Tag Archives: Transatlantic Slave Trade

Updated Symposium Programme: Representations of Slavery

Please note that the program me for the Representations of Slavery in Neoliberal Times Symposium to be held at the University of Newcastle on Friday 25th May has been updated and will now take place as below:

Selected images from : Positive Negative Guardian Paperworks via: http://www.lubainahimid.info/

Programme of events

1.oopm – Refreshments available

1.10 – 1.15 – Welcome by Conference Co-Convener

Carolyn Pedwell, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

1:15 – 2:15 – Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Chair: Daniel McNeil, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

2:15 – 3:15 – Julia O’Connell Davidson

School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Chair: Anne Graefer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

3:15 – 3.45 – Coffee break

3.45 – 4.45Carolyn Pedwell,

Alternative Empathies: Representing Slavery’s Affective Afterlives

Chair: John Richardson, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

4.45 – 5.45 – Roundtable

Dr. Kate Manzo (Geography, Newcastle University)

Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle University)

Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle University)

Chair: Daniel McNeil

6.00pm – Wine Reception

Northern Stage

—————————–

 
Abstracts

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

This essentially visual presentation will attempt to show how The Guardian newspaper in 2007, and then just as strongly during subsequent years, constantly suggests that European sports teams and clubs disproportionally overspend when buying, selling and keeping black players.  While this is not an unusual stance by journalists in the British sporting press, The Guardian by frequently and jokily representing footballers and athletes via mocking photographs, degrading texts and or damaging juxtapositions of both, subtly ‘reminds’ its readers, many of whom are public health and social workers, teachers and academics as well as workers in the creative industries, of historically familiar racial stereotypes. The newspaper designers, by taking this approach, contribute to a situation in which the athletes remain within a ‘state of unbelonging’.

Much of Lubaina Himid’s recent creative visual practice has been taken up with building this archive of images and texts. The creation of a series of paper works, Negative Positives, in which ‘over-painting to emphasise’ has gone some way towards reclaiming the dignity of the people represented has however, to some degree, minimalised the findings and rendered them outside the debates they were intended to develop. Through the sharing of a range of these collected images both overpainted and in their original state, many from the year of commemoration 2007, Himid will invite discussion around how this subtle and oftentimes witty degradation of wealthy black elites undermines the campaigns opposed to contemporary slavery while at the same time visually fixing the black person as ‘other’ to be bought and sold.

 

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

In dominant discourse on ‘trafficking’, mobility, debt and dependence are configured in a very particular way and the kind of debt involved is clearly marked as disturbing, dangerous, illegal, morally wrong. The trafficker’s objective is to make repayment impossible and so to establish personal, inescapable, and highly asymmetrical relations of power and dependency. Relations between trafficker and victim are represented as the very antithesis of freedom – trafficking is frequently referred to as ‘modern slavery’. And yet debt that generates relations of dependency is also often a feature of forms of mobility that are legally sanctioned; debt that compels people to take on work that they would otherwise refuse is hardly uncommon in Western liberal democracies; and the techniques used to recover legally sanctioned loans from citizen-debtors can be highly coercive. But legally sanctioned debt, backed by the coercive powers of the state, is not framed as ‘modern slavery’. Indeed, in neoliberal times, access to credit, i.e., the ability to indebt oneself by entering into socially sanctioned creditor-debtor relations, is a marker of social inclusion, something that both reflects and affirms political belonging and subjectivity. Starting from an interest in debt as a social relation, and in questions about why some debt relations are sanctioned while others are denounced, this paper is concerned with the ways in which liberal discourse on freedom, rights and citizenship constructs particular types of debt and dependency as ‘modern slavery’ while endorsing other arrangements that, from the vantage point of the individual affected, may appear equally if not more pernicious.

Alternative Empathies: Representing Slavery’s Affective Afterlives

Carolyn Pedwell, Newcastle University

Against the dominant universalist injunction to ‘be empathetic’, this paper explores the possibilities  of alternative histories, practices and affects of empathy in the context of postcoloniality and neoliberalism.  Offering a critical reading of Antiguan American author Jamaica Kincaid’s postcolonial  text  A Small Place (1988), it examines how empathy expressed at the margins of our social and geo-political imaginaries might disrupt or refigure some of the dominant ways that affect is thought and mobilised in liberal and neoliberal discourses.  As a powerful commentary on the political, economic and affective links between colonialism and slavery and contemporary practices of tourism in the Caribbean that has provoked intense emotional responses among its readers, A Small Place offers a pertinent site through which to explore how history, power and violence shape the meanings and effects of empathy.  It illustrates how the affective afterlives of colonialism, slavery and racism shape contemporary subjectivities in ways that are not easy to penetrate, nor possible to undo, through the power of empathetic will or imagination alone.  In doing so, Kincaid’s text also considers the role that alternative empathies can play in interrogating the idea of time as linear, progressive and universal.  The continuing dialogue with loss and its aftermath that alternative empathies can engender, I argue, allows for engaging with ‘the performative force of the past’ (Munoz, 2009) in ways that invite us to break from fixed patterns and positionings and enter into a ‘more   demanding’, and potentially more ethical, relationship to the world and our being in it (Kincaid, 1988: 57).  I thus explore how alternative empathies might open out to affective politics which do not view emotions instrumentally as sources of – or solutions to – complex social and political problems, but rather examine diverse and shifting feeling states for what they tell us about the affective workings of power in a transnational world.

