CFP EEASA: Space, Mobility, and Power in Early America and the Atlantic World, 1650-1850

01. Blaeu - nova_belgica_1635

CALL FOR PAPERS

Bi-annual congress of the European Early American Studies Association, “Space, Mobility, and Power in Early America and the Atlantic World, 1650-1850” (Paris, 8-10 December 2016)

A conference co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the University Paris Diderot Paris 7, the University Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris-3, the Université Paris-8, and the Institute of the Americas (France)

Organizing committee: Claire Bourhis-Mariotti (Paris-8), Evelyne Payen (Sorbonne nouvelle Paris 3), Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (president, Paris Diderot Paris-7), Rahma Jehrad (Carthage), Pierre Gervais (Univ. Paris 3) William Slauter (Paris-Diderot Paris 7, Institut universitaire de France).

Program/Scientific Committee : Susanne Lachenicht (Univ. Bayreuth), Emma Hart (St Andrews), Allan Potofsky (president, Paris Diderot Paris 7), Daniel K. Richter (McNeil Center, UPennsylvania) Oliver Scheiding (Mainz), Irmina Wawrzyczek (UMCS, Lublin), Bertrand van Ruymbeke (Paris-8; Institut universitaire de France).

Principal Venue : University Paris Diderot Paris 7.

Dates : December 8-10 2016 Continue reading

CFP L’Empire dans le monde anglophone, XVIIème-XVIIIème siècles – 20-21 January 2017

Empire in the English-speaking world, 17th-18th centuries

An International Conference hosted by SEAA XVII-XVIII  (Société d’Etudes Anglo-Américaines des XVIIème et XVIIIème siècles)

20-21 January 2017, Maison de la Recherche, Université de la Sorbonne, Paris

‘Empire’ is a useful, though controversial, point of entry for studying the historical process leading to the formation of our modern, globalized world. Along with mercantile capitalism and colonialism, European imperialism has largely contributed to shaping the world as we know it, fashioning many of its political borders, cultural practices and economic networks. Starting to take form in the early seventeenth century, the British empire began with the English settlement of North America and several islands in the Caribbean, and gradually asserted itself as a major world power with the establishment of private companies – chief among which the East India Company – to administer its colonies and overseas trade. Through their empire, the British disseminated their institutions, culture, and language, so that even the nations that emerged out of the empire had to define themselves through their attitudes to that concept. Such was the case for the United States, conceiving itself from the start as an ‘empire of liberty’, while for many British people the empire was, and still is to some extent, an essential part of their Britishness.

The goal of our conference is to take stock of current research on ‘empire’ in history, as well as in literature and art, and to highlight new avenues for research by adopting an interdisciplinary perspective. Suggested areas of reflection could include (but are not limited to) the following : Continue reading

Appel à candidatures : contrat postdoctoral projet “Écrire l’histoire depuis les marges”

OFFRE D’EMPLOI / APPEL A CANDIDATURES

Post-doctorant Projet EHDLM  (« Ecrire l’histoire depuis les marges : le cas des Africains Américains et le devenir de l’histoire »), Sorbonne Paris Cité

 

Offre d’emploi en CDD 11 mois, début du contrat 1er octobre 2015.

Post-doctorant à plein-temps chargé de la coordination du projet

Rémunération: 2395€ (salaire brut) par mois

Basé au laboratoire Pléiade, Université Paris 13, Villetaneuse.

