Scott Taylor is an associate professor in the history department at the University of Kentucky.
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CFP: Slave Subjectivities in the Iberian Worlds, Lisbon, July 2-3, 2018


2-3 JULY 2018








Convenors: Ângela BARRETO XAVIER (Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa), Michel CAHEN (EHEHI – Casa de Velázquez / Sciences Po Bordeaux), António CORREIA DA SILVA (University of Cap-Vert), Cristina NOGUEIRA DA SILVA (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Organisation: Instituto de Ciencias Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa « Research Group Empires, Colonialism and Post-Colonial Societies» /École des hautes études hispaniques et ibériques (Casa de Velázquez, Madrid)

Working languages: English, Portuguese; Spanish
An abstract of not more than 250 words, along with a brief description of the applicant’s current project and research interests may be sent by email to:
Selection of paper proposals and communication to participants: 20 November 2017
Pre-circulation of summary papers to discussants: 30 May 2018
Registration required (more information soon)

I have been a slave, I have felt what a slave feels and I know what a slave knows … hear from a slave what a slave has felt and suffered‘, wrote Mary Prince in 1831, describing what it was like to be enslaved. Prince was not the only former slave to recount her experiences, between 1760 and 1860, when roughly sixty-five to seventy first-person narratives of former slaves were published in North America or England. Not surprisingly, these narratives of the enslaved are considered privileged sites (albeit not the only) to enquire into slave subjectivities, that is, the consciousness of former slaves of their condition – in the words of Frederick Douglas, in 1845, “my wretched condition, without the remedy”. These narratives – some of them representing slavery as a benign institution – as well as interviews of former slaves and their descendants have been windows to access slave subjectivities, attracting scholarly attention for the last decades. These texts provided crucial material for understanding religious beliefs, affective worlds, worldviews, modes of resistance, everyday experiences, post-slavery memories, especially to the scholar working on Caribbean and American slavery, where most of these documents have been produced. This process converted the private experiences of the enslaved into public memory.

The scholarly focus that marks the study of experiences of the enslaved in the North Atlantic does not, however, obtain in the Iberian worlds, i.e. the transcontinental regions and societies that have been under Iberian political and/or cultural domination from the 15th up to 20th centuries, and which, since the 19th century onwards, experienced a post-colonial condition. One of the reasons that explains this lack is the rarity of first-person accounts by the enslaved, whether narratives or interviews. Does this absence relate to the political cultures and cultural structures that characterized Iberia, and the forms of colonization these produced? What are the differences between the experiences of those under Portuguese and the Spanish hegemony? How can this discussion on the subjectivity of the enslaved in the Iberian context help us to compare experiences within and beyond the Iberian worlds?

To this first set of questions we may add a second one: How can scholars working on Iberian forms of slavery, where first person narratives of the enslaved are rare, access their experiences, viewpoints, and voices? How can we access memory of the enslaved? Which are the “archives” and historical sources that can be used to recover these crucial dimensions of history of those enslaved?

Shifting away from classical approaches to the experiences of the enslaved , such as traditional histories on slave revolts or experiences of slaves as described in hegemonic narratives, Slave Subjectivities in the Iberian World (15th-20th centuries) aims at addressing these questions and discussing ways of studying “subjectivities of enslaved peoples” in the Iberian worlds. We consider “slave subjectivities” an open heuristic notion, that we take as a pathway to understanding the manifold ways through which enslaved people perceived themselves, individually and collectively, within structures of enslavement, including how they strategically managed their political, cultural, social, and economic condition as ‘slaves’.

We would like to discuss issues such as the perceptions, feelings, dreams, fears, memories, beliefs, strategies, utopias and dystopias, as well as, take into account the different positions slaves could have, as well as their self-perceptions of identity in the context of the Iberian worlds.

Through the conference we want to open ourselves up to sensibilities and consciousness of the enslaved, seeing these historical processes from the viewpoint of slaves and the ways they understood and defined themselves. As such, we invite students of colonialism to analytically address these multiple expressions of slave experience, in Iberian metropolitan, colonial, and post-colonial territories, by engaging with empirical material and theoretical explorations.

The conference has two main purposes. On the one hand, it will seek to cross-fertilize the study of experiences of the enslaved as a historical phenomenon across the different geographies and temporalities of the Iberian colonialism, comparing it with other colonialisms and imperialisms (European and other). On the other hand, it will reassess the potential and limitations of the study of slave experiences in the Iberian worlds, inviting scholars to think about the conditions of knowledge production, and creative methodological alternatives.

