Little Britain's Memory of Slavery 2013:
Local Nuances of a 'National Sin'
13-14 September 2013, University College London
Click here to view the conference programme
In recent years there has been an explosion of interest around the history of the transatlantic slave trade fuelled largely by public, academic and institutional activities and projects undertaken for the national marking of 2007 as the Bicentenary of the Abolition Act in Britain. Alongside this there has been a greatly heightened academic and scholarly consideration of the way Britain has remembered this history through museum exhibitions, memorialisation and cultural representations in media, film and literature. Further large scale research initiatives have been set in motion to assess and explore the legacies of this history such as the ESRC funded Legacies of British Slavery Project at UCL and the recently initiated European-wide project combining genetics, archaeology and public history (EUROTAST). Numerous postgraduate and early career researchers across the country have also embarked upon individual projects of their own in a variety of disciplines across the humanities, including the organisers of this conference. Much of the research currently being done is turning away from the national picture and increasingly focusing on the smaller scale specifics of British involvement in transatlantic slavery, on the memory and legacies of individual people and places in their specific contexts and we are honoured to welcome some of the people pioneering these research strands from Catherine Hall’s work on nineteenth century biography, Alan Rice’s research into Lancaster’s memorial project, and Madge Dresser’s consideration of Bristol’s ‘obscured’ links to its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
This two day conference aims to facilitate a dialogue across institutions, disciplines and subject areas between people whose work addresses the smaller-scale specifics of Britain’s memory of slavery in more ‘local’ projects, looking at case studies of places, the lives and memory of individuals, networks and organisations across a broad span of time, from the 18th century to the present day. Through this intellectual exchange we aim to correlate the micro with the macro and probe the extent to which the literature on Britain’s national memory of slavery holds true for more nuanced case studies and specific research currently being carried out. The dialogue will thereby explore the interactions of 'levels of memory' in relation to this history whilst giving focus to individual and local agency and aiding a more complex understanding of the workings of memory in line with history.
Madge Dresser, University of the West of England
Catherine Hall, University College London
Plus an Artists in Conversation Event, chaired by Alan Rice, University of Central Lancashire
Welcome Address by John Oldfield, Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull.
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