  Continue reading

CFP: “The Cultures and Politics of Leisure in the British Isles & the United States”

(la version française se trouve à la suite de la version anglaise)

Call for Papers: 

“The Cultures and Politics of Leisure in the British Isles & the United States”

An International Symposium Organized by the Research Group Histoire et Dynamique des Espaces Anglophones: Du Réel au Virtuel (HDEA), Université Paris-Sorbonne 

Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris, France

November 6-7, 2015

Leisure is a central rather than a peripheral feature of culture. Indeed, the divide between leisure and “productive work”—to which it is traditionally opposed—has never been an impassable wall, but rather a porous boundary involving dynamics of control, negotiation, and hybridization. Far from a mere holiday or retreat from society, leisure represents a specific domain of activities in which core social and cultural values and structures are expressed, reified, transmitted, learned, manipulated, and resisted. Cultural historian Johan Huizinga found play to be “productive of a culture,” sociologist Erving Goffman viewed games as “world-building activities,” psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott referred to play as the very locus of the “cultural experience,” and anthropologist Clifford Geertz borrowed Jeremy Bentham’s concept of “deep play” to convey the high stakes that certain leisure activities can hold for their participants.

This international symposium seeks to draw inspiration from such ideas in order to develop a multidisciplinary and transnational reflection on the role that leisure, in its myriad rituals and forms, has played in the British Isles, the Commonwealth, and the United States. We endeavor to place leisure at the center of broader discussions about nation, empire, class, gender, sexuality, religion, race, and ethnicity. We are particularly interested in proposals that explore how leisure practices and their representations within visual culture have been essential to “the invention of tradition(s)” (Hobsbawm and Ranger), the formation of “imagined communities” (Anderson), the “performance” of gender (Butler), the shaping of “spiritual practice(s)” (Blackshaw), the “making” of classes (Thompson) and “social distinction(s)” (Bourdieu), as well as those focusing on how communities and individuals have subverted and negotiated the dominant cultural meanings, identities, and hierarchies inscribed within popular leisure forms. We also invite state-centered approaches that explore how the politics and policies of leisure have shaped metropolitan spaces and lifestyles, as well as serving to regulate the labor productivity, “biopower” (Foucault), and moral codes of the nation. Moreover, we encourage projects that take transnational and/or comparative approaches, as well as those that seek to situate the study of leisure within the histories of empire and capitalism to examine how leisure practices have been transferred and appropriated throughout the world (colonies, Commonwealth, and elsewhere), at times serving as instruments of cultural, political, and economic domination and at others as tools of struggle and emancipation. We welcome contributions spanning the whole historical continuum, from Middle Age festivals and fairs to Digital Age social media activities and on-line games.

Presentations should be in English or French, and should not exceed twenty minutes. Abstracts must not exceed 400 words and must be submitted in English or in French by email (in .doc or .pdf format only please) to leisure@listes.paris-sorbonne.fr by Friday, May 1, 2015. For further information, please contact: Nathalie Caron (nathalie.caron@paris-sorbonne.fr), Andrew Diamond (andrew.diamond@paris-sorbonne.fr), or Thibaut Clément (thibaut.clement@paris-sorbonne.fr).

For additional information on HDEA, see: http://www.paris-sorbonne.fr/la-recherche/les-unites-de-recherche/civilisations-cultures/histoire-et-dynamique-des-espaces/presentation-4640/

 

Appel à communications:

« Cultures et politiques du loisir dans les Iles Britanniques et aux Etats-Unis » 

Colloque international organisé par l’unité de recherche Histoire et Dynamique des Espaces Anglophones: Du Réel au Virtuel (HDEA), Université Paris-Sorbonne

Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris, France

6 et 7 novembre 2015

Le loisir est un aspect central plutôt que périphérique de la culture. Loin de s’opposer, le « loisir » et ce que la tradition désigne comme son antonyme, à savoir le « travail productif », s’articulent étroitement, selon des dynamiques de contrôle, de négociation et d’hybridation. Le loisir n’est pas un temps « mort » soustrait à la société ; il constitue au contraire un domaine d’activités spécifique où les valeurs fondamentales propres à une culture et à une société données se voient exprimées, réifiées, transmises, apprises, manipulées ou même rejetées. C’est ainsi que l’historien de la culture Johan Huizinga décrit le jeu comme « constitutif de la culture », là où le sociologue Goffman parle, lui, d’ « activité de construction du monde » ; le psychanalyste Donald Winnicott, pour sa part, fait du jeu le lieu même de l’ « expérience culturelle », tandis que l’anthropologue Clifford Geertz emprunte à Jeremy Bentham son concept de « jeu profond » pour rendre compte des enjeux importants que certaines activités de loisir revêtent aux yeux de leurs participants.

