The Black Jacobins

CFP: a conference in London, 2 Feb 2008
Conference to be held at the Institute of Historical Research, London, Saturday 2 February 2008.

Throughout many of the events organised in Britain to commemorate the bicentenary of the British abolition of the slave trade, one voice has been missing: that of the rebellious slaves themselves, in particular those of St. Domingue/Haiti, the authors of the only successful slave revolt in history, and the people who did more than Wilberforce or anyone else to bring the slave system to an end.

2008 will mark the seventieth anniversary of the publication of The Black Jacobins, CLR James's classic history of the Haitian Revolution.
The London Socialist Historians Group and the Institute of Historical Research will commemorate this anniversary with a one day conference.

Keynote speakers confirmed so far include Darcus Howe, Bill Schwarz, editor of West Indian Intellectuals in Britain and Marika Sherwood, author of After Abolition: Britain and the Slave Trade Since 1807.

Papers will be considered on any aspect relating to The Black Jacobins and its legacy, but suggested topics that might be addressed include:

i) The making of The Black Jacobins: CLR James's life: his personal biography, the impact of his time in Trinidad, in Nelson, London and Paris on the writing of the work.

ii) The Black Jacobins itself as a masterpiece of historical writing and the intellectual influences on James which made the work not only a Marxist classic but an epic 'grand narrative' which overthrew the existing interpretations of slavery and its abolition.

iii) The intellectual inspiration of The Black Jacobins for historians, and the impact of the work on historical literature in Europe, America, Africa and the Caribbean.

iv) The intellectual inspiration of The Black Jacobins for activists and the impact of the work on those involved in liberation struggles in Europe, America, Africa and the Caribbean.

v) The Haitian Revolution itself; its impact on the wider struggle against colonial slavery and in particular its impact on the anti-slavery campaign in Britain.

vi) The legacy of Toussaint L'Ouverture as a revolutionary leader.

For further information or to send abstracts of papers (up to 1,000 words) until 1 October 2007: Christian Hogsbjerg [mailto][/mailto] or David Renton [mailto][/mailto].