Slavery as History, Slavery as Fiction

CALL FOR PAPERS

Multi-session Workshop

Slavery as History, Slavery as Fiction

129th American Historical Association Meeting

New York City
January 2 – 5, 2015

Convenor

Ana Lucia Araujo
Associate Professor
Department of History
Howard University
Washington, DC

At least since the 1960s scholars have discussed the boundaries between history and fiction, including the specific features that characterize these two forms of discourse (Barthes 1967, Hayden White 1973). Whereas literary critics like Patricia Waugh have argued that “writing of history is a fictional act” (Waugh 1984: 48), Linda Hutcheon has forged the term “historiographic metafiction” to discuss novels that combine self-reflexion and historical events and characters, by questioning the status of what historians call “facts” (Hutcheon 1988, 122). Likewise, historian Hayden White has pointed out that writing of history relies on narrative, a mode of representation that remains deeply attached to the archives that exist in textual forms (White 1984). Although during the 1990s, the postmodernist debate on history as narration gradually lost its visibility, other scholars continued developing the dialogue between history and fiction, by underscoring the role of fiction in producing knowledge (Schaeffer 1999) and insisting on how visual images can serve as historical evidence (Burke 2001). Today, scholars face the challenge of making histories of slavery understandable to wider audiences either in scholarly books or museum exhibitions. At the same time, movies and television series (Roots, Quilombo, Xica da Silva, Amistad, Tropiques Amers, Lincoln, Django Enchained, and Twelve Years a Slave) as well as books and novels (Beloved by Toni Morrison, Rough Crossings by Simon Schama, Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill) have been portraying slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in various ways. This workshop explores the use of fiction in writing history and the use of history in works of fiction like novels, films, and various kinds of artworks. How historians of slavery appropriate or allegedly reject fictional devices to write their works? How fiction and imagination can help filling the gaps left by primary sources? How the historical mode of discourse is employed in novels, films, and artworks exploring slavery as a theme in order to sustain the motto “based on a true story”? Focusing on any time period and any geographical areas, this workshop will discuss the intersections between history and fiction. Papers exploring narrative and fictional dimensions of primary sources (letters, diaries, travelogues, wills, photographs, drawings, and others) and the historical dimension of films, novels, plays, television series, paintings, installations, and other artworks are particularly welcome. The workshop will comprise the traditional formal panels, as well as roundtables.

References:

Barthes, Roland. “Le discours de l’histoire.” Social Science Information 6 (1967): 63-75.

Burke, Peter. Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images As Historical Evidence. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: Routledge, 1988.

Schaeffer, Jean-Marie. Pourquoi la fiction? Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1999.

Waugh, Patricia. Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction. London: Methuen, 1984.

White, Hayden. “The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory.” History and Theory 23, no. 1 (1984): 1-33.

White, Hayden V. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.

Please send your paper proposal no later than February 1st 2014 to:
aaraujo@howard.edu or analucia.araujo@gmail.com

Paper proposals must contain:
Paper’s title
Abstract (maximum 300 words)
Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words, no curriculum vitae, please)
Correct mailing and e-mail address
Audiovisual needs, if any

Chairs and commentators, please send:
Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words, no curriculum vitae, please)
Correct mailing and e-mail addresses

Please note:
Abstracts of proposals accepted by the AHA committee will be posted on the AHA program website.
Papers must be submitted on December 1st 2014

CFP – Representing the Irrepresentable: Narratives and Visual Images of Slavery, Forced Labor, and Genocide

CALL FOR PAPERS

Multi-Session Workshop

Representing the Irrepresentable: Narratives and Visual Images of Slavery, Forced Labor, and Genocide

127th American Historical Association Meeting; New Orleans, January 3 – 6, 2013

Convened by Ana Lucia Araujo (Department of History; Howard University, Washington, DC)

