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The Cost of Freedom: Debt and Slavery
A conference in the Fredric Ewen Series on Civil Liberties and Academic Freedom, 19-20 May 2017
Brooklyn College, City University of New York
The rhetorics of freedom and liberty permeate contemporary and historical political discourse. This language and its associated symbols is invariably positively connoted from the perspective of the speaker and the presumed audience. However, the associated values and defining principles shift dramatically in each social context. In short we can all agree freedom is good, but we cannot agree what it means to be free. One of the key sites of contention in such discourse is what needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve liberty and what costs are associated with the preservation of freedom. The valuation of liberty is directly linked to whose freedom is prioritized and who is seen as bearing the associated costs. All of this is especially true in any discussion of slavery.
The aim of this conference is to bring scholars from numerous disciplines into conversation across the historical timeline. Just as freedom and liberty are slippery concepts, so are ideas of debt, value, and payment. But rather than simply viewing these terms as rhetorical devices that make freedom seem worthwhile, we deploy debt, value,and payment as analytical tools for understanding how freedom works – while also keeping in mind that these are concepts that themselves demand investigation. These ideas unite the discourses of freedom and liberty, from ethical and economic discourses, which describe freedom as either physical labor or a mental activity, as well as the language of religion and science. Often our innumerable ways of assessing value bleed one into another, especially in conversations regarding individual and shared liberties.
By explicitly juxtaposing the different methodologies used in asking “what does freedom cost?” from Greco-Roman antiquity to the present, we hope to explore overlapping areas of research and help expand the existing conversations in each discipline. In addition to providing vocabularies, practices and theories of freedom that we still use today, Ancient Greece and Rome provide many examples of peoples who lacked freedom but strove to obtain it, including slaves, women and conquered peoples. By simultaneously examining the Greco-Roman antiquity and modernity, we bring to light recurrent historical patterns of the costs that people have and continue pay for freedom.
Our ultimate goal is to produce a rigorous edited volume of the most substantial and unified conference contributions for publication by a major university press.
Our confirmed keynote speakers include, Orlando Patterson (John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard University), Saidiya Hartman (Professor, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University) and Deborah Kamen (Associate Professor, Classics, University of Washington). We are seeking contributions for at least four panels of 3-4 participants each. We hope to attract participation from a wide range of academic disciplines and from scholars at all levels, and will try to reflect this diversity in our creation of each broad panel. Examples of possible panel titles might be: “Themes of Freedom and Payment in the Novel”, “The Economics of Emancipation”, “Cross-Cultural Political Theories of Sacrifices and Liberty”, “Comparative Histories of Debt-Bondage”, or “The Shifting Demographics of Civil Liberties”.
We will be offering a minimum of six bursaries of up to 500 dollars to be awarded on the basis of greatest need, taking into account access to institutional funding and the distance of the conference from the participant’s home institution.
31 October 2016 is the deadline for the submission of abstracts. Please include the following as separate files: (1) title, abstract of 300-500 words, a one page bibliography (no self identifying information please!); (2) your name, title of your proposed talk, institutional affiliation, short academic bio, and an indication of whether you’d like to be consider for a bursary, a budget for the amount requested, and any information we should take into consideration when making our bursary allocations.
These two files (PDF or MSWord preferred) should be sent to: [email protected]
General questions on this conference should be sent to: [email protected]
We hope to notify successful applicants by 15 November.
31 March 2017 will be the deadline for submission of draft papers for pre-circulation among fellow panelists and organizers.
We will also invite poster submissions from undergraduates conducting research on related themes; the deadline for poster proposals will be 1 March 2017.
The 10th ISABS Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine is inviting abstract submissions to contribute to an already exciting list of speakers.
International Society for Applied Biological Sciences (ISABS) is founded with an idea to promote, enhance and extend research, development and education in molecular biology as applied to clinical and molecular medicine, molecular genetics, genomics, proteomics, forensic and anthropological genetics, biotechnology and individualized medicine. Although the first official assembly of the ISABS was held in 2004, the society has actually started with its activities in 1997 by organizing the international meeting in forensic ad clinical genetics: First European – American Intensive Course in PCR Based Clinical and Forensic Testing. Along the organization of biannual scientific meetings, during the past years the Society has become a rich source of prominent young scientist that are continually giving a huge contribution to the promotion and advancement in the various fields of applied biomedical sciences both in Croatia and abroad.
The foundation of Anthropology and Global Health Section under the ISABS Scientific Committee will take place at the 10th ISABS Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine in Dubrovnik, Croatia, June 19-24, 2017.
The Conference will host 5 Nobel Prize Laureates, including dr. Ada Yonath (Weizmann Institute of Science), dr. Robert Huber (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry), dr. Avram Hershko (Technion), dr. Harald zur Hausen (University of Heildeberg) and dr. Paul Modrich (Duke University).
More than 60 invited speakers from the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, MIT, Duke University, Penn State University, National Institutes of Health-NIH, Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University, University of Cambridge, etc., as well as 500 participants from more than 55 countries will attend the Conference.
More information on ISABS and 10th ISABS Conference is available at www.isabs.hr
On October 17-20, 2017 in Moscow the Research Council for the Problems of African Countries and the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences hold the 14th African Studies Conference titled “Africa and Africans in National, Regional and Global Dimensions.” The Conference will take place on the premises of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The working languages are Russian and English.
The Organizing Committee would like to encourage you to submit panel proposals, focusing on any particular topics related to the Conference’s umbrella theme. The deadline for panel proposals submitting is December 1, 2016. The Organizing Committee will be glad to consider any panel proposals (within 500 words in English or both English and Russian) received by this date. The information to be submitted alongside with the proposal includes the proposed panel convenor(s)’ full name(s), title(s), institutional affiliation(s), full mail and e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers. The list of prospective papergivers with their particulars is desirable but not compulsory.
The Organizing Committee would appreciate your familiarizing the members of your research/teaching unit, as well as all interested colleagues, with the present Announcement.