Hosted by Benjamin Franklin House in London, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Register here

The Transatlantic Slavery Symposium is a joint venture between the Robert H. Smith Scholarship Centre at Benjamin Franklin House in London, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Our aim is to bring together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to address the lasting impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade through panel discussions on themes ranging from its historical foundations and development in the Revolutionary Atlantic world to current best practices in the museums and heritage sector. We hope that by addressing this complex topic from a historical and contemporary perspective, that we can spark further discussions on how to bring stories of enslaved people to the forefront of public history internationally.

Livestream links will be in your confirmation email following registration.


Transatlantic Abolition and Law

Dr. Miranda Kaufmann (award-winning author of Black Tudors: The Untold Stories and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, part of the School of Advanced Study, University of London) will lead a panel discussion on how the law and abolition affected the lives of enslaved people on both sides of the Atlantic. Joining her to discuss this topic are Dr. John Cairns (Professor of Civil Law at the University of Edinburgh), Dr. Vincent Brown (Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University), and Dr. Manisha Sinha (James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut).

Monday, August 9, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Constitutions and Slavery

Dr. Kevin Butterfield, executive director of The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, will moderate a discussion about constitutions and slavery in a transatlantic setting. Featuring Dr. David Waldstreicher, Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York; Dr. Robert J. Cottrol, Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School; and Dr. Padraic X. Scanlan, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, the panel will explore the relationship between constitutions – written and unwritten, national and provincial – and slavery in the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Atlantic world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Capitalism and Slavery

Join Dr. Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow), Dr. Stephanie Jones-Rogers (University of California — Berkeley), Dr. Ronald Bailey (University of Illinois), and Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy (Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, moderator) as they discuss the connections between slavery and global economic development. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Keynote: Public Programming and Interpreting Slavery in the Founding Era

Join Dr Márcia Balisciano (Founding Director of Benjamin Franklin House), Brandon Dillard (Manager of Historic Interpretation at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello), and Brenda Parker (Coordinator of African American Interpretation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon), as they discuss how these three institutions contextualize and interpret Slavery in the Founding Era.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. GMT

Historic Sites Interpreting Slavery

Dr. Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of Slavery and co-director at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool will lead a discussion about interpreting slavery at historic sites on both sides of the Atlantic. Featuring Dr. Christo Kefalas, World Cultures Center, National Trust (UK); Dr. Antoinette T. Jackson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida; and Jean-Francis Manicom, Curator at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, the panel will consider the challenge of presenting slavery at public history sites.

Thursday, August 12, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Public Memory and Oral History

Join historian Annette Gordon-Reed (author of On Juneteenth and the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello) as she leads a panel discussion about the importance of oral histories in understanding how individuals and communities experienced the forces of history. Andrew Davenport, Public Historian & Manager of the Getting Word African American Oral History Project, will discuss Getting Word‘s near 28-year history and how descendants are “getting word” to us today about their lives, their families, and their dreams. Justin Reid is the director of Community Initiatives at Virginia Humanities and co-founder of The Lemon Project, which is aimed to address the history of slavery at the College of William & Mary. Alan Rice is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire and co-director of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) and director of the UCLan Lancashire Research Centre in Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX). Together they will discuss the importance of learning from the past to grapple with issues that face us today.

Friday, August 13, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Leave a Reply