This workshop will gather scholars working on written narratives (documents, autobiographies, personal journals, novels, etc.) and visual images (painting, drawings, photographs, engravings, movies, etc.) dealing with forced displacement, enslavement, slavery, forced labor, war, and genocide. The various participants will engage in understanding how the multiple dimensions of traumatic human experiences can be conveyed through images and narratives. How historians can examine written and visible representations of irrepresentable events? Can narratives and images provide reliable and/or accurate information for historians to interpret traumatic dimensions of past and present human experience? How historians articulate the use of eyewitness accounts (visual and written) with fiction (novel, films) in order to represent past traumatic experiences? What are the limits, the challenges, and the possibilities faced by historians who employ narratives and images of trauma in their works? By focusing on various historical periods and geographical areas, scholars are invited to submit proposals addressing these questions and examining specific case studies. Papers focusing on the Atlantic slave trade and slavery, colonialism in Africa, the Holocaust, Nazi labor camps, the Armenian genocide, the Apartheid, the Rwandan genocide, the war in Darfur, contemporary slavery, and human trafficking, are welcome.

Please send your paper proposal no later than February 1st 2012 to:

aaraujo@howard.edu or analucia.araujo@gmail.com

Paper proposals must contain:

– Paper’s title

– Abstract (up to 300 words)

– Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words, no curriculum vitae, please)

– Correct mailing and e-mail address

– Audiovisual needs, if any

 Chairs and commentators, please send:

– Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words, no curriculum vitae, please)

– Correct mailing and e-mail addresses

Please note:

– Abstracts of accepted proposals will be posted on the AHA program website.

– Papers must be submitted on December 1st 2012 for the panel commentators.

Discussing and Assessing the Work of Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996)

The 54th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association
November 17-20, 2011
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

Panel Proposal:

Discussing and Assessing the Work of Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996)

Convener: Ana Lucia Araujo
Howard University (Washington, DC)

[French follows]
Discussing and Assessing the Work of Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996)

This panel aims to examine, discuss and assess the visual and written production of photographer, scholar and babalawo Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996). Perceived in some circles as an individual who helped to promote and renew the links between Brazil and West Africa (especially the Bight of Benin) and in other spheres as the traditional Frenchman colonizer who built his career by depicting black subjects, one could not deny the crucial contribution of Pierre Verger to the study of African religions and the Afro-Luso-Brazilian exchanges. Well-known in his homeland France, as well as in Brazil, Republic of Benin and Nigeria, where he spent many years of his life conducting research, few scholarly works have assessed the contribution of Pierre Verger as ethnographer and self-made historian. This panel aims to fill out this gap, by bringing together historians, ethnologists, anthropologists, and art historians to criticize, evaluate and (why not) celebrate the work of Pierre Verger. Original papers examining different aspects of Verger’s visual and written work based on fieldwork and archival experience are welcome.

[Portuguese follows]
Discuter et évaluer le travail de Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996)
Ce panel a pour objectif de discuter et d’évaluer la production visuelle et textuelle du photographe, ethnologue et babalawo Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996). Perçu dans certains cercles comme un individu qui a contribué à promouvoir et renouveller les liens entre le Brésil et l’Afrique de l’Ouest (notamment le Golfe du Bénin) et dans d’autres milieux comme le colonisateur blanc français qui a bâti sa carrière représentant les individus africains ou afro-descendants, il demeure difficile de nier la contribution magistrale de Pierre Verger à l’étude des religions africaines et aux échanges Afro-Luso-Brésiliens. Bien connu en sa France natale, ainsi qu’au Brésil, la République du Bénin et au Nigéria, où il a passé plusieurs années de sa vie menant des recherchers, très peu de travaux académiques ont analysé la contribution de Pierre Verger comme ethnologue et historien presque autodidacte. Ce panel vise à remplir cette lacune, en rassemblant des historiens, ethnologues, anthropologues et historiens de l’art pour critiquer, évaluer et (pourquoi pas) célebrer le travail de Pierre Verger. Des propositions originales, basées sur du travail de terrain et dans les archives, examinant différents aspects du travail visuel et écrit de Verger sont les bienvenues.

