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Universities Studying Slavery Symposium 2019 : Universities Studying Slavery 2019 Fall Symposium “The Academy’s Original Sin”


When Oct 9, 2019 - Oct 12, 2019
Where Cincinnati, OH
Submission Deadline Aug 1, 2019
Categories    african american history   slavery   religion   pedagogy

Call For Papers

Call for Papers
Universities Studying Slavery 2019 Fall Symposium
“The Academy’s Original Sin”

When: October 9-12, 2019
Where: Xavier University & The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati are proud to co-sponsor the Universities Studying Slavery (USS) Fall 2019 Symposium, entitled “The Academy’s Original Sin.” USS is a multi-institutional collaborative effort working to address historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality in higher education and university communities, and the complicated legacies of slavery in modern American society.

This symposium encourages collaboration among—and unites scholars from—a broad range of colleges and universities to better understand the role of enslaved people and their relation to higher education. Slavery’s legacy in the American academy is demonstrated in myriad ways, from African-American access to higher education and discussions surrounding reparative justice, to racism and discrimination within academe and battles to rename places/spaces on college campuses nationwide. The Fall 2019 Symposium continues the conversation, focusing on the enslavement of people of African descent and how that enslavement manifested itself in the development of U.S. educational institutions. Moreover, it will directly question these complicated legacies.


This year’s symposium features pre-selected panel topics and participants are encouraged to submit proposals accordingly. (Symposium organizers reserve the right to include additional/alter current panels as interest dictates.)

Legacies of the Middle Passage: This panel evaluates the lasting legacies of the transatlantic slave trade, focusing on a variety of responses to cultural trauma and efforts to heal and transform.

Teaching Trauma: As recent controversies have made clear, the history of slavery and the slave trade are often taught in wildly inappropriate ways in American schools. This panel explores the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to teaching this challenging material.

The Ties that Bind: Histories of Religion and Race at XU and UC: This panel is exclusively designed for XU and UC faculty/administration to discuss developments on our campuses re: controversial spaces and historical legacies.

Violent Evangelism: Weaponizing Faith & Teaching Place: Slaveholders and their sympathizers often defended slavery by pointing to its presence in the Bible as evidence of its place in a higher plan for social order. Interpretation of biblical stories like Cain and Abel, and that of Noah’s son Ham, offered proof that “Negroes” were accursed and their enslavement theologically condoned. This panel explores the Christianization of slaves, segregationist theology, and the ethics of disarmament.

New-Age ‘Fieldwork’: Intellectual Chains of the 21st Century: Especially on large plantations, the institution of slavery created distinct occupational hierarchies, distinguishing between tradesmen, fieldworkers, house slaves (domestics, wet nurses, etc.), etc. Do academic hierarchies of the twenty-first century mimic these relationships of the past? What is the new “fieldwork” for the Diaspora, and how does the academy bridge the divide between the Ivory Tower and the local communities within which it physically stands?

Legacies of Slavery: Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to present original research pursuant to the Symposium title. Potential participants are welcome to discuss their unique campus climate regarding the work of retributive justice, and to introduce the broad range of activities designed to facilitate (or hinder) and official acknowledgment of the sacrifices of black bodies for the development of the Ivory Tower.

40 Acres and a Myth: Union General William T. Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15, an idea for massive land redistribution following the Civil War, is a staple of black history lessons. There are, however, numerous facets of the revolutionary idea Americans still do not understand. This panel looks to the past as a starting point for examining the concepts of social reconstruction, retributive justice, and reparations, and asks, “What contemporary concessions can/should be made to the descendants of slaves in the United States?”

When Will We Be Satisfied?: Re-evaluating ‘Progress’ in a Post-King America: August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech that has resonated for decades. In what has become known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, King voiced the pressing demands of the civil rights movement, and posed a challenging question regarding the supposed progress of race relations in America. This panel invites presenters to respond to King’s query, “When will we be satisfied?” and the significance of the continued phenomenon of racism in America.

Global Perspectives on Retributive Justice: Retributive justice is a theory of justice that holds that the best response to a crime is a punishment proportional to the offense, inflicted because the offender deserves the punishment. With specific regard to the legacy of slavery in the United States, this panel assumes agency and communion can further understanding the experiences of victims, and invites presentations that broadly address retributive justice, value restoration and procedural justice.

Contributions from researchers in a range of disciplines from anthropology, cultural studies, history, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, urban studies and other fields are encouraged. Practitioners in cultural history institutions, and the visual and performing arts, are also encouraged to submit, as non-traditional and/or alternative forms of presenting research, e.g. in videos, visual art or performances, will be supported.

Please email an abstract of the proposed paper/presentation (limit 500 words) and CV to by July 1, 2019. Presenters will be notified within two weeks if their proposal has been selected for a panel.

The USS2019XUC Symposium registration will open on July 15, 2019.


A block of rooms have been reserved under “USS 2019 Symposium” at the following locations, and all participants are invited to contact the hotels directly to confirm lodgings. The block of rooms will “close” either on September 15, 2019, or when all rooms on the block have been reserved. Blocks at both hotels are limited, so BOOK EARLY!

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Cincinnati Uptown/University Area
2500 S Market St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 281-2200
*ALL rooms/types $109*
*STUDENT RATES available at this location for $99 (up to quadruple occupancy!), but rate must be approved/blocked by program coordinators. Preference for student rooms will be given to those presenting at the 2019 Symposium.

Hampton Inn & Suites Cincinnati/Uptown-University Area
3024 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 281-2700
*ALL room types $119/$129*

UC and XU will provide complimentary shuttles from CVG to both hotels:
Wednesday, October 9 from 12pm-3pm

UC and XU will provide complimentary shuttles from Saturday morning venue to CVG:
Saturday, October 12, from 12pm-3pm

Rates include breakfast, a limited number of “Student” rates are available directly through symposium organizers, and tax-exempt status will be recognized at either hotel ONLY IF:

You supply the hotel with a hardcopy of your institution’s tax-exempt certification upon check-in AND…

Pay for your room with your institution’s p-card/credit card, OR
Pay for your room prior to your arrival with a check from your institution.

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