantic world. He is now at work on two projects, one on British experience along the West African coast in the era of the Atlantic slave trade, and a second on the decline and fall of the British Planter class in the era of abolition and emancipation.
Celso Thomas Castilho is Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University.His research explores the interconnections between the histories of slavery and emancipation and the processes of citizenship, democracy, and intellectual exchange. His book, Slave Emancipation and Transformations in Brazilian Political Citizenship (Pittsburgh, 2016), probes the broad effects of abolition on popular politics and the racial terms of national belonging. His new project analyzes the circulation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Latin America. It examines the story’s different iterations and implications in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Lima, and Buenos Aires to ask larger questions about race, public life, and hemispheric imaginaries in the nineteenth century Atlantic world.
Amrita Chakrabarti Myers is Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at Indiana University. She earned her doctorate in US History from Rutgers University and received a 2017 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, the 2012 Julia Cherry Spruill Book Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians, and the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Building Bridges Award from Indiana University. Her first book, Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston (2011), won four prizes. She is currently completing her second book, Remembering Julia: A Tale of Sex, Race, Power, and Place.
Robert Colby is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His dissertation, “The Continuance of an Unholy Traffic: Slave Trading in the Civil War South” explores the ways in the domestic slave trade influenced the course of the Civil War, particularly emphasizing Southerners’ use of it to mitigate wartime crises and the ways in which continuing slave commerce shaped the course of emancipation for African-Americans.
Clare Corbould is a historian whose 2009 book, Becoming African Americans (Harvard UP) won a Victorian (Australia) Premier’s Literary Award and was a Choice outstanding title of the year. Clare holds a four-year “Future Fellowship” from the Australian Research Council at Monash University’s History program in Melbourne. She is currently working on two projects: a book about interviews with ex-slaves conducted in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s; and, with Michael McDonnell, an account of the memory and legacy of the American Revolution among African Americans.
Sylviane A. Diouf is a historian and the director of the Lapidus Center. Her book Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas was named Outstanding Academic Title. Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America received prizes from the American Historical Association, the Alabama historical Association and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. She is the author of Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons and the editor, notably, of Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies. Diouf has curated numerous exhibitions including on the abolition of the slave trade, the African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World and enslaved Africans in India.
Marcela Echeverri, Assistant Professor of History at Yale University, specializes in the social, intellectual, and political history of Latin America from the colonial period to the present. Her first book, Indian and Slave Royalists in the Age of Revolution: Reform, Revolution, and Royalism in the Northern Andes, 1780-1825 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) received the Latin American Studies Association’s 2017 Michael Jiménez Book Prize. She is currently at work on a book-length research project about Gran Colombian slavery and anti-slavery between 1820 and 1860.
Michael Ferguson is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology at The New School for Social Research. Michael’s research focuses on questions of identity, marginalization, and minorities in the late Ottoman Empire and Turkey. His current book project examines the relatively unknown social and cultural history of enslaved and emancipated Africans and their descendants in Izmir in the late Ottoman Empire. His study contributes to the historiography on African slavery, as well as to the body of scholarship on non-elite subjects whose contributions to the making of the late Ottoman world have been underrepresented in the prevailing literature.
Bethan Fisk is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, whose research analyzes African-descended religions in New Granada, colonial Colombia, at the height of Atlantic slavery. A Natalie Zemon Davis Fellow in History, Bethan has taught Caribbean and Latin American History extensively at the University of Toronto and in Colombia. She has been a Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library and an Avie Bennett Scholar at York University.
Matthew Fox-Amato is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Idaho. Presently, he is completing a book titled Slavery, Photography, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (under contract with Oxford University Press). This book explores how photography reshaped the culture and politics of slavery in the United States. It is based upon his dissertation, which was the runner-up for the Southern Historical Association’s C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize and the winner of the University of Pennsylvania McNeil Center’s Zuckerman Prize for 2014.
Aston Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of History at Salisbury University. After graduating with his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, he completed a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship through the Library Company of Philadelphia’s Program in African American History. His book manuscript, Visualizing Equality: African American Champions of Race, Rights, and Visual Culture, argues that African American visual artists produced popular visual media to advance campaigns for black rights and racial equality during the middle of the nineteenth century. With the support of several institutions, his essays on African American life and cultural production are in print and in press.
