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Slavery in the Cultural Imagination

Conference – Slavery in the Cultural Imagination; Voices of Dissent in the Neerlandophone Space, 17th-21st Century

The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH), and Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) are co-convening a two-day conference on the cultural imagination of slavery. The conference will be held on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 October 2021 at the universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht.

François Auguste Biard, Afschaffing van de slavernij in de Franse koloniën, 1848

The members of the organising committee are Dr Saskia Pieterse (Utrecht University), Dr Marrigje Paijmans (University of Amsterdam), Dr Karwan Fatah Black, Prof. Yra van Dijk and Aafje de Roest MA (Leiden University).

The conference offers an educational programme of 2 ECTs for rMA and PhD students (priority will be given to members of OSL, NICA and Huizinga Institute). The registration for this programme opens in September, through the NICA-website.

About the Conference

Four hundred years of colonial history and involvement in slavery and indenture have left palpable traces in the emotions and imagination of the Dutch (Wekker 2016, Hoving 2012). Yet ‘Dutch exceptionalism’ and the ubiquitous myth of the Netherlands being a ‘colour blind’ country, has heavily glossed over these traces (Mathijsen 2019). The lack of awareness about the role of the Netherlands in slave trade and the anti-black and orientalist cultural production that accompanied it, stems from a complex merger of political, economic and cultural interests that prohibit the prospering of a critical understanding of Dutch racism and its history. This conference acts on the urgent need for knowledge of the Dutch colonial past and its current impact by bridging the compartmentalisation of the study of the Dutch colonial past (Stoler 1995; Snelders 2018). In doing so, it strives to move beyond ‘Dutch exceptionalism’, without ignoring the specific Dutch context.

Confirmed keynotes: Prof Hasana Sharp, McGill University, Prof Marlene Daut, University of Virginia


Full Programme with Abstracts Download

Online Sessions

Thursday 28 October, University of Amsterdam

Location: University Theatre, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16.

TimeActivityLocationSpeaker and short title
10:15Welcome with coffeeHall
10:45IntroductionUTOrganising committee
11:00Session 1a
Silence and Dreams
UTChair: Sophie van de Elzen
* Mikki Stelder, ‘Attending to the Leusden’
* Thomas van Binsbergen, ‘A Philosopher’s Dream’
* Sophie Rose, ‘Enlightenment Imaginations’
Session 1b
Literature and Empathy
101aChair: Sruti Bala
* Sarah Adams, ‘Subversion and the White Self’
* Pichayapat Naisupap, ‘Elephants and Slavery’
* Claudia Zeller, ‘Attitudes on Slavery in Travel Accounts for Children’
13:30Session 2a
Political Debates
UTChair: Karwan Fatah-Black
* Gertjan Schutte, ‘Dutch debates about slavery and the “Berbice Rebellion”’
* Philip Post, ‘A Benign Empire?’
* Dirk Alkemade, ‘Pieter Vreede, Abolitionism and Human Rights’
Session 2b
Women’s Voices
101aChair: Barnita Bagchi
* Gerlov van Engelenhoven, ‘Historical Voices and Silences’
* Claire Morrison, ‘Whitewashing Nature’
* Marijke Huisman, ‘Protestant and Feminist Appropriations’
16:00Online interview
with keynote speakers
UTModerators: Rachell Gillett and Marrigje Paijmans
* Hasana Sharp
* Marlene Daut
17:00No programme
18:00Conference dinnerKantjil en de tijger, Spuistraat 291
21:30Evening Programme Silent / Loud Voices / BodiesSpui25Moderator: Fenneke Wekker
* Charl Landvreugd, ‘A boat came from Braamspunt’
* Charissa Granger and Francio Guadeloupe, ‘Trans-Caribbean Theorizing via Trance-Caribbean Daaance’
* Sandy Bosmans, performance
22:30End of programme

Friday 29 October, Utrecht University

Location: University Library, Drift 21

TimeActivityLocationSpeaker and short title
9:30Welcome with coffeeD21 0.32
10:00Keynote lectureD21 0.32Moderator: Nancy Jouwe
Alicia Schrikker, ‘Januari’s Ghost’
11:00CoffeeHall Drift 21
11:30Session 3
On Tour and on Display
D25 3.03Chair: Alison Boyd
* Ghanima Kowsoleea, ‘The Golden Coach’
* Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong, ‘Tourism and the Cultural Imagination of Slavery’
* Esther Captain and Jennifer Tosch, ‘Sites of Memory: Drift 27’
Student programmeD21 0.32More information can be found here.
13:00LunchHall Drift 21
14:00Session 4a
Contemporary Culture
Chair: Margriet van de Waal
* Anne Marieke van der Wal, ‘Kaap AFRIKAans Hip-hop’
* Aafje de Roest, ‘Slavery in Contemporary Dutch Hip-Hop’
* Ayesha Harruna Attah, ‘Uncovering Silence in Slavery’
Session 4b
Archives and Activism
Chair: Devin Vartija
* Laura Wetherington, ‘Henk Rossouw’s Xamissa
* Brenda Bikoko, ‘Appropriated Postcoloniality?’
* Karen van Minnen, ‘Mining Inequality’
15:30TeaHall Drift 21
16:00Panel discussion
Anton de Kom in education
Moderator: Yra van Dijk
* Thalia Ostendorf
* Michiel van Kempen
17:00Wrap upD21,
Organising committee
17:15DrinksRestaurant Gys, Voorstraat 21
18:00End of conference

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