In Bordeaux: Seminar on the Construction of Collective Memories of Slave Rebellions in the Caribbean

Old Rebellions to Serve the Present: the Construction of Collective Memories of Slave Rebellions in the Caribbean, a seminar organized by Christine Chivallon, Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS-CEAN), Institute of Political Science (IEP), and David Howard, University of Oxford, Associate Researcher (CNRS-CEAN) will take place at the IEP at the University of Bordeaux, France on April 8, 2010. This seminar is sponsored by JISLAC (Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean).

The seminar focuses on the construction of collective memories of anti-slavery insurrections and rebellions in the Caribbean societies. The lectures will analyze the historical and contemporary practices through which such events have been commemorated and represented. They will explore the dynamics of memory, and the capacity of commemoration to suppress or re-invent the past according to the needs or circumstances of the present and will address the wider theoretical processes of the ‘transmission’ and ‘invention’ of memory. Invited speakers will assess the different forms of commemoration and the ways in which acts of rebellion and resistance to colonial authorities have been appropriated by divergent interest groups in the Caribbean. The seminar discussion will take into account the ‘forgetting’ of collective memory, as revealed through examples from popular historiographies of the French Caribbean, and assess the processes by which political elites have effectively removed narratives of resistance from official histories. 

Speakers will include Christine Chivallon (Geography and Anthropology, CEAN-IEP, Bordeaux), Myriam Cottias (History, CRPLC, Martinique and EHESS, Paris), Stéphane Dufoix (Sociology, Institut Universitaire de France, Paris), David Geggus (History, University of Florida), Pauline Guedj (Anthropology, Université de Lyon), David Howard (Geography, University of Oxford), and Richard Price (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University).

For more information, you may contact Chivallon ( and David Howard ( or see

For more information on JISLAC, see

Image: “La rébellion” by Edouard Antoine Renard (1802-1857), from the Musée du Nouveau Monde from

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