Journée d’études: de l’abolition aux réparations (Etats-Unis-France)

« Les Africains-Américains dans le mouvement abolitionniste : Intellectuels et anonymes »

9h30 : Accueil

9h45 : Ouverture : Carine Lounissi (Université de Rouen)

10h-11h15: atelier 1
– M-J Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot) : « The Neglected Period of Antislavery in America, 1808‑1831: A Reappraisal »

– Michaël Roy (Université Paris Nanterre) : « Abolition and the Law »

11h15-11h30: Pause café

11h30-12h45: atelier 2

– Sandrine Ferré-Rode (Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin) : « Frederick Douglass, Henry Bibb and the Contest for Black Leadership »

– Steven Sarson (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3) : « The ‘illustrious Fathers of this Republic’: Frederick Douglass on the Founders, the Fourth of July, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution »

Déjeuner (12h45-14h15)

– 14h15-14h45 : Hommage à Anne Wicke (Florence Cabaret, Université de Rouen et Marc Amfreville, Université Paris-Sorbonne)

– 14h45-15h30 : La collection récits d’esclaves créée par Anne Wicke et son avancement : Marie‑Jeanne Rossignol, Claire Parfait, F Bessire et Eric Saunier. Présentation du dernier volume par Sandrine Ferré-Rode avec lecture d’extraits, et du prochain volume par Françoise Clary

– 15h30-16h30 : Table ronde sur la mémoire de l’esclavage France-Amériques, avec Eric Saunier (Université du Havre) et Bernard Michon (Université de Nantes), responsables du n°7/2018 de la Revue du philanthrope, « Les ports négriers et les mémoires de la traite et de l’esclavage » ; Erick Noël (Université des Antilles) et Cécile Bertin-Elisabeth (Université des Antilles), co‑responsables du n°8/2019 de la Revue du philanthrope, « Libres de couleur » ; Jean-Marc Masseaut, rédacteur en chef de la revue Les anneaux de la mémoire ; Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot) et Claire Parfait (Université Paris 13/délégation CNRS au LARCA, Université Paris Diderot)

Cocktail (16h30-17h15)

Organisateurs :
Luc Benoît à la Guillaume, Carine Lounissi, Anne-Laure Tissut (Université de Rouen), Claire Parfait (Université Paris 13/en délégation CNRS au LARCA 2018‑19), Marie‑Jeanne Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot), Michaël Roy (Université Paris Nanterre)

Résumés des communications de la matinée :

 Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Université Paris Diderot) : « The Neglected Period of Antislavery in America, 1808-1831: A Reappraisal »

Most of the (traditional and recent) scholarship on antislavery in the United States focuses on two periods: 1/the Revolution, War of Independence and Founding when thousands of African-Americans were freed in the North and in the South and the institution of slavery was questioned 2/the decades between 1830 and 1860 when immediatists radicalized the antislavery movement by introducing new methods, goals and activists. My paper will argue that the period between 1815 and 1830, usually neglected by the historiography, is central to understanding the eventual move to immediatism. Both western expansion and the rise of colonization explain the evolution of antislavery.


Michaël Roy (Université Paris Nanterre) : « Abolition and the Law »

This paper will look at abolitionists’ fraught relationship with the law between the end of the eighteenth century and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery in the United States in 1865. From early slave codes defining enslaved persons as property and “black laws” restricting the rights of free African Americans to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and the Dred Scott decision of 1857, slavery and the subjugation of black people were firmly entrenched in the U.S. legal system. How did first-wave and second-wave abolitionists confront and critique the law of slavery? Did they use “legal tactics” (Richard Newman) or on the contrary preach disobedience to unjust laws? In what ways were their speeches and writings pervaded by a “juridical rhetoric” (Jeannine Marie DeLombard)? In their fight against what Frederick Douglass called the “gross injustice” of slavery, abolitionists developed strategies that both relied on and subverted the law.

Sandrine Ferré-Rode (Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin), Frederick Douglass, Henry Bibb and the Contest for Black Leadership

Relying on their narratives, on some of Douglass’s essays and on the articles and correspondence published in their respective newspapers, this paper will attempt to provide a thorough understanding of the Douglass / Bibb rapport, especially by analyzing the various avatars of their alternately concurrent or rival discourses. First, special emphasis will be placed on the reasons and consequences of Douglass’s and Bibb’s engagement in two dissenting branches of the abolitionist movement (the American Anti-Slavery Society for the former and the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society for the latter), a divergence which laid the ground for the climactic 1849 “Bibles for Slaves campaign” controversy. Second, this paper will showcase the two men’s stances in the long-standing debate over African-American emigration as a solution to achieving “racial uplift” beyond American borders. In an attempt to better understand the transnational nature of their anti-slavery activities, special attention will be devoted to delineating Douglass’s and Bibb’s experiences in the province of Canada West.

Steven Sarson (Université Jean Moulin, Lyon 3) : « The ‘illustrious Fathers of this Republic’: Frederick Douglass on the Founders, the Fourth of July, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution »

On 5 July 1852 Frederick Douglass gave one of his most famous orations, one in which he expressed the balance between the horrors of slavery and the promises of American republicanism, as had been evolving in his mind for some time. Douglass had begun his abolitionist career as a Garrisonian critic of slavery’s constitution and an advocate of northern secession. And indeed in “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” he trenchantly detailed the horrors of slavery, the domestic slave trade, the nationalization of the “peculiar institution”, and the hypocrisy of celebrating American democracy while supporting American slavery. Yet, precisely because of these details, this critique, and of Douglass’s own personal experience of enslavement, what is perhaps most striking about this oration is its optimism—a Whiggish optimism grounded in the ideals of America’s founders, in the egalitarian and libertarian principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and which he believed by this stage in his career foretold the end of enslavement. This paper thus shows how Douglass had moved himself into the mainstream of American politics by rhetorically moving abolitionism to the centre of American republicanism.

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