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Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma

Professor of Modern U.S. History and African American Studies Nan Woodruff is organizing a conference on Rethinking Violence in African American History. The conference will be hosted at Penn State’s University Park campus on October 6-7, 2017, and will include leading scholars in the fields of history, anthropology, law, and political science, as well as activists, all of whom are engaged in path-breaking work on the legacies of racism and violence in U.S. history.

Friday, October 6, Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library, Penn State University Park

3:45 p.m. Registration Check-in
4:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening RemarksMichael Kulikowski, Penn State
4:15 p.m.

Panel 1 – Reconsidering Freedom

  • Introduction: Amy Greenberg, Penn State
  • Stacey Smith, Oregon State University, Emancipating Peons, Excluding Coolies: The American West and the Postwar Meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment
  • Crystal Feimster, Yale University, Defining Freedom: Mutiny and Rape at Fort Jackson, LA
  • Amy Dru Stanley, The University of Chicago, A Reconstruction of Human Rights: Happiness and the Negation of Chattel Slavery
  • Moderator: Kate Masur, Northwestern University
6:00 p.m.

Keynote Address

  • Introduction: William Blair, Penn State
  • Keynote Address: Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania, The World the Civil War Made, or Maybe Didn't 

Saturday, June 22: Boardroom I, The Nittany Lion Inn

8:00 a.m. Registration Check-in
8:15 a.m. Opening RemarksWilliam Blair, Penn State
8:30 a.m. 

Panel 2 – Reworking the State

  • Introduction: Nan Woodruff, Penn State
  • Laura F. Edwards, Duke University, Reconstruction, Rights, and the Nation’s Legal Culture
  • Amanda Claybaugh, Harvard University,The Reconstruction Novel, Reconsidered
  • Andrew Zimmerman, The George Washington University, From the Second American Revolution to the First International and Back Again: Marx, Marxists, and the American Civil War
  • Moderator: Gregory Downs, The City College of New York
10:00 a.m.  Break
10:30 a.m. 

Panel 3 – Remaking the Nation

  • Introduction: Anthony Kaye, Penn State
  • Luke Harlow, The University of Tennessee, The Faith that Did Not Die: Reconstruction and the Long Life of Proslavery Religion
  • K. Stephen PrinceUniversity of South FloridaThe Burnt District: Southern Ruins and the Meaning of Reconstruction
  • C. Joseph Genetin-PilawaIllinois College, Ely S. Parker and the Paradox of Reconstruction Politics in Indian Country
  • Moderator: Gregory Downs, The City College of New York
12:00 noon  Buffet lunch for all conference attendees, Alumni Lounge, The Nittany Lion Inn. 
1:30 p.m. 

Panel 4 – Redefining Belonging

  • Introduction: Crystal Sanders, Penn State 
  • Kidada E. Williams, Wayne State University, The Wounds that Cried Out:Reflections on Understanding African Americans’ Suffering from Nightriding Violence
  • Stephen Kantrowitz, University of Wisconsin-MadisonCitizenship, Civilization, and the Strange Career of the "Stray Bands": How the Ho-Chunks of Wisconsin Used Reconstruction to Thwart Removal
  • Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Black Americans and Indian Territory: Thinking about Race, Reconstruction, and Colonialism in the West
  • Moderator: Kate Masur, Northwestern University
3:30 p.m. 

Closing Remarks: Kate Masur, Northwestern University and Gregory Downs, The City College of New York


See Conference participants bios