Max Grivno is Associate Professor of History at The University of Southern Mississippi, where he teaches courses on Slavery and the Old South. As a graduate student, Grivno worked at the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. His doctoral dissertation, which was subsequently published under the title Gleanings of Freedom: Slavery and Freedom along the Mason-Dixon Line, won the Southern Historical Association’s C. Vann Woodward Award. More recently, Grivno has done extensive research and outreach work on slavery, memory, and public history, for which he was awarded the 2016 Humanities Scholar of the Year by the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Leslie M. Harris, Professor of History at Northwestern University, is the author or co-editor of three award-winning books: In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863; Slavery in New York, with Ira Berlin, which accompanied the groundbreaking New-York Historical Society exhibition of the same name; and Slavery and Freedom in Savannah with Daina Ramey Berry, in collaboration with Telfair Museums. In 2011, Harris co-organized the first international conference on the history of slavery in higher education. She is currently working on a book on late-twentieth century New Orleans, and co-edited volumes on the history of slavery in higher education, and slavery and sexuality.
William B. Hart is Associate Professor of History at Middlebury College. He holds a PhD from the Department of American Civilization, Brown University. He has published a number of essays on the intersection of race, religion, and identity in 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century Indian country, and is the author of the forthcoming book, “’For the Good of Our Souls’: Performing Christianity in 18th-Century Mohawk Country.” His essay presented here is drawn from his current book project, “’I Am a Man’: Martin Henry Freeman (Middlebury College, 1849) and the Cant of Colonization.”
Marc Adam Hertzman is Associate Professor of History and Conrad Humanities Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His first book, Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil (Duke, 2013), won Honorable Mention for the Latin American Studies Association’s Bryce Wood Book Prize. His work has appeared in American Historical Review, Hispanic American Historical Review, Journal of Latin American Studies, and other venues. He is writing a manuscript about the death of Zumbi, the last leader of Palmares, Brazil’s great runaway slave kingdom, and the many, contested meanings that have been attached to his passing over the last three centuries.
Linda Heywood is a professor of African History and the History of the African Diaspora and African American Studies at Boston University. She is the author of Contested Power in Angola, editor of and contributor to Central Africans Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora, and co-author with John Thornton of Central African, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of America, which won of the 2008 Melville Herskovits Award for the Best Book published in African Studies. She is also one of the co-editors of African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy: From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama. Her latest book is Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen.
Kathleen Hilliard is an Associate Professor of History at Iowa State University and the author of Masters, Slaves, and Exchange: Power’s Purchase in the Old South (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which examines underground economic exchange as a means of understanding the master-slave relation. She has published essay-length articles on southern honor, civic identity, slave life and culture, and southern agriculture and is completing research for her second book, Bonds Burst Asunder: The Revolutionary Politics of Getting By in Civil War and Emancipation, 1860-1867.
Martha Hodes is Professor of History at New York University where she teaches courses on race and the Civil War. She is the author of three award-winning books: Mourning Lincoln; The Sea Captain’s Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century; and White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South. She received her PhD from Princeton University, and has won numerous fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Schomburg Center. She has been interviewed on PBS and National Public Radio, and has published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Natalie Joy is an Assistant Professor of History at Northern Illinois University where she teaches U.S. and Native American history. She has held residential fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, and the New-York Historical Society. Her work has received additional support from the Massachusetts Historical Society, American Philosophical Society, American Antiquarian Society, Huntington Library, Clements Library, and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. She is currently at work on a book manuscript on the relationship between Native Americans and the antislavery movement.
Ayşegül Kayagil is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the New School for Social Research. She received her BA degree in Sociology at the Middle East Technical University, and wrote her MA thesis titled “The Construction of Cultural Boundaries in Turkey” at Koç University. She is currently based at REMESO (Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society, Linköping University) as a Swedish Institute fellow. Her research interests revolve around cultural sociology, Turkish modernity, ethnography, race and ethnicity.
Pedram Khosronejad is Farzaneh Family Chair and Associate Director for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies Program (IPGS) at the Oklahoma State University. He obtained his PhD at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His research interests include cultural and social anthropology, the anthropology of death and dying, visual anthropology, visual piety, devotional artefacts, and religious material culture, with a particular interest in Iran, Persianate societies and the Islamic world. He is also chief editor of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia (ACME).
Barbara Krauthamer, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the author of Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South; and co-author, with Dr. Deborah Willis, of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, which received the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in non-fiction. She co-edited Major Problems in African American History with Dr. Chad Williams. She is editor of the forthcoming African American Culture: From Yoruba to Black Lives Matter, and is completing a study about Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad, and enslaved people’s self-liberation. She was a research fellow at the Schomburg Center in 2008-09.
Ethan J. Kytle is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at California State University, Fresno. A specialist in nineteenth-century American history, especially the history of slavery, abolition, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, his first book was Romantic Reformers and the Antislavery Struggle in the Civil War Era (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Next year, The New Press will publish his second book, Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy, coauthored with Blain Roberts. Dr. Kytle has also written for the Journal of Southern History, American Nineteenth Century History, the New York Times, and the Atlantic.
