UW News

September 26, 2013

History lecture series to explore slavery in making of America

UW News

Poster for 2013 history department lecture series, titled "Slavery and Freedom in the Making of America."Many Americans think of slavery in the context of the 19th century, when it brought the nation to civil war. But as speakers in the University of Washington history department’s 2013 lecture series note, the practice dates back to America’s founding and did not abruptly end with Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

Slavery and Freedom in the Making of America” is the title of the History Lecture Series featuring four UW faculty, each discussing slavery from a different angle. The lectures will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 30 and Nov. 6 and 13. The first three will be in 130 Kane Hall, the fourth next door in 120 Kane.

Lynn Thomas, professor and chair of the department, said the series notes the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“The core message of the series is that slavery and freedom have been foundational to the making of the United States,” Thomas said. “Not just in the years surrounding the Civil War but over our entire history. A set of four amazing UW faculty will tell this story.”

Oct. 23: Sandra Joshel, “Ancient Roman Slavery and American Slavery.” Slaveholders from colonial times through the 19th century in the United States often aspired to emulate Ancient Rome as a civilization. But how did the Romans themselves conceive and institutionalize slavery? And how did their understanding of freedom hinge on the development of a slave system?

Oct. 30: Stephanie Smallwood, “Slavery, Race and the Origins of American Freedom.” Slavery was key to European colonization of America, but how could it flourish in the revolutionary world of the late 18th century? Haiti and the United States provide contrasting examples.

Nov. 6: Stephanie Camp, “Slavery: Antebellum America’s National Institution.” Slavery was not just a southern institution but a national one, and wealth produced by the enslaved helped to deepen the U.S. commitment to slavery in the 19th century.

Nov. 13: Moon-Ho Jung, “Race, Empire, and Post-Emancipation Struggles for Freedom.” Race continued to define access to citizenship even after the U.S. abolished slavery. What have been the limitations and contradictions of emancipation in the decades following the Thirteenth Amendment, and how have different peoples and movements struggled for freedom after emancipation?

Tickets for lectures are $5-$10, full series $15-$35. For more information, call 206-543-5790.