Against Recovery?: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive

Friday, November 30th – Saturday, December 1st
King Juan Carlos Center
New York University
53 Washington Square South

An interdisciplinary conference that aims to foster discussion and debate about how emerging methods and archival practices in the study of slavery and freedom can generate new ideas about black political narratives in the Americas. We bring together scholars whose work asks what happens if we do not look to the archive as merely a space of recovery and vindication, but as one in which we can glimpse the multiple ways our subjects might have fashioned blackness and imagined futures that do not sit easily with more common historical narratives of progress and continuity.

Space is limited. To register, email  In your RSVP, please indicate if you will/will not be attending the works-in-progress seminar and/or Friday lunch.

Schedule below.

Friday, November 30th

10:15 am – 10:45 am: Registration and Coffee

10:45 am – 11:00 am: Welcome and Opening Remarks

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Archives and Methods in the Study of Slavery and Freedom: A Roundtable
Moderator: Jennifer Morgan, New York University
Thulani Davis, New York University
Martha Hodes, New York University
David Kazanjian, University of Pennsylvania
Ann Laura Stoler, The New School for Social Research

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm: Teaching Archivalism and African Americanist Scholarship: Luncheon and Discussion of Pedagogy
Lunch provided; space limited, RSVP required.
Phillip Brian Harper, New York University
Elizabeth McHenry, New York University

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Works-in-Progress Seminar
Papers will be pre-circulated; RSVP required.
Chair: Michael Ralph, New York University
Marisa Fuentes, Rutgers University
Thavolia Glymph, Duke University
Justin Leroy, New York University

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Coffee and Refreshments

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Keynote Address
Introduction: Shauna Sweeney, New York University
Vincent Brown, Harvard University

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Reception
Sponsored by the Humanities Initiative at New York University

Saturday, December 1st

9:30 am – 10:00 am: Coffee

10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Slavery and Freedom in Comparative Context
Chair: Samantha Seeley, New York University
Celia Naylor, Barnard College
Eve Troutt Powell, University of Pennsylvania
Mimi Sheller, Drexel University
Salamishah Tillet, University of Pennsylvania

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch Independently

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm: Emergent Scholarship in the Study of Slavery and Freedom: New York University Alumni
Chair: Kim Hall, Barnard College
Peter Hudson, Vanderbilt University
Natasha Lightfoot, Columbia University
Dawn Peterson, American Antiquarian Society and Emory University

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm: Closing Remarks
Introduction: Max Mishler, New York University
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Respondent: Laura Helton, New York University

Organized by Laura Helton, Justin Leroy, Max Mishler, Samantha Seeley, and Shauna Sweeney. Sponsored by New York University’s American History Workshop, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, the History Department, the English Department, the Humanities Initiative, the Workshop in Archival Practice, and CUNY Graduate Center.

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