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W&M to host Southern Intellectual History Circle, Feb. 23-25

Award-winning Duke University historian Laurent Dubois will speak on “Voltaire and Dessalines in the Theatre of the Atlantic” on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m. in the Wren Chapel. Dubois’s lecture will open the 2012 meeting of the Southern Intellectual History Circle at William & Mary. It is free and open to the public.

Dubois is co-director of the Franklin Humanities Center Haiti Laboratory at Duke and author of several books on Haiti and the Caribbean, most recently “Haiti: The Aftershocks of History,” which was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review.  His other books include “Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution” (2005); “A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804” (2004); and “Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France” (2010).  He is co-editor as well of “Origins of the Black Atlantic” (2009) and “Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804:  A History in Documents” (2006).

“A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804” won four book prizes, including the Frederick Douglass Prize. Dubois currently holds a Mellon New Directions Fellowship, and is a past recipient of a National Humanities Center Fellowship (2008-09), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008-09), the Fintz Excellence in Teaching Award (2004), and a research grant from the French Ministère d’Outre-Mer (2005-06).

The Omohundro Institute of American History and Culture will host a reception in the Wren Building’s Great Hall immediately following the talk.

There will be three sessions on Friday, Feb. 24, all at the College’s Alumni House Leadership Hall.

From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. four scholars in history and French and Italian studies respond to Dubois’ talk from the day before. The respondents are Jenna Gibbs of Florida International University, Nick Nesbitt of Princeton University, Michael O’Brien of Cambridge University, and Steven Stowe of Indiana University. 

From 1:15 to 3:15, scholars in history, law, and literature will offer a panel discussion on “Slavery, Morality, and Universities.” Terry Meyers of the English Department at William & Mary will be joined by Margaret Abruzzo of the University of Alabama and Al Brophy of the Law School at the University of North Carolina. Chandos Brown, Director of William & Mary’s American Studies Program, will serve as respondent to the panel.

From 3:15 to 5:15 p.m., there will be a discussion focusing on “Native American Passages.” The speakers are Keith Cartwright, University of North Florida, Jace Weaver, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia, and Angela Pulley Hudson, Texas A & M University.  Responding to the panel will be Robbie Ethridge of the University of Mississippi and Theresa Strouth Gaul of Texas Christian University.

Concluding the conference on Saturday, Feb. 25, will be morning and afternoon discussions of the two Friday afternoon panels, starting at 9:30 in the Board Room of Blow Memorial Hall.

Registration for the conference is free, courtesy of the Plumeri Awards program for faculty excellence and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences.