Slavery, Captivity, and the Meaning of Freedom

Slavery, Captivity, and the Meaning of Freedom

Thursday, May 12 / 5:30 PM
Opening address: Alhecama Theatre, 914 Santa Barbara Street
Friday, 13, 2016 / 9:00 AM
Conference: HSSB 4080

This interdisciplinary conference gathers scholars working on slavery and captivity across a range of historical contexts, from the chattel slave systems of classical Greece and Rome to corvée labor in 21st-century private prisons. We seek to provoke new thinking by making unexpected connections — and examining points of rupture. Along the way, we will reassess the value of a comparatist inquiry into the role of bondage in shaping human relations and defining the meaning of freedom.

For information about registering for the conference, please email

A small block of rooms has been reserved at Pacifica Suites ( for participants traveling from out of town. We have secured a group rate of $169 for Thursday night and $179 for Friday. Rooms will be available at this rate until April 15 and subject to availability after that date. (NB: The hotel institutes a 48-hour cancellation charge of the first night’s room fee, plus tax.)

Organized by:

Rose MacLean, Assistant Professor of Classics
James F. Brooks, Professor of History & Anthropology
Jeannine Marie DeLombard, Associate Professor of English

Thursday, May 12, 5:30pm, Alhecama Theatre

Opening Address

Introduction: Helen Morales, Professor of Classics & Argyropoulos Chair in Hellenic Studies, UCSB

What Is Greek Slavery? In Search of a Novel History
Kostas Vlassopoulos, History & Archaeology,University of Crete

Friday, May 13, 9:00am-5:00pm, HSSB 4080

 Welcoming Remarks
John Majewski, Professor of History, Interim Dean of Humanities & Fine Arts, UCSB

Morning Session, 9:15am-12:30pm

Chair: Amy Richlin, Professor of Classics, UCLA
The Curse of Jaime: Primordial Guilt as Cultural

Justification for Enslavement
Noel Lenski, Professor of Classics & History, Yale University

Respondent: Debra Blumenthal, Associate Professor of History, UCSB

Banishment: An Early American Primer
Nan Goodman, Professor of English & Director of Program in Jewish Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
Respondent: James F. Brooks, Professor of History & Anthropology, UCSB

Coffee Break, 11:15-11:30am

 A Slave to the Jews No More: German Ethnology after the Enlightenment
Terence Keel, Assistant Professor of Black Studies & History, UCSB
Respondent: Paul Spickard, Professor of History, UCSB

 Afternoon Session, 1:45-3:45pm

Chair: Jeannine Marie DeLombard, Associate Professor of English, UCSB
Freedom as Method: Slavery, Prisons and the Insurgent Practices of Struggle

Dan Berger, Assistant Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies, University of Washington, Bothell
Respondent: Miroslava Chavez-Garcia, Professor of Chicano and Chicana Studies, UCSB
“Do you remember the Days of Slavery? Racialization, Collective Memory and the State in England
Stephen Small, Associate Professor of African American Studies, UC Berkeley
Respondent: Felice Blake, Assistant Professor of English, UCSB

Coffee Break, 3:45-4:00pm

 Closing Address, 4:00-5:00pm

Introduction: Stephanie Leigh Batiste, Associate Professor of English & Black Studies, UCSB
Black Art Matters: Slavery, Print Memory and Freedom’s Fugitive Meanings

Gabrielle Foreman, Ned B. Allen Professor of English & Professor of Black Studies, University of Delaware