Ce colloque international se propose de puiser dans ces courants de pensées pour enrichir une réflexion interdisciplinaire et transnationale sur le rôle que le loisir, au travers de ses formes et de ses rituels innombrables, a pu jouer dans les îles Britanniques, dans les Commonwealth, aux États-Unis, cela sur le temps long. Nous tenons notamment à replacer le loisir (et sa représentation au sein de la culture visuelle) au cœur de discussions plus larges sur les notions d’empire, de nation, de classe, de genre, de sexualité, de religion, de race et d’appartenance ethnique. Nous nous intéresserons ainsi de près aux propositions qui interrogeront la façon dont les pratiques de loisir ont pu permettre « l’invention de la (ou des) tradition(s) » (Hobsbawm et Ranger), la création de « communautés imaginaires » (Anderson), les « performances de genre » (Butler), « l’élaboration de pratiques spirituelles »  (Blackshaw), ou encore la « formation » des classes sociales (Thompson) et des « distinctions sociales » (Bourdieu) ; de la même manière, nous intéressent les propositions qui se pencheront sur la façon dont individus et communautés ont pu subvertir ou négocier les valeurs, identités et hiérarchies dominantes véhiculées dans les formes de loisirs populaires. Nous encourageons par ailleurs les propositions questionnant le rôle de l’Etat et la manière dont les politiques du loisir ont façonné les espaces et les styles de vie métropolitains ou permis d’accroître le contrôle sur la productivité au travail, le « biopouvoir » (Foucault), ainsi que les codes moraux de la nation. Nous encourageons également les approches transnationales ou comparatives qui, en situant le loisir au sein de l’histoire mondiale de l’empire ou du capitalisme, mettent en évidence les effets de transferts et d’appropriation des pratiques de loisirs dans le monde (colonies, Commonwealth, et ailleurs) – faisant de ces derniers l’instrument tantôt de la domination culturelle, politique, et économique, tantôt de la contestation et de l’émancipation. Nous accueillerons des propositions couvrant le champ entier de l’histoire, depuis les  foires et les tournois médiévaux jusqu’aux médias sociaux et aux jeux en ligne de l’ère numérique.

Les présentations, d’une durée de vingt minutes maximum, se feront en français et en anglais. Les propositions, limitées à 400 mots maximum, seront soumises en français ou en anglais par email (uniquement au format .doc ou .pdf) à l’adresse leisure@listes.paris-sorbonne.fr d’ici au vendredi 1er mai 2015. Pour tout renseignement complémentaire, merci de contacter : Nathalie Caron (nathalie.caron @paris-sorbonne.fr), Andrew Diamond (andrew.diamond@paris-sorbonne.fr) ou Thibaut Clément (thibaut.clement@paris-sorbonne.fr).

 Pour plus d’informations sur  HDEA, voir : http://www.paris-sorbonne.fr/la-recherche/les-unites-de-recherche/civilisations-cultures/histoire-et-dynamique-des-espaces/presentation-4640/

CFP: The Spiritual Geopolitics of the Early Modern World (1500-1800) – Vincennes, March 13, 2015

The Spiritual Geopolitics of the Early Modern World (1500-1800)

March 13, 2015 – Service Historique de la Défense, Château de Vincennes (France)

Early modern Europeans lived during an age of faith, but the role of religion in geopolitics and diplomacy remains poorly understood. Likewise, historians and social scientists often downplay the role of religious arguments, issues and protagonists in favor of purely secular ones, such as economic, commercial, dynastic or territorial motives. Was religion a genuine motive in geopolitical thinking and policy-making or was it more of a conscience-appeasing fig-leaf in the face of more worldly concerns?