David LaFevor is Assistant Professor of Latin American History and Digital Humanities at the University of Texas at Arlington. He directs the project “Siete Villas de Cuba,” which finds, digitizes, and publishes documents from endangered archives. His current research uses these documents to trace one of the last and largest slave voyages to Cuba, and the legal, cultural, and political discourse surrounding the emancipation of over 1,300 individuals in the context of the US Civil War. Previous publications include a history of Latin America-United States relations and a history of race, boxing, and gender in Cuba and Mexico.
Anthony A. Lee teaches African and African American history at UCLA and at West Los Angeles College. He is the general editor of the twenty-five-volume series Studies in the Babi and Baha’i Religions (Kalimát Press, 1982- ). His books include The Baha’i Faith in Africa (Brill, 2011). His first article on African slavery in Iran was “Enslaved African Women in Nineteenth-Century Iran: The Life of Fezzeh Khanom of Shiraz,” (Iranian Studies, May 2012). He is co-translator, with Nesreen Akhtarkhavari, of the Arabic poems of Rumi (Michigan State University Press) and other books.
Stacie McCormick received her PhD from The Graduate Center, City University of New York and is currently an Assistant Professor at Texas Christian University. Her book project, A Body without a Nation: Performing Slavery in Contemporary Black Drama, considers the rise in dramas on slavery on the contemporary stage and the implications of this artistic production for how we understand the past and negotiate the present. She is currently a Woodrow Wilson/Mellon Foundation Career Enhancement Fellow. Her work has appeared in journals such as Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US, Callaloo, and Theatre Journal.
Yuko Miki, a current Lapidus Center long-term fellow, is Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Latino Studies at Fordham University. She is the author of Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil, forthcoming this winter from Cambridge University Press. Her new project, In Emancipation’s Shadow: Illegal Slavery in the Brazilian Atlantic, explores the emergence of coercive labor throughout the nineteenth-century Atlantic world to question the liberal narrative of the Age of Emancipation. Her work has received the Best Article Prize from the LASA Brazil Section and the Coordinating Council on Women in History.
Philip Misevich is a historian of Africa and the Atlantic World. A 2016-17 long-term fellow at the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg, Misevich has also been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Fulbright-Hays. Misevich is co-Principal Investigator of the African Origins database project and actively involved in the development of the Voyages database. He is co-editor, with Kristin Mann, of The Rise and Demise of Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Atlantic World and is currently completing several book manuscripts.
Mary Niall Mitchell is Ethel & Herman L. Midlo Endowed Chair in History at the University of New Orleans, where she co-directs the Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies. She is author of Raising Freedom’s Child: Black Children and Visions of the Future After Slavery (NYU Press, 2008) and has published online for The Atlantic, Harper’s, the New York Times, The History Channel, and Commonplace among others. Mitchell is one of three lead historians on Freedom on the Move, a crowd-sourced database of fugitive slave advertisements, and serves as Senior Editor for the local NPR podcast Tripod: New Orleans @ 300.
Jennifer L. Morgan is Professor of History in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair. She is the author of Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery and the co-editor of Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America. Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in in the Black Atlantic world. She is currently at work on a project that considers colonial numeracy, racism and the rise of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world tentatively entitled Accounting for the Women in Slavery.
Johanna Ortner is a Ph.D. candidate in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her dissertation, “’Whatever concerns them, as a race, concerns me:’ The Life and Activism of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper,” focuses on Harper as a seminal figure of African-American women’s intellectual thought and political activism in the nineteenth century. Johanna was a McNeil Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia and a Research Assistant at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, and published “Lost no more: Recovering Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Forest Leaves,” in Common-Place.
Manisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (2000) and The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (2016). The Slave’s Cause was long listed for the National Book Award for Non Fiction, received the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Best Book Award from the Society of Historians for the Early American Republic.
Cheryl Thompson is a Banting Postdoctoral fellow (2016-2018) at the University of Toronto at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and in the Department of English and Drama at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her project aims to elucidate the system of meaning in blackface minstrelsy’s theatrical playbills, portraits, photographs, illustrations, and visual ephemera outside the traditional theatre in the spaces and places of nation-building during Canada’s modern period, 1890s to 1950s. Her first book, Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Black Beauty Culture in Canada, will be published with Wilfrid Laurier Press in 2018.
Craig Steven Wilder is the Barton L. Weller Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent book is Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013). His recent essays include, “War and Priests: Catholic Colleges and Slavery in the Age of Revolution,” in Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, eds., Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). Professor Wilder is a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative.