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Race and the Early Modern World

State of the Art: Race and the Early Modern World
Friday, 2/2/2018, 10:30am - 1:00pm
Academic Building Room 6050
15 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, NJ


Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and a Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College. Her presentation, entitled Eating the Other: Race, Sugar and Labor in the Early Modern Caribbean, argues that the distinction between proper enjoyment of the world's bounty and luxurious excess that undergirds early modern food discourses is central to examining England's creations of slave societies in the early modern Caribbean; it explores the role of food writing in creating white mastery in the early modern world and now.

Jennifer Morgan is professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Department of History at NYU. Her paper, Calculating Intimacies: Race, Gender, and Fungibilities in the Early Modern English Atlantic World, explores the relationship between emerging seventeenth century economic formations and the language and practice of hereditary racial slavery. She examines the connections between markets and human chattel as they took form in the Atlantic world.


Race and the Early Modern World Feb. 2, 10:30am-1:00pm

Working Group Co-Conveners


Patricia Akhimie, Department of English (Newark)

Ana Laguna, Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Camden)

Henry Turner, Department of English

Caro Pirri, PhD Student, Department of English

This working group draws upon the strengths of scholars across the Rutgers campuses and across disciplinary boundaries whose work entails an investigation of racial difference in the early modern world, read variously as somatic, religious, national, and ethnic difference, and as mutually constitutive with social hierarchies such as class and caste.  In thinking through connections between early modern racial formations and our contemporary historical moment, this working group will also seek to communicate the relevance of early modern studies to our debates about race and racism in the world today.  Fostering publications, projects, and public events including interdisciplinary symposia on race, this working group aims to promote and build on the energy and radical thinking of recent scholarship on race in the early modern world, bringing it to a wider audience, facilitating interdisciplinary work and anticipating new directions in the field.

It is our intention that participants will engage the topic of race and the early modern world from a wide variety of theoretical, critical, archival, and pedagogical perspectives.  Questions of interest include:  How do we define race in the early modern world?   To what extent do the forms and features of early modern social difference relate to modern understandings and experiences of race and racism?  How do disciplinary boundaries limit our approaches to thinking and speaking about race and other forms of difference?  What are the advantages and pitfalls of using critical race theory in discussions of race in the early modern world?  What are our aims (aspirations) in studying the way racial difference works in the early modern world?  What possibilities for teaching students about race in the early modern world emerge from an assessment of documentary, literary, material, visual and other sources?


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15 Seminary Place
Rutgers Academic Building
West Wing, Room 6107
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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