In this symposium we will explore the concept of “spiritual geopolitics” in early modern Europe and its imperial extensions, from the Atlantic World to the Mediterranean and Indian Oceans, in every place where states fought or negotiated over new or existing territories. Our understanding of “geopolitics” is both literal (decision-making process dealing with specific strategically significant sites) and broad enough to include the related field of diplomacy and war.

We seek proposals on any aspect or early modern spiritual geopolitics, but especially around the following questions or issues:
– The role of religious arguments in the decision-making process at both central and local level;
– The place of missionaries, priests, ministers, and other religious agents in the world of diplomacy and warfare, as negotiators, spies, or advisors;
– The role of communities of religious refugees in imperial geopolitics;
– Confessional borderlands as fertile grounds for spiritual geopolitics, or, the geography of spiritual geopolitics;
– The importance, and limits, or Protestant-Catholic rivalry in European and international diplomacy;
– The links between confessional and national identities; and the role of religious “others” in cementing national or confessional bonds

Proposals, which should not exceed 500 words, should be sent by September 15, 2014 to lauric.henneton@uvsq.fr.
Papers, which will be precirculated, are due by Feb. 15, 2015. They may be in French or English.

Scientific committee:
Lauric Henneton (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines),
Susanne Lachenicht (Université de Bayreuth, Allemagne),
Owen Stanwood (Boston College, Etats-Unis)
Yann Lignereux (Université de Nantes, CRHIA, France)
Laurent Veyssière (Ministère de la Défense, France)
André Rakoto (Service Historique de la Défense, France)

This symposium is sponsored by the LabEx EHNE (http://www.labex-ehne.fr/)

* * *

La géopolitique religieuse dans le monde moderne (1500-1800)

13 mars 2015 – Service Historique de la Défense, Château de Vincennes (France)

Les Européens de la première modernité vivaient dans un monde saturé de religion. Pourtant, le rôle de la religion dans la géopolitique et la diplomatie de l’époque demeure mal compris. En effet, le rôle des enjeux religieux ainsi que des ecclésiastiques a longtemps été négligé au profit de considérations économiques, commerciales, dynastiques et/ou territoriales. Les facteurs religieux ont-ils joué un rôle moteur dans la pensée et la prise de décision géopolitiques, ou n’ont-ils eu qu’une fonction décorative visant à légitimer des préoccupations plus clairement séculières?

Cette journée d’étude entend explorer dans quelle mesure le concept de “géopolitique religieuse” peut s’appliquer à l’Europe moderne et à ses extensions impériales, de l’espace atlantique à la Méditerranée et à l’Océan Indien, et en circonscrire les variations spatiales et chronologiques. La géopolitique est ici envisagée à la fois dans son sens littéral (processus de prise de décision relatif à un lieu d’importance stratégique) et assez large pour inclure le champ connexe de la diplomatie et de la guerre.

Les organisateurs souhaitent que les propositions de communications se penchent sur le concept de “géopolitique religieuse” en prenant en compte, entre autres:
– Le poids des arguments religieux dans les processus de prise de décision, tant au niveau central que local, sur le terrain
– Le rôle des missionnaires, prêtres, pasteurs et autres agents ecclésiastiques dans des fonctions diplomatiques et militaires (négociateurs, espions, informateurs, conseillers)
– Le rôle des communautés de réfugiés pour la foi dans les politiques impériales (huguenots, Juifs séfarades, Moraves…)
– Les marches et frontières confessionnelles en tant que terroirs propices à une “géopolitique religieuse” (autrement dit la géographie du concept)
– L’opposition binaire entre sphères catholique et protestante, mais également les cas de coopération transconfessionnelle (avérée ou envisagée)
– La perception de l’Autre articulant identités nationale et confessionnelle, la cristallisation des identités nationales autour des identités confessionnelles.

La journée se tiendra au Château de Vincennes (Service historique de la Défense), le vendredi 13 mars 2015.

