2003 Conference Overview

Collective Degradation: Slavery and the Construction of Race

November 7-8, 2003
Luce Hall, Yale University

While scholars have largely accepted the view that race is a socially-constructed concept, the complex processes of its formation are not well understood — in large part because of the wide and diverse range of contributing factors. The fifth international conference of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition explored the relationship between the enslavement of Africans and the construction of early and modern conceptions of race and racial hierarchies. The conference brought together scholars of Graeco-Roman and Biblical antiquity, medieval Europe and early Islam, with authorities on Enlightenment, 19th- and early 20th-century European and American racial thought, with the goal of exchanging and combining insights from a wide range of historical periods and disciplines.