Centre for Studies in Literature

Enslavement: Colonial Appropriations, Apparitions, Remembrances

Annual Postgraduate Symposium 2011

Keynote Speaker: Professor James Walvin (University of York)

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 considered the wider connotations of the term ‘enslavement’ as well as its more specific importance in critical studies of slavery, memory and cultural return.

For further information, please contact Lucy Ball and Jane Ford: cslpgconf@port.ac.uk


  • Plenary: Professor James Walvin (University of York)
     ‘Remembering and Forgetting: Slavery and the Public Imagination’
  • Jessica Moody (University of York)
    A 'proud and shameful eminence': Remembering Slavery in Liverpool Histories
  • Lucy Ball (University of Portsmouth)
  • Aylin Basaran (University of Vienna)
    Referring to the Colonial Past: Historical Discourses, Collective Memory and its Implications for Contemporary Concepts of Identity and Agency in Tanzania
  • Mary Grace Albanese (Columbia University)
    Imperfect Genealogies: The Cosmopolitan Poetics of Victor Séjour's Le Mulâtre
  • Paula Dumas (University of Edinburgh)
    'Why will you make me strike you?': The oppression of Hampshire in J. W. Orderson's The Fair Barbadian and Faithful Black
  • Gabrielle Mearns (Warwick University)
    Slavery, the Factory System and the Female Philanthropist in Frances Trollope's The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, Factory Boy
  • Plenary: Professor John Oldfield (University of Southampton)
    ‘2007 Revisited: Commemoration, Ritual and British Transatlantic Slavery’
  • Gareth Curless (University of Exeter)
    'Coping with the contradictions': Slavery and wage-labour in Sudan, 1898-1924
  • Marianne Corrigan (Keele University)
    Power, plantation, paradise: Economic Colonialism and the Politics of Enslavement in Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place
  • Ruta Brazinskaite (University of Leeds)
    Education and psychological enslavement in Merle Hodge's Crick Crack, Monkey
  • Sarah Flocken (University of Edinburgh)
    'Outside of here it's death'... 'and so they die in mutual dependence': Mommas and Dadas, Masters and Slaves in Jelinek's Women as Lovers and Beckett's Endgame
  • Alex Messem (University of Portsmouth)
    ‘A Psychological Enslavement’: Self-mutilation in the New Woman short story, 1880-1900
  • Martin Paul Eve (University of Sussex)
    'The Driver's Whip is an evil thing': Enlightenment as mass enslavement in the works of Thomas Pynchon 
  • Sabrina Zerar (Mouloud Mammeri University)
    Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Edward Burghard DuBois: their appropriation and abrogation of Hegel's Master and Slave Dialectic
  • Dannie Hancock (University of York)
    Incest as Protest: Literature's Deviant Explorations of Slavery's Repercussions
  • Imola Bulgozdi (Independent Scholar)
    Contingent identities: Southern Belles and their Dark Sisters
  • Victoria Smith (Warwick University)
    Companion to the King: Re-reading Cugoano's Fante Upbringing
  • Scott Henkel (Binghamton University)
    Protagonism in C. L. R. James' The Black Jacobins