Home » Academic Events » May 4 & 5 | Freedom: a Mellon-Sawyer Symposium

May 4 & 5 | Freedom: a Mellon-Sawyer Symposium

May 4, 2017 – The Graduate Center, CUNY, May 5, 2017 – New York Public Library, Schwartzman Building

In what ways does an engagement with the concept of FREEDOM complicate, if not trouble , our understanding of colonial histories, individualism, sovereignty, the public sphere, liberalism, nationalism, republicanism, contemporary and post-colonial politics?

“Accumulation by Possession: The Afro-Indigenous 1690s”
David  Kazanjian – Department  of  English,  University  of Pennsylvania

“The Genealogy of Emancipation”
Joan Scott – School of Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Studies

“Michael Manley’s Styles of Radical Political Will”
David Scott – Department  of  Anthropology,  Columbia University

“Bound in Wedlock: Marriage, Slavery, and Freedom”
Tera W. Hunter – Department of History & African-American Studies, Princeton  University

“Black Radical(human)ism: Du Bois’s Cooperative Commonwealth”
Gary Wilder – Ph.D Program in Anthropology & History, The Graduate   Center

“When Freedom is Not at the Center of Stories We Tell”
Uday Mehta – Ph.D. Program in Political Science, The Graduate  Center

Day 1 Schedule – Graduate Center

Graduate Center
William P. Kelly Skylight Room (Room 9100)
365 Fifth Avenue

10:15 am
Opening Remarks
Herman L. Bennett (Ph.D. Program in History, The Graduate Center)

10:30 am – 12:00 pm
“Accumulation by Possession: The Afro-Indigenous 1690s”
David Kazanjian (Department of English, University of Pennsylvania)

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
“The Genealogy of Emancipation”
Joan Scott (School of Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Studies)

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Break

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm
“Michael Manley’s Styles of Radical Political Will”
David Scott (Department of Anthropology, Columbia University)

Day 2 Schedule – New York Public Library

New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Avenue

10:30 am
Registration/Welcome

11:00 am – 12:30 pm
“Bound in Wedlock: Marriage, Slavery, and Freedom”
Tera W. Hunter (Department of History & African-American Studies, Princeton University)
The Celeste Auditorium

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 pm
Lunch Break

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
“Black Radical(human)ism: Du Bois’s Cooperative Commonwealth”
Gary Wilder (Ph.D Program in Anthropology & History, The Graduate Center)
Margaret Liebman Berger Forum

3:30 pm – 4 pm
Coffee/Tea Break

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
“When Freedom is Not at the Center of Stories We Tell”
Uday Mehta (Ph.D. Program in Political Science, The Graduate Center)
Margaret Liebman Berger Forum

5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Panel
Margaret Liebman Berger Forum

Tera W. Hunter is a professor in the History Department and the Center for African-American Studies who specializes in African-American history and gender in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her research has focused on African American women and labor in the South during that period. Her first book, To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War, focuses on the experiences of working-class women, especially domestic workers, in Atlanta and other southern cities from Reconstruction through the 1920s. Michael Honey in his review in the American Historical Review called it a “triumph of research, astute analysis, and engaging imagination that deserves to be widely read by students of African-American, labor, and women’s studies and of American history.”

David Kazanjian received his PhD from the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley, his M.A. in Critical Theory from the University of Sussex, and his B.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. His area of specialization is transnational American literary and historical studies through the nineteenth century. His additional fields of research are political philosophy, continental philosophy, Latin American studies (especially nineteenth-century Mexico), colonial discourse studies, and Armenian diaspora studies. His book The Colonizing Trick: National Culture and Imperial Citizenship in Early America (Minnesota) offers a comparative study of colonial and antebellum, racial and national formations, and a critique of the formal egalitarianism that animated early U.S. citizenship.

Uday Mehta has taught at several universities, including Princeton, Cornell, MIT, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Hull and Amherst College. He is the author of The Anxiety of Freedom: Imagination and Individuality in the Political Thought of John Locke(Cornell University Press, 1992) and Liberalism and Empire, (University of Chicago Press, 2000). Liberalism and Empire was awarded the J. David Greenstone prize for the best book in Political Theory by the American Political Science Association in 2002. In 2003, Mehta was one of ten recipients of the prestigious “Carnegie Scholars” prize given to “scholars of exceptional creativity.” He has a forthcoming book titled A Different Vision: Gandhi’s Critique of Political Rationality.

David Scott is Professor of Anthropology and Fellow in the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University, New York. He is the author of a number of scholarly articles and three books, Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994); Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999); and Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), and co-editor with Charles Hirschkind of Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and his Interlocutors (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006). He is also the editor of the journal Small Axe.

Joan Scott‘s groundbreaking work has challenged the foundations of conventional historical practice, including the nature of historical evidence and historical experience and the role of narrative in the writing of history. Broadly, the object of her work is the question of difference in history: its uses, enunciations, implementations, justifications, and transformations in the construction of social and political life. Scott’s recent books have focused on the vexed relationship of the particularity of gender to the universalizing force of democratic politics. They include Gender and the Politics of History (1988), Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996), Parité: Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (2005), The Politics of the Veil (2007), and The Fantasy of Feminist History (2011).

Gary Wilder works on the French empire, colonial states, historical anthropology, and social/political theory, with a focus on western Africa, the Antilles, and Europe. He is the author of The French Imperial Nation-State: Negritude and Colonial Humanism between the Two World Wars (2005), which traces empire-wide networks of science, administration, public opinion, and literature that linked colonial reformers in French West Africa to a black public sphere in Paris. His current research project, “Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, Utopia,” examines post-World War II initiatives by African and Caribbean legislators to reconstitute France as a postcolonial federal democracy.

Find the full schedule here: https://freedom.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

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