INTERVIEW: David Scott x Orlando Patterson on Life, the Academy, and Slavery

Orlando Patterson

David Scott “The Paradox of Freedom: An Interview with Orlando Patterson.” Small Axe 17, no. 1 40 (March 1, 2013): 96–242.


In a long interview, Scott and Orlando Patterson discuss the sociologist and novelist’s childhood, education, public service, and books.

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ESSAY: Hahn on the “Legacy Of Eugene Genovese”

“Yet no book of Genovese’s has had the impact of Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (1974). A long, complex, almost Hegelian treatment of the master-slave relation – and of the dynamics of power that were embedded within it – Roll, Jordan, Roll is a study of intense struggle, unfolding over decades, that enabled slaveholders to establish political and cultural hegemony but also enabled slaves to claim basic rights for themselves and room for their communities. At the book’s center is slave religion, at once a concession to the cultural authority of the masters and a celebration of the slaves’ solidarity, spirituality, and destiny–a measure of the contradictory character of the slave regime. Replete with comparative and international references, political allusions, and literary flourishes, Roll, Jordan, Roll may well be the finest work on slavery ever produced.

But it, along with the rest of Genovese’s early work, had serious critics, especially on the left. While acknowledging his analytical skills, many felt that Genovese was too admiring of the slaveholders’ power and too dismissive of the slaves’ rebelliousness; too interested in class and not sufficiently interested in race; too focused on the pre-capitalist features of southern society and the paternalist ethos of the masters; and too blind to the capitalist impulses of an intensely commodified world….”

Read the rest: From Radical To Right-Wing: The Legacy Of Eugene Genovese | The New Republic.

NEWS: Two 2011-2012 IGK Fellows Working on Slavery

Two 2011-2012 Internationales Geisteswissenschaftliches Kolleg (IGK) Fellows at the Humboldt University of Berlin are developing projects related to slavery in Africa and the Americas.  From the website:

Martin Klein

Martin Klein is professor emeritus from the University of Toronto, where he taught African history. For most of the last forty years he has been doing research on the history of slavery and the slave trade within Africa. His most recent projects have been research into African sources for the history of slavery and the slave trade and efforts to look at slavery in a broad comparative perspective.

His project at the International Research Center involves a comparative study of slavery in West Africa. He intends to start with two questions – first, the different forms of slavery that emerged in the cities and factories that serviced the slave trade and the commodity trade that succeeded it; and second, the way the struggle for the control of labor after start of the emancipation process influenced the life options of former slaves.

Henrique Espada Lima

Henrique Espada Lima is professor in the Department of History at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil), where he teaches, supervises and conducts research on historiography and contemporary labor history. His first schooling was in psychology and he has a Masters degree in literature (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 1993) and a doctorate in history (Universidade de Campinas, 1999). He has done research in the areas of contemporary historiography and micro-history as well as labor history, focusing on the lives of ex-slaves in nineteenth-century Brazil. He was coordinator of the Brazilian Academic Network of Labor Historians from 2007 to 2010.

His project at the International Research Center will focus on reconstructing the trajectories of individuals, families and groups of freed African slave workers and their descendants in a southern Brazilian locality – the Island of Santa Catarina – by delving into notarial and parochial records as well as judicial records (civil and criminal) and postmortem inventories. His research will examine and reconstruct these trajectories, focusing on the numerous strategies employed by these men and women in order to free themselves from slavery and assign meaning and content to the “freedom” they achieved. Special attention will be paid to the generational transits and the various labor and freedom arrangements as viewed through the lifecycles of individuals and families. The period covered by the research goes from approximately 1830 to 1900, focusing on the Brazilian slave system’s long-term process of disaggregation as well as on the first decade after emancipation, which came about in 1888. Finally, inspired by a growing scholarship in the field of labor history that proceeds from a global and transnational perspective and employing a micro-historical approach, his research will discuss a wide array of questions that focus on the blurred boundaries between “slavery” and “freedom”.

The International Research Center (IGK) “conducts research into work with a special focus on work as a concept and on its performativity.”  Read more about the center here and fellows here.

New Journal and CFP: Notes & Records: Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies

Notes & Records: Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies (NRJAADS)
Call for Papers Date:    2010-06-04

On behalf of Southern Interdisciplinary Roundtable on African Studies SIRAS), Kentucky State University, and the Editors, I am writing to inform you about the launching of a new peer-reviewed journal titled Notes and Records: An International Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies published by Kentucky State University on a bi-annual basis.

The journal is primarily devoted to publishing original studies related to the linkages and relationships between Africans and the African Diaspora. The journal aims to focus on the varied webs of connections between the Africans and the African Diaspora in an interdisciplinary approach. Studies related to history, politics, culture, literature, gender, music/dance, globalization, war, resistance, and civil rights movements that illuminate the varied experiences of Diasporic people are welcome….

