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Legacy of Slavery and Indentured Labour – Linking the Past with the Future

Call for Papers – Conference on Slavery, Indentured Labour, Migration, Diaspora and Identity Formation
June 19th – 23th, 2018, Paramaribo, Suriname

International Conference in Suriname to commemorate:
 the 165th anniversary of Chinese immigration
 the 155th anniversary of abolition of slavery
 the 145th anniversary of immigration of East Indians
 the 128th anniversary of immigration of Indonesians
 the 50th Anniversary of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname

Foto © Michiel van Kempen

(Organized by the History Department of the Faculty of Humanities , the Institute for Graduate  Studies and Research (IGSR) in collaboration with the Social Science Research Institute (IMWO)  of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, and with support of the National Archives
Suriname (NAS), the Directorate of Culture (Ministry of Education, Science and Culture) and the  following cultural organizations: NAKS, Federasi fu Afrikan Srananman, CUS, NSHI, VHJI).  The present Surinamese and other Caribbean societies are a product of different forms of migration  of people, starting with the coming of the Indigenous people thousands of years ago, followed by  colonization by Europeans who subsequently introduced African slaves and indentured labourers  from Asia. In Suriname we experienced flows of new immigrants who arrived from Guyana, Brazil,  Haiti and China. In our contemporary world we have experienced also the migration of people from  the Third World to more developed countries. Since the second half of the 20th century another migration process is taking place as a  consequence of which a large proportion of the population of postcolonial states is presently living  in Diaspora. In the age of globalization, boundaries between states are vanishing while in relation to  modern migration and Diaspora there are transnational links and loyalties, which sometimes have been perceived as problematic. The responses in many states about the influx of migrants are  diverse, from hostility to solidarity. Europe and the USA are trying to stop migration via different measures, varying from agreements with sending countries to the construction of a border wall.
Suriname shares with the Caribbean and other postcolonial states an experience of European  colonization, African slavery followed by immigration of indentured labourers from Asia, and massive emigration to the developed world during the second half of the twentieth century. Many of the processes and developments are not unique for one country or a region; on the contrary, we see that those problems and issues can be compared with each other. So we can understand our present world much better and will be able to find solutions for different problems by comparing those issues.
Aim of the conference
The aim of the conference is to connect historical specificities of slavery, indentured labour and  migration to contemporary issues of globalization, Diaspora, identity formation, nationalism and  transnationalism.At the same time we want to promote new perspectives and approaches in the study of forced and  free migration and their impact on the society. By bringing scholars together from various parts of
the world – senior scholars as well as new promising talents – we hope to stimulate exchange of  ideas, set up new networks and strengthen existing ones. Central theme: Linking the past to the future: how can knowledge of the past contribute to a
better future?
Some questions to be answered during the conference are:
 What are the legacies of slavery and indentured labour in social, economic, cultural, political fields?
 How did post-slavery identity formation occur in different parts of the world in general?
 What has been the psychological impact of slavery and indentured labour?
 How are transnational identities developing in the world of today?
 How is the process of identification related to the imaginary relation with the country of origin and with other “partners in distress” in the Diaspora?
 In the case of the second migration or the twice migrants, what is perceived as country of origin? In other words: What kind of home land perspectives do people have and which impact will this have on their relation with the former homeland?
 In which ways did the various groups adapt to the new environment? What has been the policy or attitude of the receiving countries or societies?
 How are localizing processes („creolization‟) expressed in migrant cultures?
 What kind of transnational ties exist among descendants of immigrants in the Caribbean and other countries?
Are alternative transnational identities in the Caribbean real or an imagination?
 How are transnational ties and identities recognized and institutionalized by the State in the former homelands?
 What has been the policy of the countries of origin regarding their former citizens living in Diaspora? How do they try to engage the diaspora for the development of the “home country” or country of origin?
 How and why are local processes of identity formation related to emotional and practical identification to the countries of origin, and how do these countries feature in these processes?
 Which are the social, economic, cultural and political consequences of migration and Diaspora in modern times?

 Suggested themes based on the abovementioned questions.
 The legacy of slavery and indentured labour: historical and current developments, with special reference to the psychological legacy of slavery and indentured labour
 Ethno – genesis and inter – ethnic relations.
o The role of ethnocentrism, ethnic labelling and stereotyping in the process of creating and maintaining ethnic boundaries
o Ethnicity and politics
o The role of religion and religious organizations in identity formation
o Identify formation, boundary maintenance and interethnic marriage
 Transnational networks and identities.
 Relations with the country of origin?
 Transnational families
 Popular culture
 Language development in migration societies/migrant communities.
 Origin and development of Creolized languages.
 Development of multilingual societies
 Localization and globalization of religions.
 Social and cultural problems of people in Diaspora
 Health issues in historical and contemporary context.
 Reparations: moral, legal and practical aspects.
 Diaspora policy: past, present and future
 Role of people in Diaspora for the development of their country of origin
Paper and panel proposals:
The organizers would like to stimulate the submission of panel proposals, but individual paper proposals are also welcome. A panel proposal should consist of a framework of the panel, with relevant questions, a number of paper proposals, abstracts of the papers and bio data of all members of the panel. The number of papers within a panel will be between three and eight. Each panel will have a chair and a discussant.
Individual paper proposals can be submitted by e-mail in MS Word by sending an abstract of 300 – 350 words, together with a short CV
Panels and papers with a comparative nature will be given higher priority than others. Poster sessions: there is also the opportunity to submit poster proposals for one or more poster sessions.
Deadline for submission of proposals for papers, panels or posters: 1 December 2017.
Decision about acceptance of paper/poster proposals: 3 January 2018
Deadlines for submission of full papers/posters: 30 April 2018.
Publication: A selection of papers will be published in one or more volumes..
Language: The conference language will be English.
Persons, who want to participate in the conference without presenting a paper, are also welcome.


Frederiksdorp, district Commewijne. Foto © Tessa Leuwsha

Registration fee:
 US$ 125,- , including transport facilities, lunches during the conference, cultural night, 2
dinners and a set of papers (electronic version)
 SRD 150,- p.p. for Surinamese residents.

 The organizing committee is not in a position to provide participants with financial support.  All participants are advised to seek funding through their respective institutions or other sources.
 The venue of the conference is the Institute for Graduate Studies and Research (IGSR) located at the University Campus in the South-Western part of the capital city of Paramaribo.
 The organisers advise the participants to make arrangements for accommodation in the close neighbourhood of the University Campus. The conference organisers will provide you the names and contact addresses of reasonable hotels and guesthouses. The rates of rooms are in a range of Euro 20,- – Euro 50,- per room (single occupancy)., including all taxes.
 These are reduced rates for conference participants. Transport to and from the airport is not included in these rates. The organising committee will provide transport from and to the airport and from the hotel to the conference venue.
 Those who prefer to stay in the touristic area of Paramaribo, located at about five miles from the conference venue, have to make their own arrangements for transport from the hotel to the conference venue.
 The participants have to make their own bookings. We will provide the contact addresses.
We have negotiated reduced rates for conference participants, provided that the booking takes place before 1 April 2018.
For updated information, see the conference website (under construction)
Contact info:
Conference Secretariat:
Faculty of Humanities, Anton de Kom University of Suriname
POB 9212, Paramaribo, Suriname
Phone: (597) 465558 ext. 2435;
Coordinator of the Organizing Committee
Maurits S. Hassankhan

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