ASALH Call for Papers, 2013 Conference


Association for the Study of African American Life and History

March 2013

Marking the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History invites papers, panels, and round-tables on these and related topics of black emancipation, freedom, justice and equality, and the movements that have sought to achieve these goals. Submissions may focus on the historical periods tied to the 2013 theme, their precursors and successors, and other past and contemporary moments across the breadth of African American history.

The submission deadline is May 15, 2013!

Scroll down and read through the Call for Papers to learn more.

At the Crossroads of Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington

The year 2013 marks two important anniversaries in the history of African Americans and the United States. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation set the United States on the path of ending slavery. A wartime measure issued by President Abraham Lincoln, the proclamation freed relatively few slaves, but it fueled the fire of the enslaved to strike for their freedom. In many respects, Lincoln’s declaration simply acknowledged the epidemic of black self-emancipation – spread by black freedom crusaders like Harriet Tubman – that already had commenced beyond his control. Those in bondage increasingly streamed into the camps of the Union Army, reclaiming and asserting self-determination. The result, abolitionist Fredrick Douglass predicted, was that the war for the Union became a war against slavery. The actions of both Lincoln and the slaves made clear that the Civil War was in deed, as well as in theory, a struggle between the forces of slavery and emancipation. The full-scale dismantlement of the “peculiar institution” of human bondage had begun.

In 1963, a century later, America once again stood at the crossroads. Nine years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had outlawed racial segregation in public schools, but the nation had not yet committed itself to equality of citizenship. Segregation and innumerable other forms of discrimination made second-class citizenship the extra-constitutional status of non-whites. Another American president caught in the gale of racial change, John F. Kennedy, temporized over the legal and moral issue of his time. Like Lincoln before him, national concerns, and the growing momentum of black mass mobilization efforts, overrode his personal ambivalence toward demands for black civil rights. On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans, blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, marched to the memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, in the continuing pursuit of equality of citizenship and self-determination. It was on this occasion that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech. Just as the Emancipation Proclamation had recognized the coming end of slavery, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom announced that the days of legal segregation in the United States were numbered.

For more information, or to submit a paper proposal, visit ASALH’s website.


The 2013 Geography Lecture Features Dr. Derek Alderman on “Pressing the RESET Button on Southern Hospitality: African American Belonging and Tourism Justice”

March 26th, 2013 at 4:00pm in Physician’s Auditorium, College of Charleston campus

Dr. Derek Alderman, Geographer from the University of Tennessee, will speak at this year’s annual Geography lecture hosted by the Department of Political Science.
Alderman has long worked on issues of justice in the South.
Alderman co-coordinates the RESET (Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism) Initiative in addition to several other associations.
See a full list of Dr. Alderman’s published works and accomplishments at

“I am a cultural and historical geographer interested in public memory, popular culture, and heritage tourism in the U.S. South. Much of my work focuses on the rights of African Americans to claim the power to commemorate the past and shape cultural landscapes as part of a broader goal of social and spatial justice.”
–Dr. Alderman

Sponsored by College of Charleston Departments of Hospitality and Tourism Management  Political Science, and Historic Preservation and Community Planning

Recap of the Tenth International CAAR Conference

Reflections on Dreams Deferred, Promises and Struggles: Perceptions and Interrogations of Empire, Nation, and Society by Peoples of African Descent
The 10th International CAAR Conference

Like all CAAR conferences, the 10th biennial conference in Atlanta provoked deep analysis of the cultural, emotional, mental, and socio-economic state of Black people throughout the African diaspora. Spanning a wide array of topics, the papers made us laugh, cry, strategize, and ponder deeply the importance of our work as scholars, teachers, and what Toni Cade Bambara called “cultural workers.” Indeed, the inaugural CAAR conference in the US accomplished its mission, and thus was a watershed moment in this important year that commemorates such important milestones in the African American historical narrative—the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th years anniversaries of the March on Washington, the death of W.E.B DuBois, and the desegregation of South Carolina public schools.

The Collegium for African American Research Celebrates Its 10th International Conference

The Collegium for African American Research’s 10th International Conference:
Dreams Deferred, Promises and Struggles: Perceptions and Interrogations of Empire, Nation, and Society by Peoples of African Descent
Musings from Hotlanta

With well over two hundred conference participants, the 2013 CAAR conference in Atlanta has proven to be a successful collaboration between international scholars and local and regional institutions of higher education. The College of Charleston is one such collaborating partner, sponsoring today’s keynote address by esteemed theater professor and radical thinker, Dr. Frank Wilderson of University of California-Irvine. His talk, “Afro-pessimism and the Paradox of Political Engagement” will be given this evening at the Atlanta Fulton Library.

The wide breadth of paper topics has touched on just about every area of Black history, life, and culture. One of my favorites so far has been “Blackness, Sexuality, and Gender in Transcultural Spaces featuring Dr. Charles Nero of Bates College, whose paper, “ A Democracy of Sin: the Failure to Transform in E. Lynn Harris’ Queer Black Nationalism,”:
Professor Gayle Baldwin ( University of North Dakota), whose paper, “ The Black Gay Quilt as Theological Resistance” chronicles the Black Church response to the murder of Sakia Gunn, a black lesbian teenage in Newark, New Jersey; and finally, the work of Dr. Pekka Kilpelainen, University of Eastern Finland, whose paper, “ Like the Sound of Crumbling Wall: Transcultural Spatiality in James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head was engaging, creative, and a tribute to the genius of Baldwin and his contribution to Black liberation epistemologies.

Other highlights include the screening of Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years, and the SCLC exhibit sponsored by MARBL ( Manuscripts and Rare Books Library) of Woodruff Library at Emory University.

African American Heritage Day Sets New Attendance Record

African American Heritage Days (1)_201212170953272204Approximately 1,300 elementary and middle school students braved a very rainy day to celebrate African American Heritage Day at Wannamaker County Park.  The children experienced Sierra Leonean drumming, Gullah storytelling, Wo’se African dancing, Capoiera martial arts, and other performances. In addition, the children learned about Carolina Gold rice cultivation and processing by pounding rice in mortars and pestles, observing a rice trunk model, and fanning rice in baskets. The 54th Massachusetts re-enactment group also spoke about the role of this legendary unit in the attack on Battery Wagner and in other Charleston area battles. Vera Manigault, an award winning sweetgrass basket maker, also spoke with the children about the long history of Charleston area baskets from their roots in West Africa to their utility on plantations to their evolution as a highly regarded and collectible art form.