Upcoming Symposium: Representations of Slavery in Neoliberal Times

PLEASE NOTE PROGRAMME IS UPDATED IN AN ABOVE POST

Selected images from: Positive Negative Guardian Paperworks by Lubaina Himid via: http://www.lubainahimid.info/

We are happy to announce a one-day symposium to  be held at the University of Newcastle on Friday 25th May.

This symposium brings together speakers who address neoliberalism, contemporary slavery and modern slavery through the concept of representation (visual, affective, cultural and media).  It is hosted by Media and Cultural Studies, the Postcolonial Research Group and the Gender Research Group at Newcastle University.

Location: Research Beehive, Room 2.20, Old Library Building, Newcastle University

Time/Date: Friday 25th May 2012, 13:00 – 18:00, followed by a wine reception at Northern Stage.

Speakers:

Professor Marcus Wood, School of English, University of Sussex

Film Performance and the Memory of Slavery in Very Liberal Times

Professor Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Roundtable participants:

Dr. Kate Manzo (Politics, Newcastle), Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle), Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle)

This is a free event, but places are limited. To book a place, please contact: Carolyn Pedwell: carolyn.pedwell@ncl.ac.uk

—————————————————————————————

Abstracts

Film Performance and the Memory of Slavery in Very Liberal Times

Professor Marcus Wood, School of English, University of Sussex

Marcus Wood will introduce and screen three short performance films that explore how the traumatic memory of slavery and colonization has been encoded in art and literature. High Tar Babies questions assumptions surrounding the concept of blackness and is intimately related to Wood’s recent tar paintings about race, hatred, slavery, and love. Kiss the Bat plays with the symbolism of the baseball bat. It highlights its significance as a symbol of at once American achievement – in that the sport is a successful cultural export – and ghetto brutality, dysfunction and violence (the bat being a weapon of choice). Stick features the adventures of a giant hockey stick as it moves through the Baroda riots in Gujarat and various sacred spaces of Hindu culture in India.

Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Professor Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire 

This essentially visual presentation will attempt to show how The Guardian newspaper in 2007, and then just as strongly during subsequent years, constantly suggests that European sports teams and clubs disproportionally overspend when buying, selling and keeping black players.  While this is not an unusual stance by journalists in the British sporting press, The Guardian by frequently and jokily representing footballers and athletes via mocking photographs, degrading texts and or damaging juxtapositions of both, subtly ‘reminds’ its readers, many of whom are public health and social workers, teachers and academics as well as workers in the creative industries, of historically familiar racial stereotypes. The newspaper designers, by taking this approach, contribute to a situation in which the athletes remain within a ‘state of unbelonging’.

Much of Lubaina Himid’s recent creative visual practice has been taken up with building this archive of images and texts. The creation of a series of paper works, Negative Positives, in which ‘over-painting to emphasise’ has gone some way towards reclaiming the dignity of the people represented has however, to some degree, minimalised the findings and rendered them outside the debates they were intended to develop. Through the sharing of a range of these collected images both overpainted and in their original state, many from the year of commemoration 2007, Himid will invite discussion around how this subtle and oftentimes witty degradation of wealthy black elites undermines the campaigns opposed to contemporary slavery while at the same time visually fixing the black person as ‘other’ to be bought and sold.

Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

In dominant discourse on ‘trafficking’, mobility, debt and dependence are configured in a very particular way and the kind of debt involved is clearly marked as disturbing, dangerous, illegal, morally wrong. The trafficker’s objective is to make repayment impossible and so to establish personal, inescapable, and highly asymmetrical relations of power and dependency. Relations between trafficker and victim are represented as the very antithesis of freedom – trafficking is frequently referred to as ‘modern slavery’. And yet debt that generates relations of dependency is also often a feature of forms of mobility that are legally sanctioned; debt that compels people to take on work that they would otherwise refuse is hardly uncommon in Western liberal democracies; and the techniques used to recover legally sanctioned loans from citizen-debtors can be highly coercive. But legally sanctioned debt, backed by the coercive powers of the state, is not framed as ‘modern slavery’. Indeed, in neoliberal times, access to credit, i.e., the ability to indebt oneself by entering into socially sanctioned creditor-debtor relations, is a marker of social inclusion, something that both reflects and affirms political belonging and subjectivity. Starting from an interest in debt as a social relation, and in questions about why some debt relations are sanctioned while others are denounced, this paper is concerned with the ways in which liberal discourse on freedom, rights and citizenship constructs particular types of debt and dependency as ‘modern slavery’ while endorsing other arrangements that, from the vantage point of the individual affected, may appear equally if not more pernicious.

