The Art of History: A two-day Celebration at the College of Charleston in Honor of Peter H. Wood

Peter H. Wood has inspired a generation of historians to investigate the role played by people of African descent in the construction of American society.  His first book, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (1974), is both an essential history of South Carolina’s turbulent beginnings and a classic portrait of how a human community shapes its environment and is shaped by land and water in turn.  His subsequent work reflects his lifelong interests in exploration, natural history, and the arts.  Wood’s two recent books on paintings by Winslow Homer—Weathering the Storm:  Inside Winslow Homer’s Gulf Stream (2004) and Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War (2010)—break new ground in the interpretation of an American master.

On October 20–21, the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program, Addlestone Library, and Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture will present “The Art of History,” a two-day event honoring Peter Wood.  Activities will begin on Thursday evening at 6:00 in Addlestone Library, room 227, with a screening of Carvalho’s Journey, a work-in-progress by acclaimed filmmaker Steve Rivo.  Born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1815, Solomon Nunes Carvalho was an observant Jew who became a mainstream artist and the official photographer for John C. Fremont’s 1853 expedition across North America, a journey that nearly cost him his life.

On Friday, Wood, professor emeritus at Duke University, will offer a lecture on Near Andersonville, recounting the detective-like work at the intersection of art and history that led him to uncover the mysteries of this once neglected painting.  Winslow Homer may be best known for his paintings of ships and sailors, hunters and fishermen, rural vignettes and coastal scenes, but he also created some of the first serious black figures in American art.  Wood’s provocative study gives us a fresh view on Homer’s early career, the struggle to end slavery, and the dramatic closing engagements of the Civil War.

The lecture, to be held on October 21st at 6:00 PM at the Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, is co-sponsored by Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia) Bank and is a part of the CLAW program’s commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

Putting the Hospital into Southern Hospitality

Peter H. Wood reviews Peter McCandless’s Slavery, Disease, and Suffering in the Southern Lowcountry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011) in Southern Spaces.

In a few days, well before the first mosquito-killing frost reaches the South Carolina Lowcountry, I’ll head to Charleston for a conference. I look forward to the visit, and I expect to return home in good health. As medical historian Peter McCandless comments reassuringly about the region, “It is now, as it once was, a relatively healthy place.”

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CFP: South Carolina Historical Association 2012 Annual Meeting

The 2012 annual meeting of the SCHA will be held March 3 at the S.C. Department of Archives and History, Columbia, S.C.

Since 1931 the South Carolina Historical Association has held an annual meeting bringing historians of all backgrounds together. Although it originates in South Carolina, the Association encourages historians to submit papers on topics ranging from Southern and American history to African, European, and Asian histories. Furthermore it encourages other topics that can include history of education, science, and religion. Since its inception eighty years ago, historians have contributed papers on these and other wide ranging topics. The annual meeting provides opportunities for historians of all interests to learn from each other and share their research interests.   In the Association’s first annual meeting the topics ranged from the British South African Company, Electoral Corruption in England to the Granger Movement in South Carolina.  Proposals for complete sessions should include three and no more than four papers. Presentations are limited to twenty minutes. Papers presented are eligible for peer review for publication in the association’s journal, Proceedings. Undergraduates and their faculty mentors are welcome and will be grouped in separate sessions to the best possible extent.  All participants must be members of the SCHA. For membership dues and privileges please see

Send proposals and c.v. electronically to Fritz Hamer, Ph.D. at or mail to

South Caroliniana Library,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC  29208.

Deadline for proposals is 16 December 2011. Accepted proposals will be notified by 3 January. Deadline for submitting papers to session chairs is 3 February 2012.

NPS Gullah Geechee Link

The National Park Service is pleased to announce the launch of the new on-line Places Reflecting America’s Diverse Cultures Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itinerary. This itinerary features more than 150 units of the National Park System that preserve and tell the stories of the diverse peoples who have played a role in American history.

Race-Based Names Dot the Landscape

Stephen Morton for The New York Times
Published: October 6, 2011

ATLANTA — The onetime name of Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas hunting camp is currently the most famous example of an egregious race-based place name, but it is not the only one.

Consider Runaway Negro Creek, which flows near a state park outside Savannah, Ga. The name is printed on nautical charts, but park rangers find it so uncomfortable to use, they try to avoid saying it.

It is one of several hundred places that have the word “Negro” in their names and still exist on government maps and in the local vernacular in dozens of states.

They are vestiges of racial attitudes that not that long ago made it acceptable to label a piece of property once leased by Gov. Rick Perry’s family as Niggerhead, which had been painted in block letters on a large rock at the entrance to the rural northern Texas hunting camp. The word was once so common it was used as a brand name for everyday items like soap, canned shrimp and tobacco.

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Film: “Stay in De Boat”

Students in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Charleston will premiere this short but powerful fim to the public at 5:30 pm on Thursday, October 27, 2011 in the Robert Scott Small Building, room 235 on the campus of the College of Charleston. This student-made film features Elder Carlie Towne, Ron Daise, Carolyn “Jabulile” White and “Queen Quet” among others who talk about their experiences, dreams, and hopes for the future of the Gullah/Geechee people, their language, and their culture.

The Robert Scott Small Building is located in the center of  campus. Parking is available at St. Philip Street and Wentworth Street garages. For more information, contact Dr. E. Moore Quinn, or 843-953-7306.