Discutindo e avaliando o trabalhao de Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996)
Este painel tem como objetivo discutir e avaliar a produção visual e escrita do fotógrafo, etnólogo e babalawo Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902-1996). Percebido em certos círculos como um indivíduo que contribuiu para promover e renovar os vínculos entre o Brasil e a África Ocidental (principalmente o Golfo do Benim) e em outros como sendo o colonizador branco francês que construiu sua carreira representando indivíduos africanos ou afro-descendentes, é difícil de negar a imensa contribuição de Pierre Verger ao estudo das religiões africanas e às trocas afro-luso-brasileiras. Conhecido em sua França natal, assim como no Brasil, na República do Benim e na Nigéria, onde passou muitos anos de sua vida fazendo pesquisa, pouquíssimos trabalhos acadêmicos analisaram a contribuição de Pierre Verger como etnólogo et historiador quase autodidata. Este painel busca preencher esta lacuna reunindo historiadores, etnólogos, antropólogos e historiadores da arte para criticar, avaliar e (por que não) celebrar o trabalho de Pierre Verger. Propostas de trabalho originais, baseadas em pesquisa de campo e em arquivos, examinando diferente aspectos do trabalho visual e escrito de Verger são bem-vindas.

Please send your proposal in ENGLISH no later than March 1st to: analucia.araujo@gmail or aaraujo@howard.edu

For paper proposals: send a short abstract (300 words, maximum), a short bio paragraph (250 words maximum), and full contact information.

Chair and commentators: send a short bio paragraph (250 words maximum) and full contact information.

In the ASA system you must enter the information by yourself and you will be required to become member and to preregister in order to be able to submit your paper on ASA’s website.

* Before submitting your proposal, remember that ASA does not cover travel costs and other fees.

More information on ASA’s webiste.

CFP Multi-session workshop AHA 2012 : Moving Communities and Networks in the Era of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Multi-Session Workshop:

Ana Lucia Araujo (convener)
Department of History, Howard University

126th American Historical Association Meeting

Chicago
January 6-9, 2012

In the last years scholars have paid attention to the formation of communities and networks across and beyond the Atlantic Ocean during the period of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In several regions, these communities—often constituted of enslaved and freed men and women who returned from the Americas to Africa, as well as slave merchants—contributed to the development of commercial, cultural, and religious exchanges that sometimes continued after the end of the Atlantic slave trade. All over and beyond the Atlantic basin these networks were supported by individuals such as local chiefs, captains, crewmembers, interpreters, overseers, and other employees, who can hardly be defined only as victims or perpetrators, but rather as in-betweens who played essential roles in the slave trade. The activities and the way these individuals and groups identify themselves changed over time depending on personal ties, and the local and trans-Atlantic contexts. Suitable papers will examine economic activities, traditions, as well as cultural and religious practices developed by these networks and communities during the period of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Papers developing comparative analysis and/or focusing on the role of in-betweens and other social actors who supported the slave trade are particularly welcomed.

Please send your paper proposal no later than February 1st 2011 to:
aaraujo@howard.edu or analucia.araujo@gmail.com

Paper proposals in ENGLISH must contain:
– Paper’s title
– Abstract (up to 300 words)
– Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words, no curriculum vitae, please)
– Correct mailing and e-mail address
– Audiovisual needs, if any

Chairs and commentators, please send:

– Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words, no curriculum vitae, please)
– Correct mailing and e-mail addresses

Please note:

– Abstracts of accepted proposals will be posted on the AHA program website.
– Papers must be submitted on December 1st 2011 to be posted on the conference website.

Image credits: Divination Ceremony and Dance, Brazil, 1630s. C. Ferrao and J. P. Soares, eds., Dutch Brazil, The “Thierbuch” and “Autobiography” of Zacharias Wagener (Rio de Janeiro, Editora Index, 1997), vol. 2, p. 193, plate 105. Image Reference NW0321, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.