Read the announcement here.

CONF: CAAS at 40: Research and Community Partnerships (UMich)

“The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies is proud to celebrate its 40th anniversary with the conference, CAAS at 40: Research and Community Partnerships. “This three-day conference will feature a keynote lecture by the Detroit-based author and activist Grace Lee Boggs, musical performance by the neo-artist Dwele and the jazz pianist Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Trio, and a series of panels by CAAS faculty, students and alumni that reflect the Center’s longstanding commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and community outreach. We hope that you will join us for the entire conference and the performances as we celebrate the first 40 years of CAAS at the University of Michigan!”

Thursday, March 18
Alumni Center

For more information: http:/

Ayiti Kraze / Haiti in Fragments Social Text)

“For some, Haiti is the “poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere,” a “failed state,” long on the brink of collapse. For others, Haiti is a beacon of freedom, evidence of the only successful slave revolt in modern history. This forum brings together scholars from different fields of study, and different parts of the world, for a conversation about ways to think about challenges that Haiti has faced since independence, challenges that have been international in scope since this sovereign nation’s sudden and unexpected debut on the world’s stage. Thus besides considering Haiti’s vexed political history and pressing social problems, we are concerned with the way prevailing forms of diplomatic recognition and patterns of international exchange have served to worsen, rather than improve, social institutions and their capacity to serve the people of Haiti.

The title of this forum — Ayiti kraze — stems from a Kreyol expression that often surfaces in moments when political institutions splinter apart (as when Jean-Bertrand Arisitide was ousted in 1991 during a coup d’état). But, the idea of Haiti in fragments also suits this effort to piece together critical insights concerning this tragic predicament. The catastrophic events of January 12, 2010 have already transformed the way many researchers relate to their work. Scholars who typically take years to develop articles and books have organized symposia and published essays in a matter of days – this forum is but one example. We hope this critical practice will endure long after Haiti is re-built. — Michael Ralph, editor”

Read the rest: Social Text: Periscope: Ayiti Kraze / Haiti in Fragments Archives.

WEB: Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique – Nigeria

Re-launched website:

“IFRA-Nigeria is a non profit Institute set up to promote research in the social sciences and the humanities, as well as enhance collaborative work between scholars in France and West Africa. First established in 1990 and financed by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Institute has now been operating from the Universities of Ibadan (Institute of African Studies) and Zaria (Institute for Development Research) since 2006. IFRA’s mandate includes subsidizing research programs, (…)”

Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique – Nigeria.

Tardieu on Saving Haiti’s Archives and Libraries

“…But Patrick Tardieu, the 58-year-old curator of Haiti’s oldest library, the Bibliothèque Haitienne des Pères du Saint Esprit, says there is another need almost as important: preserving the country’s memory. The library houses an extensive collection of rare books relating to Haiti’s early history.

That’s why Tardieu, who left Haiti for Montreal three days after the earthquake and came to Brown University on Monday at the invitation of Ted Widmer, the director of the John Carter Library, will return to Port-au-Prince Thursday to see that all of the library’s 20,000 books and manuscripts are secure.

The books, relating to Haiti’s colonial period, slavery and fight for independence had been housed on the campus of two schools run by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit and occupied the third floor of the priests’ residence….”

Read the rest here

CONF: Haiti’s Archives in the Balance

Haiti’s Archives in the Balance

Conference featuring Haitian archivist Patrick Tardieu, Haitian historian Jean Casimir, Duke faculty Ian Baucom, Laurent Dubois, Deborah Jenson, and Deborah Jakubs and Digital Library of the Caribbean coordinator, Brooke Wooldridge.

Sponsored by the Duke University Center for French and Francophone Studies.

Date: Monday, February 15, 2010
Time:  12:00pm-4:00pm
Location:  Perkins Library, Room 217, Duke University

Center for French and Francophone Studies
Duke University, Box 90257
Durham, NC 27708
Phone:  919-660-3112
Fax:  919-684-4029
Email: laurent dot dubois at duke dot edu

Patrick Tardieu Joins John Carter Brown Library

“Patrick Tardieu, the chief conservator at Haiti’s oldest library — the Bibliotheque Haitienne des Peres du Saint-Esprit in Port-au-Prince — is the John Carter Brown Library’s newest visiting scholar. Tardieu arrived in Providence Monday morning after a two-week stay with family in Montreal, where he sought refuge after the earthquake in Haiti…”

Read more: The Brown Daily Herald – Haitian librarian joins John Carter Brown Library.