William & Mary

The 2015 Tyler Symposium: The World beyond Slavery

The 2015 Tyler Symposium:  The World beyond Slavery
October 29-30, William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the official end of slavery in the United States. In 1865, the Civil War came to an end, voters ratified the 13th Amendment, and the process of constructing a nation without slavery began. The 2015 Tyler Symposium sponsored by the Department of History at William and Mary will take this sesquicentennial as an opportunity to revisit the study of postemancipation societies in the Americas and across the globe.

During the 1980s, the field of postemancipation studies was born out of research and teaching collaborations comparing contests over the meaning of freedom following the end of slavery in different parts of the Atlantic world. The focus was on struggles over labor systems, citizenship rights, and racial meanings and hierarchy, and how those struggles gave shape to societies formed in the wake of slavery. Three decades later, the 2015 Tyler event will explore the enduring insights of early postemancipation studies as well as new developments in the field. What can we learn, for instance, by incorporating less explored geographic regions into our comparative frameworks (the Middle East, e.g.)? What happens when enslaved women and conflicts over gender and sexual relations are given center stage? In what ways did memories of slavery and its end shape subsequent periods? And perhaps most importantly, what are the legacies today of postemancipation conflict? Indeed, we invite symposium presenters to approach emancipation not only as an end to slavery, but also as a beginning of political contests and processes that in many ways continue to this day

Program Participants
Program Schedule

Thursday, October 29, Blow 201:

  • 5-6:30 pm, Keynote address: Tom Holt
  • 6:30-8:30 pm, Reception, Great Hall, Wren Building

Friday, October 30, Blow 201:

  • 9:30 am-11:00am, Panel 1: Carole Emberton and Christienna Fryar 
  • 11:30 - 1:00 pm, Panel 2: Eve Troutt Powell and Trevor Getz 
  • 1:00-2:00 lunch, chance for grad students to speak with guests
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Roundtable Discussion: All Presenters 
  • 3:30 Concluding Remarks, Farewell