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College Joins Consortium Universities Studying Slavery

Posted by: Julia Eichelberger | June 7, 2018 | No Comment |

Bravo! C of C has formally joined a consortium of universities committed to studying the interconnections between slavery and their institutions’ histories. Southern Studies faculty have been urging the President and the Provost to join this consortium; of course we’re very happy the College has joined and posted this official announcement on The College Today.

The College Joins Collegiate Consortium Studying Slavery

Below is a statement we wrote about why C of C is joining USS. This is now posted on the USS website (linked in the article above):

“College of Charleston students and faculty are researching slavery and its legacies in departments and programs across campus, including History, English, African American Studies, Art and Architectural History, Historic Preservation and Community Planning, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Teacher Education, Southern Studies, Religious Studies, Music, Political Science, Archaeology, Anthropology, Sociology, Jewish Studies, the Charleston Jazz Initiative, the First-Year Experience, and the Sustainability Literacy Institute. Dozens of historic buildings on the school’s campus, containing a wealth of historical material, are inspiring students and faculty to research the individuals who constructed them, including enslaved laborers. Avery Research Center, a highly significant archive and community leader housed in another historic structure, works to “collect, preserve, and promote the unique history and culture of the African diaspora, with emphasis on Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.” The College’s Addlestone Library houses the school’s Special Collections and the South Carolina Historical Society, both containing extensive archival material documenting the history of slavery in the region. Addlestone’s Lowcountry Digital Library is continuously digitizing more archival materials and creating ambitious open-access online exhibits, such as African Passages, Lowcountry Adaptations.

For two decades the Program in the Carolina Lowcoutry and Atlantic World (CLAW) has promoted scholarship and public events related to the history of slavery. Recent international conferences include Transforming Public History: From Charleston to the Atlantic World(2017) and Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reinterpreting Reconstruction in the Atlantic World (2018).

The College’s membership in Universities Studying Slavery will spur us to be more intentional in disseminating our research and in our collaborations within and beyond our institution. More College of Charleston initiatives will be announced in the coming months. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with USS as we continue to develop an in-depth and honest account of our past.”

We’ll be reporting on further initiatives as they develop. I’ll close with the last sentence we wrote for the USS announcement, which did not make it on their website:

As we deepen our understanding of slavery and its continuing impact, we will use our picturesque and historic campus as a transformative, empowering site of education and restoration.

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