Schedule

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1

6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Exhibition Opening: Black Mechanics: The Making of an American University and a Nation 

7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Universities and the Problem of Slavery

Universities across the United States and the world have been forced to confront connections to slavery throughout their histories. From Brown to Yale, Oxford and in South Africa, students, faculty, and administrations wrestle with how to expose, conceal, honor, or memorialize the legacies of slavery.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, President Emerita of Brown University 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Coffee and Registration

9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Welcome Remarks, President Christina Paxson, Brown University

9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Slavery and the Institutional Politics of Public History

The recent public reckoning with slavery and its legacies has changed national narratives of belonging, community, and citizenship. New museums which grapple with the role of slavery, and race in their national histories have cropped up across the globe. National museums struggle to integrate these difficult stories of exploitation, violence, and exclusion into the nation.

  • Nancy Bercaw, Museum Curator, The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Jacques Martial, Président du Mémorial ACTe, Pointe-à-Pitre. Guadeloupe, France
  • Hebe Mattos, Professor of History, University Federal Fluminense, Brazil
  • Paul Tichmann, Curator of Social History, Iziko Museums of South Africa
  • Moderator: Paul Gardullo, Museum Curator, The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture

11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  Coffee Break

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.   Slavery and Public History around the World

Why have slavery and its abolition become, in the past 20 years, a major, world-wide, phenomenon of public historical debate and practice?  Why has the debate animated politics and new national narratives?  Why the explosive development of museums and historic sites?

  • Anthony Bogues, Director, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory, Brown University
  • James T. Campbell, Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History, Stanford University
  • Sylviane Diouf, Director, Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Tiya Miles, Mary Henrietta Graham Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan
  • Moderator: David W. Blight, Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition and Class of 1954 Professor of American History, Yale University

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.  Lunch 

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.  Digital Humanities Projects 

  • Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
  • William Rankin, Assistant Professor of the History of Science, Yale University
  • Joseph Yannielli, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Council of the Humanities and the Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University
  • Moderator: Monica Muñoz MartinezStanley J. Bernstein '65 P'02 Assistant Professor of American Studies, Brown University

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Between History and Memory 

What role can and should the conventional historian play in informing and driving historical exhibitions and shaping public memory? Scholars and practitioners of slavery and its public presentation discuss edges and borders between public memory and the worlds of conventional historical scholarship.

  • Keila GrinbergProfessor of History at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO)
  • Paul Gardullo, Museum Curator, The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Wayne Modest, Head of the Research Centre for Material Culture for Tropenmuseum, Afrika Museum, and Museum Volkenkunde (Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen)
  • Moderator: Philip Gould, Israel J. Kapstein Professor of English, Brown University

6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.   Slavery in Performance and Popular Culture

The Coming, written by Daniel Black, provides a vivid chronicle of the Middle Passage endured by captured Africans on their tragic voyage to enslavement in the Americas. Dr. Black will discuss the complexities of theatrical and literary interpretations of slavery as a means of educating museum audiences with Rex M. Ellis, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.  Coffee and Registration

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  (Remembering and Disremembering) Facing or Deflecting the Past in Exhibitions

Publics, as much as historians and large cultural institutions, define how difficult history is remembered or forgotten. Smaller and independent sites and communities increasingly tell local stories of slavery and history that reflect local public memory and desires to remember or disremember a specific past.

  • Mary N. Elliott, Museum Specialist, The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Michael Frazier, African Burial Ground National Monument, National Park Service
  • Meredith Hardy, Archeologist, Southeast Archaeological Center, Nationalal Park Service
  • Ibrahima Thiaw, Associate Professor of Archaeology at the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal
  • Jennifer Tosch, Founder of Black Heritage Tours, The Netherlands & New York State
  • Moderator: Françoise N. HamlinAssociate Professor of Africana Studies and History, Brown University

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Lunch

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.  Case Studies in Public History

  • Sandra Arnold, Founder and Director, Periwinkle Initiative, and Graduate Fellow for the Study of the Public History of Slavery at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University
  • The Rev. Canon Linda L. Grenz, Canon to the Ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, and The Center for Reconciliation at the Cathedral of St. John
  • Emily M. N. Kugler, Assistant Professor of English, Howard University, and Member of the Board of Advisors, Middle Passage Ceremonies & Port Marker Project
  • Moderator: Susan SmulyanProfessor of American Studies, and Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Brown University

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Building and Design in Slave Memorials and Museums

Design and interaction with the natural and built landscape are essential elements of memorialization. Architects and artists discuss slavery as inspiration for sculpture and building design, and the ways in which they consider the visual impact of the public experience of commemoration.

  • Pascal Berthelot, Architect,  ATELIER ARCHITECTURE BMC
  • Rodney Leon, Founder and Principal of Rodney Leon Architects, PLLC
  • Sara Zewde, Designer, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) 
  • Moderator: Kirk SavageProfessor of History of Art & Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.  Coffee Break

4:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Concluding Roundtable

  • David W. Blight, Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition and Class of 1954 Professor of American History, Yale University
  • Anthony Bogues, Director, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory, Brown University
  • Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University
  • Martin Hall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, University of Cape Town 
  • Richard Rabinowitz, President, American History Workshop
  • Moderator: Roquinaldo FerreiraAssociate Director, Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice, and Vasco da Gama Associate Professor of Early Modern Portuguese History, Brown University

6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.  Closing Remarks