Les propositions ne doivent pas excéder 500 mots et doivent parvenir aux organisateurs avant le 15 septembre 2014, accompagnées d’une brève présentation bio-bibliographique.
Les communications feront l’objet d’une circulation préalable parmi les participants. A cet effet, les textes doivent parvenir aux organisateurs avant le 15 février 2015. La langue principale des échanges sera le français. Toutefois, les organisateurs accepteront des communications en anglais.

Contact: Lauric Henneton, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Laboratoire ESR: lauric.henneton@uvsq.fr

Comité scientifique:
Lauric Henneton (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines),
Susanne Lachenicht (Université de Bayreuth, Allemagne),
Owen Stanwood (Boston College, Etats-Unis)
Yann Lignereux (Université de Nantes, CRHIA, France)
Laurent Veyssière (Ministère de la Défense, France)
André Rakoto (Service Historique de la Défense, France)

Cette journée est labellisée par le LabEx EHNE (http://www.labex-ehne.fr/)

CFP Problematizing the self in eighteenth-century autobiographical writing in English

An international conference organized by the “Enlightenment and modernity” project of the LARCA (Laboratoire de Recherches sur les Cultures Anglophones) at the Université Paris Diderot, November 28-29, 2014.

The considerable quantity of eighteenth-century autobiographical texts in English is now attracting increasing critical attention. Ranging from printed autobiographies by a great variety of writers (travellers, actors, printers, criminals, tricksters, slaves, and clergymen…) to diaries, journals and correspondence, both in manuscript and in print, this is a diverse corpus whose common denominator is the privileged insight which writing about one’s self claims or is claimed to provide. The boundaries of the genre are frequently blurred by its proximity to fictional life-writing. It is often impossible to distinguish ‘true’ from ‘fake’ autobiography, revelation from obfuscation. The self, which such texts purport to recount, is invariably problematic, as if echoing the tenets of sceptical philosophy on the one hand and the constant rooting of individual experience in wider social networks on the other. Never a point of departure and always socially constructed, the autobiographical self nonetheless constitutes the reader’s horizon in these texts whose promises of unveiled truths and secrets are fundamental to the voyeuristic reception they solicit.

This conference will explore the ways in which the self is problematized in autobiographical writing in English in the long eighteenth century. Contributions may focus on issues such as autobiographical accuracy or inaccuracy, the motivations behind autobiographical life-writing, the strategies of revelation and concealment at work, the consistency or inconsistency of the ‘selves’ recounted, the reception, impact and exploitation of autobiographical texts, the public and private faces of autobiographical writing, and the linguistic codes such writing deploys. The languages of the conference will be English and French. Communications will last for 20 minutes.

Scientific committee: John Baker (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Jeffrey Hopes (Université d’Orléans), Robert Mankin (Université Paris Diderot), Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot), Sophie Vasset (Université Paris Diderot).

Proposals of about 300 words, accompanied by a short CV/resume, should be submitted to the scientific committee, by April 30, 2014, at the following address: jhopes@free.fr

Jeffrey Hopes

Université d’OrléansMarie-Jeanne Rossignol
Professor of American Studies
Université Paris Diderot
UFR Etudes Anglophones
Bât Olympe de Gouges
Case 7046 5 rue Thomas Mann
75205 Paris Cedex 13
www.ufr-anglais.univ-paris7.fr

CFP / Non-Traditional Slaveholding in the Atlantic World, July 11-12 2014 (Senate House, London, UK)

Non-Traditional Slaveholding in the Atlantic World
July 11-12 2014, Senate House, London, UK

Call for Papers

Plenary Speakers:
Seymour Drescher (University of Pittsburgh)
Brent Weisman (University of South Florida)

