October 25, 26, and 28, 2021: 5:30pm

Note: Lectures will be held in person. They will also be livestreamed via Zoom webinar (advance registration required to receive Zoom link). The lectures will also be recorded and available for viewing and as podcasts approximately two-three weeks after the lectures.

In this series of highly illustrated lectures, Michael Suarez offers a fresh perspective on British abolition, richly informed by political prints and personal correspondence, newspapers and pamphlets, account books and committee minutes, parliamentary reports and private diaries. [Note: these lectures were originally scheduled for March, 2020 but were postponed due to COVID-19.]

All lectures begin at 5:30pm. Physical location: The Class of 78 Pavilion, Kislak Center

Monday, October 25, 2021: Feeding the Machine: A Triple System of Networks

Register for this lecture (attending in person).

Register for this lecture (attending virtually, via Zoom webinar).

Tuesday, October 26, 2021: Commodity Culture and the Political Economies of Print

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Register for this lecture (attending virtually, via Zoom webinar).

Thursday, October 28, 2021: Beyond Westminster: Toward More Global Forms of Knowing

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Register for this lecture (attending virtually, via Zoom webinar).

Suarez’s revisionist history not only traces the production and distribution of abolitionist print, but also reveals the hidden networks that variously sustained the first humanitarian mass media campaign.  Abolition forces brilliantly exploited the power of print to contend with the complex legacies of the American and French Revolutions, the slave revolt in present-day Haiti, and the Napoleonic Wars.  Seeking to understand how both abolitionists and their foes exploited systems of influence through printed words and images in many forms, Suarez delineates the strategies that abolitionists devised to overcome accusations of religious fanaticism, economic malfeasance, and political sedition. Exploring the first author’s book tour in the UK, a consumer boycott fostered by the radical press, and the fashionable publisher who clandestinely worked as press agent for the pro-slavery interest, these lectures will demonstrate the power of bibliography and book history to rewrite established narratives and to recover lives and labors typically left out of conventional accounts.

For more information: jpollack@upenn.edu

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 (All day) to Saturday, October 23, 2021 (All day)

Hybrid (online & in person)

This location is ADA accessible

Settler Colonialism, Slavery, and the Problem of Decolonizing Museums: A hybrid international conference co-presented by the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Penn Museum

Over the past several decades scholars and practitioners have critically reconsidered the role of ethnographic museums in the development and representation of knowledge about people and processes throughout the world.  Persistent questions have emerged again and again:  What are the relationships between colonialism and collection?  What issues of accountability surround contemporary knowledge production and representation?  How do we think through the challenges of repatriation?  And what might repair look like?  These are not new questions, and they have been asked not only within museum settings, but also across the discipline of anthropology as a whole for the past thirty years.  Yet as museums attempt to reevaluate their practices of collecting, exhibiting, and repatriating, we must still confront – and determine a new relationship to – the legacies of Enlightenment-based scientific humanism and its imperial underpinnings.  

This conference builds on some of the issues being raised within European and South African contexts, while also thinking through the particularities of the view from the United States.  Drawing from the insights and experiences of scholars, museum practitioners, and educators, we seek to join the conversations related to settler colonialism to those related to slavery and imperialism.  We also seek to chart a terrain that emphasizes multi-vocality and multi-modality, and that imagines the kinds of collaboration that might be possible between European, North American, South African, and other stakeholders.  Finally, we want to elaborate new forms of relationship museums might have to their audiences.

The conference will open on Wednesday, 20 October and will run through Saturday.  On Wednesday, we will start with synchronous virtual welcomes from Christopher Woods (Director, Penn Museum) and Deborah Thomas (Director, Center for Experimental Ethnography).  These will be followed by our keynote speaker, Laura Van Broekhoven (Director, Pitt Rivers Museum).  Panelist presentations will be pre-recorded (15-20 minutes) and posted to our website, and each of the remaining days we will convene for a synchronous moderated discussion and Q&A (at noon, EST).  Each evening, we will also offer live events specific to the Penn and Philadelphia museum community, and these will also be streamed. The conference schedule is here.

Register here.