Celebrating 250 Years of Charleston: Port Cities in the Atlantic World 2020 Conference
Abstr. due: 01.09.2019
Dates: 14.05.20 — 16.05.20
Organizing comittee e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizers: Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program (CLAW) at the College of Charleston
In order to mark the 350th anniversary of the settlement of Charles Towne, and the simultaneous 250th anniversary of the establishment of the College of Charleston, and the 25th anniversary of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program, CLAW will hold a major international conference entitled “Port Cities of the Atlantic World.” We will have keynotes by Emily Owens (Brown University) and Roquinaldo Ferreira (University of Pennsylvania).
The conference will commemorate the city of Charleston’s international maritime links, examining cultural, economic, and historical connections between and among Charleston and other Atlantic World port cities. In addition to extending the usual academic style call for papers, the CLAW program will invite universities, museums, historic sites, and municipal authorities from other Atlantic World port cities to send delegates to attend the conference. These delegations would be able to describe their own cities’ and institutions’ histories and missions, but more than that will be able to make connections with the College of Charleston and the city in general that extend well beyond 2020. We would like, for instance, to feature plenary sessions during the conference that give snapshots of the Atlantic World in 1670, 1770, 1870, and 1970, with a final plenary that looks to 2070 and the issues, notably of sea-level rise, that confront Atlantic World port cities. These plenary sessions would be models of global intellectual and cultural exchange.
In many ways the planned conference is the logical culmination of all that we have been doing with the CLAW program over its 25 years of existence, drawing public attention to the circulation of people, things, and ideas around the Atlantic World. It would allow us to discuss all aspects of the Atlantic World—trade, migration, race and ethnicity, religion, foodways, material culture, political developments, gender, slavery, resistance, and freedom--in one fell swoop. It will be the biggest, most ambitious conference we have attempted and will make a significant contribution to the overlapping celebrations of the city’s 350th anniversary and the College’s 250th.
Ships, the sea, and their ports of call have long stood as “paradigms of human existence.” In his classic study of the African diaspora, The Black Atlantic, Paul Gilroy used the metaphor of a ship to show the importance of movement in the shaping of modernity, especially in relation to the black experience in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. “The image of the ship,” Gilroy argued, is “a living, micro-cultural, micro-political system in motion.” Likewise H. Stuart Hughes’s classic study of Jewish emigrants to the US in the 1930s is entitled “Sea Change,” and the Puritan settlement of New England is always bound up with the legacy of a single vessel The Mayflower.
Our 2020 CLAW conference will trace the maritime routes and the historical roots that link port cities around the Atlantic World. Ships carrying people, goods, and ideas have been traversing the Atlantic and transforming the world at least since the Columbian exchange began in the fifteenth century. They still circle the globe today with cargo, tourists, and diverse sailors. In the spirit of this ongoing port history, “Port Cities of the Atlantic World” will bring academics and community leaders together to share their research on the history and culture of their respective ports of interest, whether it be Charleston, Savannah, New York, Havana, New Orleans or further afield – Panama, Cartagena, Bridgetown, Rio, Cape Town, Luanda, Freetown, Dakar, Cadiz, Lisbon, Nantes, Bremen, Hull, Liverpool, Bristol, etc.
Conference Web-Site: https://claw.cofc.edu/conferences/2020-conference-port-cities/