Jessica Marie Johnson joins Anjali Arondekar and Tatiana Seijas on the work of decolonizing history.
For slavery studies, engagements with the geopolitical have robustly shifted the angles through which the field might begin to imagine collusions, collaborations and conversations with regions of the world. Historians, in particular, have contributed to our understanding of the forces at work in the making of ‘regions’ and ‘slavery’ between the fifteenth and the twentieth centuries. However, such scholarship has minoritized gender relations in the making of such geographies. This panel reverses the trend by foregrounding the question: what would regional histories of ‘slavery’ look like if interrogated as formulations of gender? Eschewing the conventional segregation and/or minoritization of regions as spatialities that provide local historical variation, the colloquium seeks to simultaneously interrogate regional asymmetries of the past of slavery, as well as highlight the centrality of gender in the making and conceiving of ‘region’ itself. Staging concrete articulations of these key terms – gender, region, slavery – also allows us to ask how we might differently understand global processes of social reproduction, and their relations to processes of historical transmission, narrative, and change. How might an interrogation of gender and region shift our understanding of the life-forms, modalities, histories, and afterlives of slavery? And how might these different understandings of the continuing past shape our thinking about the global present?
Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz; author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India (Duke University Press, 2009) and Abundance: On Sexuality and Historiography (in progress).
Tatiana Seijas, Associate Professor of History, Penn State University; author of Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and co-author of (with Jake Frederick) Spanish Dollars and Sister Republics: The Money That Made Mexico and the United States (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and (with Stuart B. Schwartz) Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Fall of the Mexica Empire, A Brief History with Documents. 2 ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017)
Jessica Marie Johnson, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History, Johns Hopkins University; author of Practicing Freedom: Black Women, Intimacy, and Kinship in New Orleans Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, under contract) and co-editor with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal of Black Code: A Special Issue of the Black Scholar (2017)