This symposium celebrates the 20th anniversary of Saidiya Hartman’s Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America and its impact on studies of Black lives in the past, present, and future. Please join us as we consider the work’s impact within its intergenerational intellectual context and theorize new possibilities for Black life and Black freedom in these perilous times.
This enlightening discussion will focus on memory, commemorations, and legacies of the slave trade and slavery, and feature panelists John Cummings and Ibrahima Seck of the Whitney Plantation and Museum; Columbia University professor Saidiya Hartman; architect Rodney Leon; and University of Pennsylvania professor Salamishah Tillett.
This program is brought to you by the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery.@SchomburgLive | #SlaveryandMemory
In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman traces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by recounting a journey she took along a slave route in Ghana. Following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast, she reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy and vividly dramatizes the effects of slavery on three centuries of African and African American history.The slave, Hartman observes, is a stranger—torn from family, home, and country. To lose your mother is to be severed from your kin, to forget your past, and to inhabit the world as an outsider. There are no known survivors of Hartman’s lineage, no relatives in Ghana whom she came hoping to find. She is a stranger in search of strangers, and this fact leads her into intimate engagements with the people she encounters along the way and with figures from the past whose lives were shattered and transformed by the slave trade. Written in prose that is fresh, insightful, and deeply affecting, Lose Your Mother is a “landmark text” (Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams).