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Abolitionism and the Arts

May 6 at 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

10 am – 5 pm Interdisciplinary Symposium at the Heyman Center for the Humanities
5:30 pm Concert at the Maison Française

The goal of our conference is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to think through some key questions and issues that arise when we study the connections between the arts and the history of abolitionism in the Atlantic world, e.g.: What approaches did writers, musicians, and artists take to the problems of slavery and the slave trade? In what ways did their creative activities subvert or reinscribe stereotypes about Africans and African-descended people? How did the materiality of the objects they produced—musical scores, teapots, broadsides—affect the types of abolitionist messages they promoted? Did these political artworks complement or stray from the official strategies of organizations like the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade? We are inviting scholars from art history, literature, musicology, and history to present work that is grounded in their own fields but that also speaks to these wider historical questions. We hope the conference will create connections between scholars of different fields and inspire new scholarship on the theme of abolitionism and the arts.


May 6
10:00 am - 9:00 pm


Heyman Center for the Humanities
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY 10027 United States