CFP Nontraditional Slaveholding

Studies of slaveholding in the Atlantic World traditionally imagine a particular type of slave holder – a wealthy landowning white man who has extensive political and cultural power, his status in the community defined by or at least enhanced by his slaveholding. He has a set of attitudes towards his slaves and their economic and cultural work that he shares with others of his class. This conference sets out to challenge these preconceptions by bringing together scholars working on different re-gions of the Atlantic world to discuss a hitherto neglected area of the study of African American slav-ery: non-traditional slaveholding.
We welcome proposals that consider slaveholding by poor whites, women, free blacks, Native Amer-icans and Jewish Americans in every area of the Atlantic. The conference is designed to be explicitly comparative, encouraging scholars to discuss significant issues such as: what counts as ‘slavery’ in this context? How widespread was the phenomenon of slaveholding among the non-white popula-tion? Are non-traditional slave holders distinct from white slave holders in their attitudes and be-haviour towards the institution and towards their slaves? To what extent did regional specificities, historical contexts and particular legal frameworks encourage slaveholding among non-traditional slave owners and influence the nature of the bondage? Do slave culture and slave agency emerge dif-ferently from a study of non-traditional slaveholders? Is the line between slavery and freedom more blurred? What are the epistemological consequences of acknowledging slave ownership by non-traditional slaveholders? How does it alter our understanding of ‘the colour line’?
Please send proposals of no more than 300 words (for papers or panels) and a brief CV to nontraditionalslaveholders@gmail.com by 15 January 2014.

We welcome papers that cover any region of the Atlantic and proposals for round table discussions as well as formal academic papers.

Conference Organisers: Lawrence Aje (University of Montpellier), Catherine Armstrong (Manchester Metropolitan University), and Lydia Plath (Canterbury Christ Church University).

CFP / extended deadline for proposals / 5th EEASA Conference 2014

Call for Papers

Fifth Biennial European Early American Studies (EEASA) Conference

Lublin, Poland, 11-13 December 2014

Extended deadline for proposals: October 31, 2013

Protest and Persuasion: Writing, Print, Speech, and Performance in Early America and the Atlantic World

 

Persuasive communication has been at the heart of much of Western social and political development. It played a crucial role in the early promotion of colonization, the struggle for independence, the campaigns for the recognition of independence by European powers, the making of the constitutions, the laying foundations of the new states, justifying or repudiating slavery, and building and manipulating alliances with Native Americans. Several decades of scholarship have elucidated the dynamics of authorship, publishing and reading in the Americas and the Atlantic world as forms of public-relation practice in the pre-mass media world. Meanwhile, numerous studies of public opinion have built upon and responded to Jürgen Habermas’ thesis about the transformation of the public sphere in the eighteenth century. These two strands of scholarship have often intersected, and in both areas scholars have insisted on the need to move beyond the reified notions of “print culture” and the “public sphere” to consider the interaction of oral, scribal, printed and behavioral forms of socially and politically motivated communication.

 The 2014 EEASA Conference will provide an opportunity to present fresh and more nuanced insights on how political communication actually worked in the Americas and the Atlantic world. What strategies of communication and modes of persuasion and protest did people develop and with what goals? What constraints – technical, geographic, legal, or cultural – help to explain the adoption of certain forms of expression and the content of the messages? How did the meaning and significance of words and images evolve as they travelled from place to place? How were persuasion and protest articulated in non-verbal forms, such as gesture, symbol, image, and performance? What political consequences – intended or unintended – resulted from the way people used speech, writing, print, and group action in early America and the Atlantic world?

 

The following list contains some potential topics to be addressed:

 – the evolution of the forms and genres of persuasion, protest, reconciliation, and cooperation (speeches, sermons, newspaper articles, pamphlets, broadsides, songs, slogans, poems, engravings, etc.);

 – the interaction of words and images in political communication;

 – the migration of texts from spoken to written (or printed) and vice versa;

 – the migration, re-uses and transformation of concepts, images, music and sounds from other colonies and Europe as well as foreign language texts in political culture

 – the role of translators and interpreters;

 – censorship and other forms of restraint on speech and writing;

 – the use of the body through performance, gesture, or dress to communicate messages;

 – group protest tactics: petitions, marches, town and country meetings, activist organizations, etc.

 Please send your proposal to EEASA2014@googlemail.com by October 31, 2013.

