Overview

Imtiaz Habib's Black Lives in the English Archives, 1500-1677: Imprints of the Invisible (Routledge, 2008) is a touchstone for studying race and racialisation in early modern England. Through a careful analysis of “black citations”, Habib traces an “arc of invisibility” that begins with the unrecognition of Black lives in the sixteenth century and concludes in the seventeenth century with the “politicized racial subject”, a figure ensnared within English colonialism and racial slavery (p. 18). He upends this invisibility with an accompanying “Chronological Index” that rigorously details references to Black lives in parish records, state papers, newspapers, treatises, and diaries. For early modernists working on Black life, race, and the problem of archives, Habib's work has been foundational.

We invite current or recent postgraduate research students from across Early Modern Studies to participate in an Online Symposium that will reflect on Habib's Black Lives in the English Archives. Between October 2022 and February 2023, we will work collectively to produce a blog series, published by the many-headed monster blog. To aid in this series of collaborative reflections, we will host online and in person gatherings that will allow contributors to grapple with Habib's work and develop their blog posts (signup details).

If you are interested in participating, please sign up to our events via Eventbrite. Please reach out with questions by using our Contact Form.

Convenors

Rebecca Adusei

Rebecca Adusei is a PhD student at King's College, London. Her project locates and analyses depictions and characterisations of Sub-Saharan Africans in Early Modern literature and drama. Trained in Literary Studies, Rebecca's research has become increasingly interdisciplinary. Drawing together Literary Studies and History, she looks at Black individuals in the Early modern archives and scrutinises their characterisations in literature.

Rebecca runs a book blog on Instagram where she sometimes discusses the Early Modern period. She has previously conducted tours for KCL's Visible Skin Project. She has spoken at the London Shakespeare Centre and the Shakespeare's Globe's Home and Early Modernity Conference. In 2021/2022, she was awarded the SRS Scholars of Colour Bursary for her work in Early Modern Studies.

Jamie Gemmell

Jamie Gemmell is a historian of race and power in the early modern Anglo-Atlantic World. He is a LAHP PhD student at King's College, London. His project traces how London life changed in the wake of England's development of racialised systems of enslaved labour across the Americas in the late seventeenth century. His project is titled “Reckoning with Race in Early Modern London, 1655-1712” and supervised by Prof. Laura Gowing and Prof. Miles Ogborn.

Events (CEMS KCL)

Reading Sessions

Between October and December 2022, we will host monthly online reading sessions. These sessions will focus on specific sections of Black Lives in the English Archives and allow a fine-grained discussion of the text. The sessions are open to all. To attend, please signup via our Eventbrite.

28th October at 09:00AM BST: Introducing Black Lives and the Seventeenth Century (Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2)

28th November at 09:00AM GMT: The Seventeenth Century (Chapter 3)

15th December at 09:00AM GMT: Beyond Black London Lives (Chapter 4 & 5, Afterword)

Workshop

On Tuesday 21st February 2023, we will gather at King's College, London, for a workshop on Habib's Black Lives. Contributors will present drafts of their blogs and engage with fellow PGRS and ECR also thinking with Habib's text. To attend please signup via our Eventbrite.

If you have any questions about our events, please reach out via our Contact form.

Blog Series

We invite current or recent postgraduate research students from across Early Modern Studies to write blogs that reflect on what they have learned from and how they have thought with Black Lives in the English Archives. Blogs can be around 1,000 words and can take any format, whether that be single-authored pieces, co-authored pieces, or transcribed conversations. Although we encourage all contributors to participate in our events, attendance is not necessary to make a submission.

Initial drafts should be sent to us via email: [email protected] The deadline for initial drafts is 31st January 2023. You will then have the opportunity to present your blog at our February Workshop. The Symposium Convenors will also be happy to provide asynchronous comments and feedback. The final deadline for submissions is 31st March 2023.

Our blog series will be published as an Online Symposium with the many-headed monster blog. The Symposium shares many of the conventions of academic writing but its open-access nature means it will reach a wider audience. The many-headed monster blog publishes work on early modern English society and culture, with a specific focus on "history from below". The blog has, at least, 5,000 readers per month.

Author Guidelines

  • Word Count: 1,200 (max)
  • Non-specialist audience
  • Referencing: Chicago Manual of Style
  • Please submit your submission as a Word document
  • Images can be included (please send as a separate file(s))
  • Please include a one-line bio
  • Recommended Readings

    We have compiled a short list of readings on race and Black life in early modern England. You can find an annotated bibliography on histories of premodern race here.

  • Chakravarty, Urvashi. Fictions of Consent: Slavery, Servitude, and Free Service in Early Modern England. Philadelphia, PA.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022.
  • Lowe, K. J. P. and Earle T. F. (eds.). Black Africans in Renaissance Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Maguire, Richard C. Africans in East Anglia, 1467-1833. Martlesham: Boydell & Brewer, 2021.
  • Morgan, Jennifer L. Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship, and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic. Durham, NC.: Duke University Press, 2021.
  • Nubia, Onyeka. Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, Their Presence, Status and Origins. London: Narrative Eye, 2014.
  • Nubia, Onyeka. England’s Other Countrymen: Black Tudor Society. London: Zed Books, 2019.
  • Ungerer, Gustav. The Mediterranean Apprenticeship of British Slavery. Madrid: Editorial Verbum, 2008.
  • If you have any questions about the blog series, please reach out via our Contact Page.

    Schedule

    10/2022 - 12/2022: Online Reading Sessions

    28/10/2022: Introducing Black Lives and the Sixteenth Century (Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2)

    28/11/2022: The Seventeenth Century (Chapter 3)

    15/12/2022: Beyond Black London Lives (Chapter 4 & 5, Afterword)

    31/01/2023: Deadline for Workshop Drafts

    21/02/2023: In Person Workshop at KCL, London.

    31/03/2023:Final Deadline for Blogs

    04/2023 - 05/2023: Publication of Online Symposium

    Contact

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