Free Events

Roundtable Discussion: Slavery and Public History in the UK and US

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm | 03 February 2021
Online | Free

The third segment of Formations, our year-long programme delivered in partnership with Nottingham Trent University’s Postcolonial Studies Centre. , includes events in January and February under the thematic banner – Formation: Memorials, focusing on the memorialisation of people, places, and histories, through statues and monuments and through writing.

We will consider memorialisation in locations including the UK, US, and Pakistan, consider renowned figures and the politics of the statues and other public monuments commemorating them, and invite you to join us for conversations, poetry readings, and writing workshops.

This event will be chaired by Dr Jenny Woodley and Purnachandra Naik.

The histories of both the UK and the USA are inextricably bound up with histories of enslavement and of the enslaved. And yet, both countries have failed to fully recognise or interrogate these pasts. Over recent months activists and campaigners have forced a reckoning with the symbols of this history, from the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, to the fall of numerous Confederate statutes in the United States. They have made headline news and provoked debate about what should be done with monuments to enslavers and what should fill the gaps in our public history.

This online event will bring together two leading scholars of public history and collective memories of slavery. Jessica Moody and Stephen Small will join us for a conversation about histories of slavery and their place in contemporary Britain and the USA.

Register to attend here

Biographical notes:

Dr Jessica Moody is a Lecturer in Public History at the University of Bristol. Her work considers how we remember and engage with the past historically and in the present with a focus on the public memory of difficult histories including transatlantic enslavement. She has previously worked at the universities of Portsmouth and York, and for National Museums Liverpool. Her monograph, The Persistence of Memory: Remembering Slavery in Liverpool, ‘slaving capital of the world’ maps the public memory of slavery in Liverpool, the largest slave trading port city in Europe, from the end of the 18th century up to the present day.

Stephen Small, Ph.D. is Professor of African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1995. He was born and raised in Liverpool. He has carried out research on Public History and Collective Memory of slavery in the African diaspora for several decades. His current research priorities are on Black Europe, and on British imperialism and its legacies. He has held visiting positions in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Zimbabwe.

Conversation facilitators:

Dr Jenny Woodley is a senior lecturer in Modern History at Nottingham Trent University. Her research focuses on race and memory. She has published on the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial and her recent British Academy funded project considers the way in which Black victims of lynching were remembered and mourned. She is the author of Art for Equality: The NAACP’s Cultural Campaign for Civil Rights.

Purnachandra Naik is a PhD student in Arts and Humanities at Nottingham Trent University. His research is on the forms and meanings of Dirt in Dalit literature. He is also interested in the semiotics of statues of Dr B. R. Ambedkar, the Dalit leader.

Header image: The Confederate Monument at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Credit: Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

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