Enslavement: Colonial Appropriations, Apparitions, Remembrances. 1750 - Present Day (17 June 2011)

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University of Portsmouth, Centre for Studies in Literature.
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University of Portsmouth, Centre for Studies in Literature
Annual Postgraduate Symposium

Keynote Speaker: Professor James Walvin

17th June 2011


Harold Bloom, in his critical introduction to Enslavement and Emancipation (2010) does not, as one might expect, lament the monstrous history of the slave trade. Instead, he returns to the second book of Tanakh (Exodus): an original tale of bondage and liberation. For Bloom, it is not merely a matter of re-imagining a theme now largely associated with the transatlantic slave trade, but moreover to consider how '[l]iberation movements to come will go on finding their model in it'. The Hebrews' bondage in Egypt, here conceptualized as archetypal suffering and liberation, resonates for Bloom throughout history, leaving its trace in subsequent emancipation movements. Recent studies in the slave trade, too, often move beyond the historical moment to consider how cultural events are remembered, appropriated and disseminated. This work has garnered interest in Britain since the bicentenary of abolition in 2007; the issue of remembrance remains somewhat political and contentious in the US today.

This symposium aims to consider the wider connotations of the term 'enslavement' as well as its more specific importance in critical studies of slavery, memory and cultural return. We welcome papers that consider ideas of colonial appropriation; fiscal, somatic, or agricultural enslavement and / or indenture in literature from 1750 to the present day.

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

o Slave Trade Literature
o Economies of Colonial Exploitation / Fiscal Enslavement
o Postcolonial Theory
o 'Hauntology' / Memory Theory and Slavery
o Psychological Enslavement.
o Hegelian Master / Slave Dialectics.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers. Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words to Lucy Ball and Jane Ford: cslpgconf@port.ac.uk