We begin our week with a guest post from Whitney Stewart, PhD candidate at Rice University. Whitney and her colleague John Marks are organizing an upcoming symposium at Rice University that will produce an essential volume for scholars of race in the Atlantic World, but the conference will also prompt important discussion for all of us who teach United States history. Whether or not your research expertise enables you to take advantage of the publication opportunity, the pedagogical discussion will be valuable for us all. Consider taking a trip to Houston this February (the time of year when even this unrepentant Yankee appreciates the Lone Star State) or at least participate through the symposium’s live twitter forum. More from Whitney:
Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: A Roundtable on Teaching the Atlantic World
United States History has always been Atlantic in nature; the way we teach it, however, has not. Yes, generations of students came away from American survey classes with an understanding of the connections between Europe and America, but the links between the two seemed to go one way: from old to new. The Atlantic World has been a popular field of inquiry and analytical concept for decades now, and is surely more firmly established in the content of American history courses. Empire, commerce, slavery, religion: a number of traditional survey topics are now examined in the context of the flow of goods, ideas, and people around the Atlantic basin. But some students still walk away from survey courses with an isolated understanding of the nation’s history. How can we better understand American history within the larger history of the Atlantic World?
This is just one question we’ll be addressing during “Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: A Symposium on the Atlantic World,” taking place February 21-22, 2014 at Rice University. The symposium will lay the groundwork for a forthcoming anthology as well as initiate ongoing conversations for students, scholars, and instructors. At the Saturday luncheon roundtable, students and scholars will convene to discuss the Atlantic World as a pedagogical tool, historical field, and analytical concept. But we want this discussion to go beyond the Rice walls. We will be live tweeting this event and invite historians around the country to participate by asking questions of the panel via Twitter. The conversation won’t stop that afternoon; we will continue discussing why and how we teach the Atlantic World through posts on TUSH. Along with the roundtable, the symposium will feature a number of panels exploring the complicated relationship of race, citizenship, and national identity during the tumultuous long nineteenth century. By examining this connection in particular contexts within a broad Atlantic perspective, this symposium will contribute to a better understand of if, how, and why enslaved and free blacks throughout the Americas came to understand themselves as citizens of a particular nation (or possibly multiple nations) during the era of emancipation. Jack Greene (Johns Hopkins University) and Julie Saville (University of Chicago) will open and close the event, providing another opportunity to discuss how and why we need to engage with the Atlantic World in teaching and writing. We are currently accepting proposals until November 1. For the CFP, registration, and more information on the symposium, visit http://raceandnation.wordpress.com/.