Upcoming Events

Slave Narratives in French and British America, 1700-1848

Slave Narratives Conference Poste

July 14-15, 2017
University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway
1-4 Suffolk St, London: 
northwest side of Trafalgar Square

Organized by Sophie White (University of Notre Dame) and Trevor Burnard (University of Melbourne).

This symposium seeks to propel our thinking about how we understand the quotidian existence of enslaved people in the two biggest slave systems in the Greater Caribbean during the height of plantation slavery. Specifically, this conference focuses on alternative types of slave narratives and interrogates how such narratives were produced, the slave societies in which slave narratives existed and the meanings that we can attach to such narratives. The overall aim is to get more information about the everyday lives—including the spiritual lives—of slaves in the major two plantation empires in the Greater Caribbean. This should allow us to begin to move beyond planter narratives and accounts of slave life that outline demographic, material and economic realities in order to understand more fully enslaved persons’ lived experience. This interdisciplinary conference will be the first ever dedicated to rethinking slave narratives in comparative British and French colonial perspective and promises to be innovative, path-breaking and of profound significance.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Melbourne. Additional support was provided by the Global Collaboration Initiative, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts Henkels Conference Grant, the Nanovic Institute of European Studies, and the Departments of American Studies, Africana Studies, and History at the University of Notre Dame.

Conference registration is available here; registration for this event is free but required. 

Conference Program

14 July, 2017

10:00AM - 10:10AM 
Opening Remarks

Sophie White (University of Notre Dame) and Trevor Burnard (University of Melbourne)

10:10AM - 12:30PM
Session One: Telling Stories

Dominique Rogers (Université des Antilles et de la Guyane)
“Slave Judiciary Testimonies in the French Caribbean: What To Do With Them”

Cecile Vidal (E.H.E.S.S. Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales)
“Fictions in the Archives": Slave Tales in Court in French New Orleans"

Sophie White (University of Notre Dame)
“‘He said, without being asked…’: Slave Narratives and Testimony in French Colonial Courts”

12:30PM -1:30PM

1:30PM - 3:00PM
Session Two: European Perspectives

Amanda Capern (Hull University)
“Justice and equity: Litigant Narratives in the Early-Modern English Court of Chancery”

Miranda Spieler (American University-Paris)
“Slave Voice and the Legal Archive: The Case of Freedom Suits before the Paris Admiralty Court”

3:00PM - 3.30PM
Afternoon Tea

3:30PM - 5:00PM
Session Three: The Nineteenth-Century British Caribbean

Trevor Burnard (University of Melbourne)
“‘I Know I Have to Work’: Slave Narratives and the Moral Economy of Labour in Berbice, 1819-1834”

Anita Rupprecht (University of Brighton)
“‘This Tortola is very bad’: Re-captive African Narratives and the Colonial Archive in the British Caribbean, 1807-1828”


15 July, 2017

10:00AM - 12:30PM
Session Four: Native Americans

Linford Fisher (Brown University)
"A 'Spanish Indian Squaw' in New England: Indian Ann’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom"

Brett Rushforth (University of Oregon, William & Mary Quarterly)
“‘She said her answers contained the truth’: Hearing Enslaved Voices in the Judicial Records of New France”

Margaret Newell (Ohio State University)
"In the Borderlands of Race and Freedom: Indian and African Slave Testimony in Eighteenth-Century New England"

12:30PM - 1:30PM 

1:30PM - 3:00PM
Session Five: Literary and Visual Testimony

Nicole Aljoe (Northwestern University)
"Reading the ‘Memoir of Florence Hall’ Through the Long Song of the Caribbean Colonial Archive"

Sarah Thomas (Birkbeck College)
“Visual Testimonies in the Age of Emancipation: Searching for the ‘invisible man’”

3:00PM - 3.30PM
Afternoon Tea

3:30PM - 5:00PM
Session Six: The Long View
Commentary: Emily Clark (Tulane University) and Gad Heuman (Warwick University)


“Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic

January 16-August 11, 2017
Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

This exhibition displays examples of American Catholicism expressed through (mostly) printed texts from 1783 through the early 1840s. They include the earliest Catholic bibles published by Mathew Carey, and editions of Thomas à Kempis' The Imitation of Christ used and produced in the United States; polemical pamphlets with sexual and political subtexts that flew back and forth across the Atlantic; no-holds-barred dueling sectarian newspapers; books and pamphlets created in reaction to mob violence against the Ursuline convent school near Boston; and official reports that mapped the Church’s growth and growing pains.

Group and class tours may be arranged with the exhibition’s curators, Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus. Please contact Rachel Bohlmann at rbohlman@nd.edu or (574) 631-1575 for scheduling.