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39th Annual African Literature Association conference--"Literature, Liberation, and the Law"--March 20-24, 2013, Charleston, SC
full name / name of organization:
Simon Lewis/ College of Charleston
Literature, Liberation, and the Law
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Conference Theme, and Rationale
o how liberation is inscribed in constitutions and declarations of human rights
Please send abstracts of up to 500 words for individual papers and/or four-person panels
Conference Hosts and Venue: The conference is hosted by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) program at the College of Charleston and the Charleston School of Law. Established in 1994, the CLAW program is dedicated to promoting scholarship on the Carolina Lowcountry, the Atlantic world, and the connections between the two. The program has established an impressive track record of conferences, symposia, seminars, and public lecture series, supported by significant digital archive initiatives and a book publication series with the University of South Carolina Press. Both the College of Charleston and the Charleston School of Law are committed to principles of diversity and international education, and both are acutely aware of the Africanness of Charleston and of the problematic history of race in our city.
The city of Charleston is thus a compelling site for the conference. While clearly identified in public perception as the center of secession and hence of Jim Crow segregation, Charleston can lay claim to being the birthplace of African America—the city was the site of disembarkation of an estimated 40% of enslaved Africans brought to continental North America during the period of the Atlantic slave trade. Connections between Charleston and slave forts such as Goree Island in Senegal and Bunce Island in Sierra Leone are well documented. In the latter case it has been possible to trace the lineage of families living in this area to individuals shipped from Bunce Island to Charleston in the 1750s. Given these connections, Charleston remains to this day one of the most African cities in the United States, the geographical center of the federally funded Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. The city has particularly close ties to West Africa, not only because of the slave trade, but also because of the large number of African-American Charlestonians connected with “repatriation” and colonization projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The city also has extremely close ties to the Caribbean, having been founded as an offshoot of the colony of Barbados. Many freed slaves from Charleston found their way to the Bahamas, while refugees from St. Domingue [Haiti] played an important role in early nineteenth-century Charleston (not least in motivating Denmark Vesey’s planned 1822 uprising), and filibustering Charlestonians sought to invade Cuba in the mid-nineteenth-century. Over the last two decades city authorities and private institutions have paid much greater attention to this history, preserving and marking key sites even as gentrification gnaws away at long-established communities.
Convener: Simon Lewis (College of Charleston) Conference Committee: Abdellatif Attafi, Viviane Bekrou, Tim Carmichael, Jack Parson, Mary Battle, Assan Sarr, John Walsh, John White (all College of Charleston); Deborah Gammons (Charleston School of Law)
Accommodation and Travel
The conference hotel is the Marriott Hotel, 170 Lockwood Boulevard, Charleston, SC 29403 (tel: 843-720-0835; fax: 843-723-0276; http://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/chsmc-charleston-marrio...). A large block of rooms has been reserved at the special conference rate of $149 + tax per night.
We are currently negotiating with airlines for discounted air-travel to Charleston, and with local tour operators for special conference rates for tours of the city and the surrounding area.