The Global Plantation (Virtual) Symposium

Sponsored by the University Center for Human Values and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University, The Global Plantation (Virtual) Symposium takes place on October 15-17, 2020. See more information below and at Global Plantation Symposium.

Plantations were and are sites for labor and production. As physical, economic and material interventions in a landscape, they also exist powerfully in people’s imaginations. As our title suggests we are also interested in the plantation’s iterations across temporal and spatial geographies, for we wonder if the transformations they wrought across the globe might also create possibilities to imagine the intimacies and particularities of time and space differently. 

We want to ask: how and where have plantations been imagined and represented and why? If the plantation is a site of convergence, of interspecies interaction and of human and commodity flows, what has been lost or occluded in the enduring representation of plantations as the opposite of industrial and “modern” sites of labor and production? What are the implications of a term like plantationocene? And while historically a site of unfree labor and enslavement in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, what alternative constructions of freedom, and other-worldly economies of knowledge, resilience and resistance might we find within its various constructions? 

Finally, how might we construct or explain a visual vocabulary of plantations and their afterlives in ways that help us to understand the politics of race, representation and labor in our contemporary moment?

This symposium will bring together scholars and artists from around the world to interrogate representations of plantations across a range of geographic locales as well as disciplinary and aesthetic modes.

The Global Plantation Symposium is organized by Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; Clare Corbould, Associate Professor of History, Deakin University; Jarvis McKinnis, Cordelia & William Laverack Family Assistant Professor of English, Duke University; and Jessica Womack, Ph.D. Candidate, Art and Archaeology and African American Studies, Princeton University.

Event Recording Notice: All in-person, video, and audio-based events may be recorded. By engaging in the above event, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and otherwise recorded for future department use. Participants waive all rights and any claims for payment or royalties connected with any exhibition, social media, or other publication of the materials. Please note you can hide your camera and/or mute your microphone at any time during a video and audio-based events.

[Image Credit: Jasmine Togo-Brisby, “Inheritance,” 2019. Collodion on glass 258 x 305mm. Photo credit: Brian Scadden.]

For more information, see and

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