The full program me is now confirmed:

Programme of events 

1pm: Refreshments available

1.10 – 1.15: Welcome by Conference Co-Convener, Carolyn Pedwell, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

1:15 – 2:15: Professor Marcus Wood, School of English, University of Sussex: Film Performance and the Memory of Slavery in Very Liberal Times

Chair: Daniel McNeil, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

——————–

2:15 – 3:15: Professor Lubaina Himid, Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire: Negative Positives: The Guardian, The Slave, The Wit and The Money

Chair: Daniel McNeil

 ——————–

3:15 – 3.45: Coffee break

———————

3.45 – 4.45: Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham: Debt, Freedom and Slavery in Neoliberal Times

Chair: Anne Graefer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

———————–

4.45 – 5.45: Roundtable

Dr. Kate Manzo (Geography, Newcastle University); Dr. Diana Paton (History, Newcastle University); Dr. Rachel Wells (Fine Art, Newcastle University)

Chair: Carolyn Pedwell

————————

6pm: Wine Reception, Northern Stage

PLEASE NOTE PROGRAMME IS UPDATED IN AN ABOVE POST


The First Black Britons DVD

Thanks to Tony T for passing on the information about this resource:

“The First Black Britons” is a DVD resource on the West India Regiment (made for BBC TV in 2005)

A link to the trailer is posted below (and is available to view on Vimeo.com via: http://vimeo.com/37661768)

‘The First Black Britons’ can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk or from our
distributor’s website www.beckmanndirect.com.

“Originally broadcast on BBC Television, “The First Black Britons” presents a
wealth of information and historical discovery, delivered (to-camera) in a
warm and ‘to-the-point’ style. Our film reveals the incredible hidden
history of thousands of African men (11,000 by the year 1800), lifted from
slavery to lead a journey to citizenship in the New World – as equals of
white comrades in arms. They fought in the Napoleonic Wars as the West
India Regiment (1795-1927).

“One of Britain’s leading TV comedy actors, Gary Beadle presents our story
as a journey of discovery in Barbados, Jamaica, Liverpool, London and
Windsor. Illustrated by a wealth of photographs and pictures, this dramatic
and compelling story is ‘brought to life’ by actors in scenes based on the
actual quotes of Prime Minister William Pitt (the younger), his friend,
William Wilberforce, Queen Victoria, and, the very soldiers who shaped
attitudes to race and identity at each turn of the infamous triangular
Slave Trade – involving Britain, West Africa and the Americas.

“The viewer discovers tourist attractions, social and political history,
culture and heritage. 59-minutes are divided into 3 x 18-minute stories,
structured as follows:

Story 1. ‘Slaves in Redcoats’:
How the government of abolitionist Prime Minister, William Pitt (the
younger) secretly purchased a slave-army to defeat French and Napoleonic
forces in the Americas.

Story 2. ‘The Queen’s Gentlemen’:
How Britain’s first African army won the personal favour of Queen
Victoria, and carved a unique status as a new class of citizen – ‘Black
British’.

Story 3. ‘The Prodigals’ Return’:
How West India Regiment soldiers – ‘the sons of slaves’ – exacted bloody
revenge on the ‘Chiefdoms’ that sold them into captivity, returning to the
infamous slave forts of West Africa to win 2 Victoria Cross medals, in a
‘Action Adventure’ of imperial conquest.

For further details of the programme do please have a look at our website:
www.sweetpatootee.co.uk
Tony T and Rebecca Goldstone
Sweet Patootee Ltd”

Transatlantic Slave Trade Visual Record Online: Updated

THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE AND SLAVE LIFE IN THE AMERICAS: A VISUAL RECORD

Website:  www.slaveryimages.org

This searchable collection of 1,275 images continues to be revised and
corrected on a regular basis. Since the last up-date report in August
2007, corrections and modifications have been made to already existing
entries, but new images have been added, particularly on the Caribbean,
U.S. South and West Africa in the nineteenth century.

The latter include 22 unique, unpublished drawings and watercolors of
social life, settlements, and material culture along West African coastal
areas, particularly Liberia and what is today Equatorial Guinea (Corisco
Island).  These materials are held by the Department of Special
Collections of the University of Virginia Library (see <
http://www.slaveryimages.org&gt; image references UVA01 and following).

The compilers particularly request assistance in identifying the
provenience and content of these drawings, as they continue to welcome
more generally any suggestions for corrections or modifications to the
current bibliographic and historical information.  They appreciate hearing
from persons with specialist knowledge of any of the images. Such persons,
from a variety of fields in a number of countries, have helped to improve
information in the entries, thus enhancing the site’s value as a research
and teaching tool.  The website continues to be widely used; for example,
from 4 Feb. 2007 to 25 Oct. 2010, the site has been accessed by over
515,000 “unique visitors.”

Comments can be addressed to Handler at jh3v@virginia.edu