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Slavery’s Hinterlands Symposium

May 2, 2019 - May 4, 2019


Slavery’s Hinterlands is a two-day symposium gathering academic and public historians to explore American slavery as it was: not merely the South’s “peculiar” institution, but a core feature of American capitalism and empire; a critical facet of the industrial revolution, territorial expansion, and native dispossession that made the United States the most powerful nation on earth. The symposium compels us to rethink the geography of American slavery, not merely where it took place, but also where the fruits of human bondage were reaped.

The event will explore the entangled histories of slavery and capitalism: stretching from African and indigenous slavery in New England to the Haitian Revolution, the industrial revolution, the transformation of Indian territories into plantation states, and the sex trade in antebellum New Orleans—and also how our public institutions remember and reproduce the past. Instead of panels, Daniel Denvir, the host of Jacobin’s The Dig podcast, will conduct live interviews to be aired on the show.

Symposium Schedule:
Thursday, May 2, 2019
6:30 PM
Christy Clark-Pujara talk: “Living and Laboring in the Business of Slavery”
Location: Cathedral of St. John, 271 North Main St., Providence, RI

Friday, May 3, 2019
3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Slater Mill Tour led by Joey La Neve DeFrancesco
Location: 67 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket, RI
The tour with explore the role of slavery in the rise of industrial capitalism and the American labor movement.
Register online: https://bit.ly/slatermill

4:45 PM – 6:30 PM
Live interviews and panels at
Location: Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860

Saturday, May 4, 2019
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM & 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
College Hill Walking Tours highlighting the history of slavery and black Rhode Island led by Elon Cook and Marco McWilliams
Tour start location: 52 Power Street, Providence, RI 02906
Register online: https://bit.ly/collegehilltour

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM & 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
John Brown House Tours led by Rhode Island Historical Society Executive Director Morgan Grefe
Location: 52 Power Street, Providence, RI 02906
Register online: https://bit.ly/jbrownhouse

11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Live interviews and Panels at Brown University
Location: 85 Waterman Street, Providence, RI, Room 130

Symposium participants include:

  • Christy Clark-Pujara and Joanne Melish on slavery in New England and Rhode Island,
  • Crystal Eddins and Zachary Sell on Revolution and Counterrevolution in Haiti and the US,
  • Lin Fisher on indigenous enslavement,
  • Emily Owens on the sex trade in antebellum New Orleans,
  • Seth Rockman on slavery and capitalism, and
  • Akeia Benard, Elon Cook, Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, and Marco McWilliams on how to teach slavery’s past in New England’s present.

All events are free and open to the public. Space on the tours will be limited to those who reserve a free spot ahead of time.

Presented by Jacobin’s The Dig podcast, The Center for Reconciliation, and Brown University’s History Department, Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Department of Africana Studies, and Swearer Center, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Blackstone Valley Visitor Center and Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark. With support from the Rhode Island Council of Humanities.


May 2, 2019
May 4, 2019
Event Category:


RI United States + Google Map