Call For Papers

The Call for Papers has now closed.

“Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: A Symposium on the Atlantic World” February 21-22, 2014 at Rice University, Houston, Texas

The Department of History at Rice University invites proposals for a special conference and anthology exploring the complicated relationship between race, citizenship, and national identity during the era of emancipations. Historians working within the framework of Atlantic History have reoriented our understandings of the past away from the nation-state and towards an Atlantic, hemispheric, continental, or global approach. Without such movement away from a nationally-based framework, much of the innovative and enlightening scholarship on people of color in the Atlantic World would have been impossible. Yet by de-privileging the nation-state, historians have obscured the discussion of how nationality and citizenship figured into blacks’ conceptions of their own identities, as well as whites’ conceptions of people of color within the nation. Nationality, whether legal citizenship or cultural imagination, played an integral role in the formation of individual and group identity. By examining race, identity, and nation in particular contexts, this symposium will contribute to a better understanding of if, how, and why people of color throughout the Atlantic World came to understand themselves as citizens during the long nineteenth century.

The symposium will open on Friday, February 21st with an address from Jack P. Greene (Johns Hopkins University) examining exclusionary subjecthood and its enduring role in the construction and reconstruction of the Atlantic World. The symposium will conclude on February 22nd with discussion by Julie Saville (University of Chicago) exploring the tensions between national and trans-imperial influences on collective expressions of Afro-Atlantic identity. Major contributors to the fields of the Atlantic World and Black Diaspora will serve as panel commentators. Along with several panels focusing on varying aspects of this topic, the symposium will also feature a roundtable on the Atlantic World as a field, analytical concept, and pedagogical tool.

Successful proposals may consider a range of topics relating to race, citizenship, and national identity. We invite papers exploring a single national context or those employing a transnational analysis, and we hope to feature projects that span the era of emancipations, roughly from the Haitian Revolution through Brazilian abolition. We welcome a wide variety of topics both individually and in completed panels. Proposals should include an abstract of approximately 300 words and a single page CV. Submissions from graduate students, junior and senior scholars are encouraged, as are those that draw on interdisciplinary methods. Additionally, presented papers will be considered for publication in an anthology from a major university press. A limited amount of funding for travel may be available for those unable to obtain funding from their own institution. Proposals must be received by November 1, 2013, and should be sent by email to or by post to Race and Nation Symposium; c/o Whitney Stewart; History Department – MS 42; Rice University; PO Box 1892; Houston, TX 77251-1892. For more information, go to


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