- Faculty & Staff
- Graduate Students
This seminar examines the multiple iterations of the plantation, and to draw from Katherine McKittrick, the kinds of futures it brings forth for us now. The plantation might be, to paraphrase Krista Thompson and Huey Copeland an “afrotrope” – a “recurrent visual form” that has played a key role in the formation of Black Diaspora identity and culture. We will consider its various representational formats, along with its various lives, and afterlives. As an ecological, material and economic intervention in the landscape, the plantations is a site of labor and knowledge production. It is both a form of enclosure and an extremely mobile form, a space where human and commodity flows converged, and an ecology formed through interspecies interaction. By considering these histories of the plantation – an ideological and spatial apparatus – we will think through its implications for practices of labor, experiences of the natural world, the organization of vision and, constructions of freedom as they have been formulated in African American Studies. Furthermore, across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, the plantation remains a site where alternative constructions of freedom, and otherworldly economies of knowledge, resilience and resistance formed. We will also consider how the transformations wrought by the plantation across the globe create possibilities to imagine the intimacies and particularities of time and space differently that can help us better understand the politics of race, representation and labor in our contemporary moment. Invited presenters for this seminar include scholars, writers and artists working in the fields, and intersecting geographies of Art History, History, Literary Studies, African American Studies, Creative Writing, Anthropology, Geography and the Environmental Humanities.
Please note that incoming and advanced graduate students are welcome to register.
About The Speaker
"My research focuses on the medical and scientific constructions of race during the era of slavery and beyond. My first book, Medicalizing Blackness: Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2017. In it, I examine how white physicians “medicalized” blackness— a term I use to describe the process by which white physicians defined blackness as a medically significant marker of difference in slave societies of the American Atlantic.
My second project examines the genealogy and deployment of the terms used describe mixed race offspring of black and white people (“mulatto,” “quadroon,” etc.) in American medical and lay discourse. It traces how these terms were used in colonial Caribbean contexts and in mainland North America during the era of slavery, and illuminates how American eugenicists adopted these terms to correlate mental and physical capabilities of mixed race people to their racial ancestral make up. In doing so, they refashioned these terms from crude labels to precision tools with valid scientific meanings. In the early twentieth century, American eugenicists looked southward to the Caribbean to conduct “race crossing” studies, viewing that region as an ideal experimental site to undertake the study of a topic considered taboo in the United States during that time. The results of their studies gave credence to the notion that race was a visual and quantifiable biological feature and confirmed white anxieties about the perils of racial mixing. Finally, this project centers Caribbean ex-slave colonies as experimental spaces that allowed eugenicists to extract data from mixed race people for the benefit of American scientists and the lay public."
For more information, please contact:
The Seminar is not open to the public and only for Princeton University faculty, students and staff.
Please RSVP to Shelby Sinclair, email@example.com