Empire, Sovereignty, and Labor
in the Age of Global Abolition

Conference Program

All events will take place via Zoom. All times are Eastern Standard Time. 

Thursday, February 25

9:00am - 9:15am


9:15am - 10:45am

Panel I: Abolition, State, and Sovereignty

Chair: Elizabeth Polcha (McNeil Center for Early American Studies) 

Nathaniel Millett (Saint Louis University)
The Long Career of Indigenous Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean 

Simeon Simeonov (Brown University)
A Laboratory for Abolition: British Consulates in Haiti in the Age of Atlantic Revolution (1824-1848) 

Kellen Heniford (Columbia University)
Making a “Free State”: Abolitionism, Free Labor Ideology, and Moral Capital in Jacksonian America 

Commentator: Marcela Echeverri (Yale University)  

10:45am - 11:15am


11:15am - 12:45pm

Panel II: Freedom, Politics, and Praxis

Chair: Daniel K. Richter (McNeil Center for Early American Studies and University of Pennsylvania) 

Caitlin Fitz (Northwestern University)
Latin America and the Radicalization of U.S. Abolition 

Yesenia Barragan (Rutgers University)
Commerce in Children: Slavery, Gradual Emancipation, and the Free Womb Trade in Colombia 

Alice Baumgartner (University of Southern California)
Rethinking Abolition in Mexico 

Commentator: Keila Grinberg (UNIRIO)  

12:45pm - 1:45pm

Lunch Break

1:45pm - 3:15pm

Panel III: Abolition at Work

Chair: Laura Keenan Spero (McNeil Center for Early American Studies) 

Ndubueze L. Mbah (SUNY Buffalo)
Rebellious Migrants: The Freedom and Abolition Politics of ‘Liberated Africans’ in Calabar, 1850-1891 

Isadora Mota (Princeton University)
Afro-Brazilian Abolitionism and the American Civil War 

Bianca Dang (Yale University)
“Aucun ne se ressentira plus que [le peuple Haïtien] des heureux effets de l’abolition dans le monde entier”: Abolition Activity, Export Taxes, and the Code Rural in 1830s Haiti 

Commentator: Roquinaldo Ferreira (University of Pennsylvania) 


Friday, February 26

9:00am - 10:45am

Panel IV: Labor and Empire in the Aftermath of Abolition I

Chair: Bradley L. Craig (McNeil Center for Early American Studies) 

Joseph la Hausse de Lalouvière (Institute of Historical Research, University of London)
Re-enslavement in Guadeloupe and French Guiana, 1793–1809 

Catherine Peters (Harvard University)
A Free Race of Cultivators: Imperial Intimacies in the Caribbean, 1802–1865 

Ikuko Asaka (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
U.S. Imperialism and Trans-sectional Connections in a Quest for a Guano Island 

Mishal Khan (The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas School of Law Austin)
The Familiar and the Unfamiliar: The Underpinnings of Imperial Labor Regulation in India and Beyond (1860-1930) 

Commentator: Zachary Sell (Drexel University)  

10:45am - 11:15am


11:15am - 1:00pm

Panel V: Labor and Empire in the Aftermath of Abolition II

Chair: Jessica Roney (Temple University) 

Caree A. Banton (University of Arkansas)
Repurposed Objects: Plantation Materials, Barbadian Labor, and Liberian Sovereignty 

Roberto Saba (Wesleyan University)
The Capitalists’ Cause: The Abolitionist Movement and the Defense of Wage Labor in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World 

Scott Heerman (University of Miami)
Making Free Soil Sovereign: Captivity after Emancipation 

Padraic Scanlan (University of Toronto)
The Great Distress: Wage Labour, Antislavery and the Age of Reform 

Commentator: Amy Offner (University of Pennsylvania)  

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Lunch Break

2:00pm - 3:00pm

Concluding Roundtable

Chair: Roquinaldo Ferreira (University of Pennsylvania)  

Kathleen Brown (University of Pennsylvania)
Celso Thomas Castilho (Vanderbilt University)
Madhavi Kale (Bryn Mawr College)  

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