 _______________________________________________________________

 The host of the 2014 Conference is the Department of English at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University (UMCS) in Lublin, Poland. UMCS, established in 1944, is the biggest university in eastern Poland with 25,000 students. The conference venue will be the Faculty of Arts.

CFP: Black Historians and the Writing of History in the 19th and early 20th centuries: What Legacy?

As part of the project EHDLM (Writing History from the Margins) funded by the PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité, a conference will be held in Paris, University Paris Diderot, June 12-14 2014, on

 

Black Historians and the Writing of History in the 19th and early 20th centuries: What Legacy?

woodson williams dubois

Organizers: Marie-Jeanne Rossignol, Claire Bourhis-Mariotti, Hélène Le Dantec-Lowry, Claire Parfait, Mathieu Renault

Scientific committee: Ira Berlin (University of Maryland, College Park), Myriam Cottias (CNRS, CIRESC), Elisabeth Cunin (IRD, CNRS), Pap N’Diaye (Sciences Po), Martha Jones (Michigan), Jean-Paul Lallemand (EHESS, CENA)

Abstracts: 300 words + one-page CV to be sent to blackhistoriansparis2014@gmail.com by November 1, 2013

“History has thrown the colored man out.”

William Wells Brown 1860, in Benjamin Quarles Black Mosaic 1988, 111

robert b lewis

 

Almost 100 years after The Journal of Negro History was founded by Carter G. Woodson, we would like to reassess the legacy of those black historians who wrote the history of their community between the 1830s and World War II. Through slavery and segregation, self-educated and formally educated black Americans wrote works of history in order to inscribe, or re-inscribe, African Americans in American history. This served a two-fold objective: to make African-Americans proud of their past and to enable them to fight against white prejudice.

Over the past decades, historians have turned to the study of these pioneers, but a number of issues remain to be addressed. At first, before African Americans received doctorates in history or taught history at all-black colleges, activists wrote the first histories of their community (and beyond). We propose to address the following questions:  who published these books; how were they distributed, read and received? How can we assess the work of these “amateurs” from a historian’s point of view, at a time when the writing of history was becoming professional in Europe as well as in the United States? What do these publications reveal about the construction of professional history in the nineteenth century when we examine them in relation with other works by Euro-Americans whether working in an academic setting or as independent researchers?

Regarding the more “professional” generation that slowly emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century (Du Bois, Woodson, Logan, and others), a number of questions also remain unanswered. These historians wrote history “from the margins” of the profession, launching journals, organizing conferences and developing institutional tools for their segregated scientific activity. The process of integration was slow and mostly started after the Second World War. Yet one can wonder whether the marginal position of these historians was a hindrance or whether it might also have been an asset. Could it be argued that their use of alternative sources made them pioneers in developing a type of social and cultural history which would later be exemplified by the Annales school in France? If so,the intellectual contribution of the black historians who wrote professional history in the first half of the twentieth century must be re-assessed globally as well as nationally: what does it mean to write history from the margins?

nell

Finally, the work of these early historians must be placed squarely within the longer term historiographical development of African American and American history: African American history emerged as a major field of investigation in American history in the 1970s and 1980s, and, with the rise of Atlantic history in the 1990s and 2000s, it has now become one of the principal preoccupations of American historians. The groundwork had, however, been laid long before in a climate of segregation: the slave trade, US-Haitian relationships, and other key issues were the objects of major studies before the Second World War. How were these books circulated, read and received beyond an educated black public? Are these historians fully recognized for their pioneering work outside of their community, or have they been relegated to the margins of professional historical memory?

William C. Nell

Plenary speakers: Pero Dagbovie, Michigan State University, and Claire Parfait, Université Paris 13

 

This conference is sponsored by www.sorbonnepariscite.fr

And the following research teams : CIRESC/CNRS, LARCA, CREW, CRIDAF/Pléiade.

It will be held at University Paris Diderot www.univ-paris-diderot.fr