An international conference at Emory University, February 3-6, 2011

Video footage of the conference "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies," Feb. 3-6, 2011 at Emory University is now available, via iTunes University.

Day of Reflection and Remembrance: Sunday, Feb. 6 in Newton County

Note: Detailed draft conference program available. Download: su_draft-1.pdf

Note: Conference poster and program now available. Download:.

Conference Description: The impact of the African slave trade and the enslavement of people of African descent in institutions of higher education in the Atlantic World has been largely unexamined until recently. With an increasing sense of urgency, scholars, students, staff, and community partners have begun to explore these complex histories both within and outside the walls of academe. Such efforts have sought to reconcile a more accurate understanding of the past, with current goals for institutional and community diversity and equity. This conference—the first of its kind—brings together scholars, community partners, staff, administrators, and students for the purpose of sharing research, teaching, and learning across the hierarchies of academic life and beyond.

For registration information visit

Conference and Plenary Sessions

Thursday, Feb 3, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University Glenn Auditorium, Emory Campus

Friday, Feb 4, 2011
8:30 a.m. WELCOME Emory Conference Center Hotel

9:00–10:40 a.m.
Panel 1: Pro-Slavery Thought
Panel 2: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University
at Clemson University
10:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Panel 3: Anti-slavery Thought and Activism
Panel 4: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University
at the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina

2:40–4:20 p.m.

Panel 5: Black Atlantic Transformations
Panel 6: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University
at the College of William and Mary

4:30–6:10 p.m.

Panel 7: Colleges after Emancipation
Panel 8: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University
at the College of Charleston and The Citadel

Saturday, Feb 5, 2011

8:30–10:10 a.m.

Panel 9: History, Memory, and Accountability
Panel 10: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University
at Harvard University

10:20 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Panel 11: Caribbean and African Memory and Mourning
Panel 12: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University
at the University of Virginia

2:15–3:55 p.m.
Panel 13: Researching and Teaching Slavery and the University at Emory University and Brown University


Sunday, Feb 6, 2011.11:00 a.m.–4:35 p.m.


11:00 a.m. Service of Worship and Remembrance. Grace United Methodist Church. Communion Sunday Service. 3145 Washington Street SW, Covington Georgia. (Sermon by Bishop Mike Watson. North Georgia Conference)

1:00 pm. Lunch at the Oxford College cafeteria. (Estimated price: $6.50)

2:30 p.m. Old Church in Oxford. Slavery and Jim Crow at Emory and in Newton County: A Talking Circle. Residents of Newton County and members of the Emory University community, including descendants of enslaved and slave-owning families, will reflect on slavery and its legacies. Panelists will begin the conversation and audience members will be invited to ask questions and share their own reflections.

4:15 pm. Wreath Laying in Oxford city cemetery in the historic African-American section of the cemetery and at the gravesite of Catherine "Miss Kitty" Boyd.[Installation in the cemetery of fLynn Marshall-Linnemeier's sculptural work, "Unraveling Miss Catherine's Cloak'.”]

NOTE: The talking circle in Old Church is cosponsored by the African American Historical Association of Newton County, The Oxford Historical Shrine Society, and the Transforming Community Project of Emory University.

For more information on the day of reflection, please contact Mark Auslander,

The Call for Proposals is now closed.

Call for Proposals: In recent years, an increasing number of scholars and students have explored the profound historical entanglements and legacies of slavery and the slave trade at institutions of higher learning. In some instances, critical reexaminations of slavery in the history of educational institutions have been sponsored or facilitated by senior administrations; in other cases, this kind of historical research and "memory work" has been pursued without official sanction or encouragement. This work has also inspired activism and change within universities and in the communities that surround them. This conference explores the full range of historical intersections between slavery and higher education, past and present, as well as the acknowledged and unacknowledged legacies of slavery and slave trades in the Academy.

We encourage paper and panel proposals on a wide range of topics, including:

  • The economic entanglement of universities in the slave trade and in slavery
  • The roles of colleges and universities in providing theological, legal and political legitimation for chattel slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade
  • Universities and the construction of racial knowledge in support of slavery and Jim Crow
  • The contributions of enslaved persons in the building and maintenance of colleges and universities
  • The experiences of enslaved persons and their descendants at institutions of higher learning
  • Universities as contributors to and inhibitors of abolitionism
  • Academic freedom, slavery and anti-slavery
  • How ideas about slavery and emancipation in educational institutions became templates for those institutions’ treatment of other groups (Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, other racial groups, women, imperial projects internationally)
  • Remembering and forgetting slavery in the context of universities, including exhibitions, memorials, and commemorative ceremonies
  • The establishment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities as institutions addressing the aftermath of slavery and debates around the education of freedpeople.
  • Memories and images of slavery at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Strategies for engaging students and community members in documenting the history of slavery at institutions of higher learning
  • Literary and artistic engagements with slavery in university contexts
  • University Librarians and archivists and their experiences with this research
  • How these histories inhibited or inspired institutional change throughout the twentieth century and today