Sisterhood and Slavery: Transatlantic Antislavery and Women's
October 25-28, 2001
Yale University, New Haven
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The third annual Gilder Lehrman Center International Conference, on the
topic, "Sisterhood and Slavery: Transatlantic Antislavery and Women's
Rights," will be held at Yale University from Thursday, October 25 until
Sunday, October 28, 2001.
Despite the work of a few historians with a transatlantic perspective, the
subjects of American abolitionism and feminism have almost always been
treated in isolation, in terms of "American exceptionalism." The goal of
this conference is to re-frame our understanding of these movements and
recover a better sense of their international connections.
By its very nature, abolitionism singled out a specific form of
exploitation and inequality as the most intolerable of all social evils.
Yet the concept of "slavery" has always been subject to a wide range of
metaphorical, moral, and theological uses. Gerda Lerner has persuasively
argued that the ancient enslavement of prisoners of war was modeled on the
patriarchal subjugation of women. In the early nineteenth century, women
who participated in the antislavery crusade began to realize that they too
had always been subject to a kind of bondage. The goal of our conference is
to bring the complex transatlantic convergences around these issues into
sharper focus as a way of enriching our understanding of significant
aspects of the early modernizing world.
David Brion Davis
Robert P. Forbes