CLAW CFP: Race, Gender and Sexualities in the Atlantic World Conference

March 9-11, 2012: Race, Gender, and Sexualities in the Atlantic World

Proposals Due: December 2, 2011

The Carolina Lowcountry in the Atlantic World Program (CLAW) at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC invites paper proposals addressing women, gender, and sexuality in the Atlantic World 1500-Present. The featured keynote speaker is Jennifer L. Morgan (New York University). We invite scholars to submit proposals for individual papers and panels that might address such questions as:

  • Performances of Gender
  • Gender and Discovery
  • Colonialism
  • Constructions of Sexualities
  • Native American Contact
  • Race and Gender
  • African Diaspora and Slavery

 As with previous successful CLAW program events the conference will be run in a seminar style: accepted participants will be expected to send completed papers to the organizers in advance of the conference itself (by March 1st, 2012) for circulation via password-protected site. At the conference itself presenters will talk for no more than ten minutes about their paper, working on the assumption that everyone has read the paper itself. This arrangement means that papers may be considerably lengthier and more carefully argued than the typical 20-minute presentation; and it leads to more substantive, better informed discussion. It also generally allows us to move quite smoothly toward publication of a selection of essays with the University of South Carolina Press.

 Proposals for individual papers should be 200 words, and should be accompanied by a brief one-page biographical statement indicating institutional affiliation, research interests, and relevant publishing record for each participant, including chairs and commentators. Please place the panel proposal, and its accompanying paper proposals and vitas in one file. Please submit your proposal electronically with CLAW conference in the subject line to the conference chair, Dr. Sandra Slater at by December 2, 2011.

 If you wish to send a proposal for a 3 or 4 person panel, please send a 300 to 500 word proposal describing the panel as a whole as well as proposals for each of the individual papers, along with biographical statements for each of the presenters. The organizers reserve the right to accept individual papers from panel proposals, to break up panels, and to add papers to panels. Notification of acceptance will be sent by January 31st, 2012.

CFP: Atlantic Geographies Institute, May 14-17, 2012

The American Studies Program at the University of Miami presents:


A 4-day institute for advanced graduate students and recent PhDs May 14-17, 2012 The Elena Díaz-Versón Amos Conference Room of the Cuban Heritage Collection and the 3rd-Floor Conference Room, Richter Library, University of Miami  

Keynote lecture and workshop by Vincent Brown (Professor of History and of African and African American Studies, Duke University). Public lecture: Monday, May 14, 4:30 p.m. Closed workshop: Tuesday, May 15, 9:30 a.m.

 The field of Atlantic studies has been at the forefront of the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences for several decades, challenging national paradigms for the study of history and culture, embracing historical geography in groundbreaking projects such as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, and producing a rich body of scholarship that brings together art, geography, history, literature, and politics in innovative and fruitful ways. From D. W. Meinig’s Atlantic America, 1492-1800 (1986) to Nicolás Wey Gómez’s The Tropics of Empire (2008), geographical studies of the Atlantic world have centrally informed Atlantic history and transatlantic literary studies. Most recently, Atlantic studies has also begun to engage the expanded datasets and sophisticated cartographies of geographical information systems (GIS).

 Eager to see what the next generation of scholars brings to this conversation and how they will change it, we invite applications from advanced doctoral students and recent PhDs in the humanities and social sciences who have completed or will complete the PhD between May 2010 and May 2013. We are interested in all environments, regions, communities, and countries of the Atlantic world and particularly in the wide array of discourses, events, and processes that bind them together. We hope that new maps of the field will emerge from these discussions and that participants will be able to draw and build on them over the course of their careers.

 Participants will discuss their pre-circulated working papers in closed seminars led by faculty from the University of Miami, Florida International University, and Florida Atlantic University, all of which share a strong scholarly tradition in Atlantic studies. The institute will provide several meals and a $300 stipend for all participants and hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses, though we may be able to defray travel costs for one or two applicants who otherwise would not be able to attend. Although the common working language of the seminar will be English, we are eager to discuss a variety of geographic and linguistic areas and encourage applications from scholars in and of Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

 Please send the following materials in PDF format to

 1. a two-page description of your dissertation or book project; 2. a current CV; 3. a one-page abstract of the paper you wish to present; 4. (only if applicable) a request for partial travel funding. 5. Please arrange for two confidential letters of recommendation to be sent to the same email address.

Completed applications are due December 8, 2011. We will notify up to twelve successful applicants by mid-January 2012.

For more information, please visit our website at

Organizing committee: Tracy Devine Guzmán (Modern Languages and Literatures), Kate Ramsey (History), Tim Watson (American Studies and English), Ashli White (History).

The Atlantic Geographies Institute is generously supported by the following units at the University of Miami: the Program in American Studies, the University of Miami Libraries, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of History, the Department of English, the Joseph Carter Memorial Fund of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the Department of Geography and Regional Studies, the Department of Philosophy, the Center for the Humanities, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Graduate School, the Atlantic Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group, and the Program in Africana Studies.

UN Launches Competition to Design Memorial to Victims of Slavery

New York, Sep 30 2011  3:05PM

The committee tasked with building a permanent memorial at the United Nations to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade today launched a global competition for the design of the structure to remind the world that millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, abused and robbed of their dignity.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will administer the design competition, Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica, the chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee on Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, told a news conference at UN Headquarters.

“As we launch the competition I am pleased to report that all stakeholders including the members of the committee, Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Africa Group which participated in the negotiations are supremely confident that UNESCO will manage a transparent, inclusive and politically impartial selection process,” said Mr. Wolfe.

He urged ministries of foreign affairs and culture of Member States to disseminate information about the design competition so that a “rich and diverse pool of applications can be submitted to UNESCO for consideration.” The deadline for submitting designs to the competition is 19 December 2011.

Philippe Kridelka, the Director of UNESCO’s New York Office and Representative to the UN, noted that the monument will not only be a symbol, but part of an education process in memory of slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Some $4.5 million is required to build the monument, and just over $1 million has been raised through donations from States and others sources.

Mr. Wolfe encouraged corporations, philanthropists and the private sector to contribute to the project.


For more details go to UN News Centre at