Presented in co-sponsorship with the Department of History at Columbia University
JENNIFER L. MORGAN is Professor of History in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair. She is the author ofLaboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and the co-editor ofConnexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America(University of Illinois Press, 2016). Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in in the Black Atlantic world. Her newest work,Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlanticconsiders colonial numeracy, racism and the rise of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world with Duke University Press.
Her recent journal articles include “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery,” inSmall Axe; “Accounting for ‘The Most Excruciating Torment’: Trans-Atlantic Passages” inHistory of the Presentand “Archives and Histories of Racial Capitalism” inSocial Text. In addition to her archival work as an historian, Morgan has published a range of essays on race, gender, and the process of “doing history,” most notably “Experiencing Black Feminism” in Deborah Gray White’s edited volumeTelling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower(2007).
NATASHA LIGHTFOOT is an Associate Professor of History in the Columbia University Department of History. She is a faculty fellow in the African American & African Diaspora Studies Department at Columbia University. She is the author of Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation (2015) and her work has been also published in Slavery & Abolition, The CLR James Journal, and The New York Times.
In Troubling Freedom Natasha Lightfoot tells the story of how Antigua's newly freed black working people struggled to realize freedom in their everyday lives, prior to and in the decades following emancipation. She presents freedpeople's efforts to form an efficient workforce, acquire property, secure housing, worship, and build independent communities in response to elite prescriptions for acceptable behavior and oppression. Despite its continued efforts, Antigua's black population failed to convince whites that its members were worthy of full economic and political inclusion. By highlighting the diverse ways freedpeople defined and created freedom through quotidian acts of survival and occasional uprisings, Lightfoot complicates conceptions of freedom and the general narrative that landlessness was the primary constraint for newly emancipated slaves in the Caribbean.
Her research on Caribbean emancipations and black conceptions and practices of freedom has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Yale Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition and Resistance, and the American Antiquarian Society.