2007 Conference Overview

The Legacies of Slavery and Emancipation: Jamaica in the Atlantic World

Ninth Annual International Conference
November 1-3, 2007

 Jamaica in the Atlantic World
In conjunction with the exhibition “Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds,” the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition co-sponsored a major international symposium on The Legacies of Slavery and Emancipation: Jamaica in the Atlantic World. This was the Gilder Lehrman Center’s ninth annual international fall conference.

The focus of this conference was one of the central themes of the exhibition: the unfinished legacy of Jamaican slavery, both for present-day Jamaica and the wider Atlantic world. Scholars from the UK, the US, and the West Indies, as well as visual artists, musicians, and film-makers investigated a range of topics including labor, religion, and the legacies of slavery in Jamaica and Britain. Complementing these panels were a series of “break out” sessions in the exhibition and the collections of the YCBA and other institutions at Yale in which the broader conceptual and historical issues debated during the conference can be brought to bear on the analysis of specific objects and images.

Panels included:

  • The Legacies of Slavery in Jamaica
  • The Legacies of Jamaican Slavery in the United Kingdom
  • Labor and the Legacies of Slavery
  • Music and the Legacies of Slavery

Breakout session topics included:

  • The Middle Passage and Iconography of the Slave Ship
  • Sugar and the Plantation
  • Afro-Jamaican Performance and Art
  • Contemporary Afro-Caribbean Art
  • Anglo-Jamaican Print Culture
  • Slave Gardens

The conference also featured a screening of Stephanie Black’s film Life and Debt and a performance by Inity Reggae Band on Saturday.

All conference activities were held at the YCBA, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT.