CALL FOR PAPERS
Investigating Mid-Atlantic Plantations: Slavery, Economies, and Space
Philadelphia, PA October 17-19, 2019
The Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Stenton Museum, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Cliveden of the National Trust, and the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania seek proposals to contribute scholarly findings at a two-and-a half-day conference exploring the creation and development of plantations in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century mid-Atlantic region. A real-world challenge to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian republic of (white) smallholders, plantations were sites of concentrated wealth and exploitation. More familiar in a Southern context, mid-Atlantic plantations had their own forms, meanings, and relationships. In the mid-Atlantic – where fertile farmland and deep-water ports provided complementary economic engines – plantations grew in close proximity to urban centers, Northern and Southern interests co-mingled, and boundaries frequently blurred. This conference seeks to understand the unique qualities of plantation complexes in the middle colonies (states) while also comparing these regional phenomena with better-known Southern institutions and situating them within the larger contexts of British North America and the United States.
We seek participants from diverse fields including economic, social, and cultural history; African American studies; geography, archeology, and material culture; and museum studies, cultural resource management, and historic preservation. Paper proposals might address economic, familial, and religious networks; enslavement, indenture, and “free” labor; land ownership and land development; agricultural and horticultural practices; architecture, circulation, and spatial relationships; physical and cognitive maps; foodways and music; industry and commerce; and the construction of gendered or racial categories. We look forward to seeing even more ways that applicants might illuminate these mid-Atlantic geographies of privilege, slavery, and forced labor; manifold local and far-reaching economies; and spaces both rural and urban.
Conference organizers will consider individual papers and panel submissions. Papers will be pre-circulated. PowerPoint presentations, especially those relating to visual and material culture, may also be pre-circulated. Please submit an abstract (250 words) and a short curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals for panels should include these materials for each participant.
The deadline for submissions is 15 September 2018. Applicants can expect to hear back from the conference committee by November 2018. Formal papers will be pre-circulated by early September 2019. Some funding is available to offset the costs of travel and lodging for conference participants.