June 2019: Esclavitud, visualidad y memoria: Prácticas de reactivación

Statue of Benkos Biohó, Maroon leader in 17th-century Cartagena de Indias. Photo: Isabela Fraga

Building on conversations developed through the Working Group’s programming on campus since 2016 and the international colloquium held at the UChicago Paris Center in March 2018, in June 2019 we convened our second international conference in Cartagena, Colombia, titled “Esclavitud, visualidad y memoria: Prácticas de reactivación” [Slavery, Visuality, and Memory: Reactivation Practices].

Tour of San Basilio de Palenque, a Maroon community founded in the early eighteenth century where an African creole language is spoken. Photo: Isabela Fraga.

Cartagena was one of the most important slave trading ports of the Atlantic world during the first hundred years of the slave trade and is now a key site of UNESCO-sponsored commemorations to the African Slave Trade. The city served as the setting for a meeting of scholars, researchers, and artists who work on the relationship between visual images and memories of slavery in the Americas. Held at Universidad de Cartagena, the conference consisted of talks by 2 keynote speakers, the discussion of 4 pre-circulated papers, 8 conference papers on participants’ research-in-progress, two art installations, a musical performance by Tambores del Cabildo, and a dance performance by the Afro-Colombian dance group Permanencias. In addition, we traveled to San Basilio de Palenque, a town founded by fugitives from slavery in the early eighteenth century that serves as a beacon for remembering slavery in Colombia. For a full program of the event, see: https://voices.uchicago.edu/slavicultcartagena2019/program/. The conference was a joint project the University of Chicago, Yale University, the Universidad de Cartagena.

Dancers from Permanencias performing Liliana Angulo’s work at the Museo San Pedro Claver. Photo: Maruja Parra
Conference organizers:
Larissa Brewer-García, Romance languages and literatures, University of Chicago
Cécile Fromont, Art History, Yale University
Agnes Lugo-Ortiz, Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago
Danielle Roper, Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago
Francisco Flórez Bolivar, History, Universidad de Cartagena
Core participants:
Jane Landers, History, Vanderbilt
Alejandro de la Fuente, History and African American Studies, Harvard University
Alfonso Múnera, History, Universidad de Cartagena
Sergio Paolo Solano, History, Universidad de Cartagena
Alfonso Cassiani Herrera, Instituición Etnoeducativa e Inclusiva Antonia Santos y Universidad del Sinú Sede Cartagena
Rubén Hernández Cassiani,Universidad de Cartagena, Fundación Instituto de Educación e Investigación Manuel Zapata Olivella
Gabriel Rocha, History, Drexel University
Bethan Fisk, History, Leeds
David Sartorius, History, University of Maryland
Angélica María Sánchez, African American Studies, Harvard University
Ximena Gómez, Art History, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Asiel Sepúlveda, Art History, Southern Methodist University
Beatriz Balanta, Art History, independent scholar
María de Lourdes Ghidoli, Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Liliana Angulo, Artist
Mercedes Angola, Artist
Nemecio Berrío, Artist and director of Permanencias