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Closing of the Slave Trades: Transatlantic Perspectives, An International Symposium

Thursday, May 29-Saturday, May 31, 2008
Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University and the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University

Conference Participants


Logo--Closing of the Slave Trades: Transatlantic Perspectives, An International Symposium
The abolition of the international slave trades in the United Kingdom (1807) and the United States (1808) was perhaps only a small step for these nation-states, but created significant consequences for national identities and cultural developments within each sovereignty and spheres of influence. Millions of captured Africans were transported as unfree labor for European colonies. Emerging democracies in the New World, including Haiti, which pioneered emancipation for slaves, launched a new era for victims of the African diaspora.

Scores of commemorative events and programs have highlighted the anniversary of these watershed events in recent months. In May 2008 we will gather in Belfast to contemplate both trans-Atlantic perspectives on this renewed examination of the beginning of the end of the slave trade’s dominance of the Atlantic World. Special attention will be paid to the influence of Irish antislavery during this transforming epoch. Our program will include reflections on how to best continue our project of expanding slavery studies and anti-slavery efforts within the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Museum curators, public historians, and scholars from a variety of disciplines and institutions will come together with a goal of creating an ongoing network of resources to highlight the ways and means of keeping antislavery commemorations in the forefront. In addition to a single day’s series of panels, the symposium includes a roundtable (to be held one day in advance of the main program) highlighting new and emerging scholarship by graduate students.