Seeking to learn from, and create a multi-disciplinary framework, the conference invites historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and other humanities scholars and social scientists. Additionally, it encourages a comparative examination of experiences of the enslaved in relation to diverse places and historical periods. We particularly welcome students working on any historical situation and spatial location within the Iberian worlds, from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. We invite paper proposals from senior scholars, early career researchers, and post-graduate students that draw on concrete and specific empirical materials whilst reflecting conceptually and analytically on slave experiences and subjectivities related with:

1) The theoretical and methodological conditions for the study of slave subjectivities in the Iberian worlds. Our aim is to engage in a discussion on archives, sources and methodologies, finding new archives and sources apt to access these dimensions of slave experience. In particular, we would like to map autobiographies and post-slavery memories, or equivalent sources, for the Iberian worlds, and the ways they “present” and “speak for” slave subjectivities.

2) The different dimensions of slave subjectivities. It is our goal to identify how slaves experienced their life paths, from beliefs to middle passage, from affectivity to labor, from consent to disaccord.

The following topics will be welcomed:.

Worldviews, beliefs, dreams, and religious imagination. How did the enslaved see the world? What were their understandings of transcendency and alterity? What did they understand by religion? Which were their utopias and dystopias?


Fears, anxieties and religious practices. Middle passage was, in the specific case of Atlantic slaving, a traumatic experience for slaves, since many of them died during the voyage. It is possible that the same happened with slaves coming from, or settled in other territories of the Iberian worlds. How did slaves cope with this experience? How did the survivors deal with the memory of middle passage? Which were the practices that helped the slaves to deal with these anxieties? What was the role of religious institutions – especially Catholic – as a means of dealing with these and other anxieties?


Perceptions of the self, affectivity, social identities, internal social hierarchies.Anglophone enslaved narratives reveal that the enslaved frequently did not see their primary identity as that of “slaves”. How did the enslaved see themselves in different contexts? How did they interact with free people? How did micro-societies of the enslaved operate? How can the social hierarchies internal to enslaved groups be assessed?


Forms of slave resistance. A widely studied topic, in this conference we would like to approach the resistance and revolts of the enslaved not from their outcomes, but from a consideration of the experience and consciousness of resistance of the enslaved, both in everyday life, as well as in violent outbursts.


Freed slaves and forced labor. Our aim is to understand the experiences of slaves that were freed, but continued to live like slaves, namely by being engaged in forced labor situations.


The conference will be designed in order to encourage discussion and debate.

Prior to the conference, participants are expected to submit a piece of written work, which will be pre-circulated to discussants and among all paper presenters.

This piece will consist of a substantial executive summary of the research paper, up to 4,000 words. So as to stimulate discussion we will invite discussants to comment on individual essays. A general discussion will follow the discussants’ comments.





Contact Info: 

Ângela BARRETO XAVIER (Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa)

Michel CAHEN (EHEHI – Casa de Velázquez / Sciences Po Bordeaux)

António CORREIA DA SILVA (Université du Cap-Vert)

Cristina NOGUEIRA DA SILVA (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Contact Email:

New Book: Bassi, “An Aqueous Territory”

Ernesto Bassi, An Aqueous Territory: Sailor Geographies and New Granada’s Transimperial Greater Caribbean World (Duke, 2017).

Townsend Reviews Van Deusen in JSH, Spring 2017

Journal of Social History 50/3 (2017):

Camilla Townsend reviews Nancy E Van Deusen, Global Indios: The Indigenous Struggle for Justice in Sixteenth-Century Spain (Duke, 2015).

New Abridged & Revised Book: Parker, “Global Crisis”

Geoffrey Parker, Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century, abridged version (Yale, 2017).

CFP: Francisco Suárez, Seville, June 1-2, 2018

Francisco Suárez (1548–1617): Jesuits and Complexities of Modernity, Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Seville, June 1–2, 2018

by Kathleen Comerford


Francisco Suárez (1548–1617): Jesuits and Complexities of Modernity

Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Seville 

June 1–2, 2018




Co-organized by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College and the Departamento de Humanidades y Filosofía de la Universidad Loyola Andalucía


Francisco Suárez, S.J. (1548–1617) is recognized as a philosopher, theologian, and jurist who had a significant cultural impact in the development of modernity. Commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death, our symposium will study the work of Suárez and other Jesuits of his time in the context of diverse traditions that came together in Europe between the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance and early modernity.

Can the work of the Jesuits be seen not only as a forerunner of philosophical, political, or legal modernity, but also as an expression of an alternative modernity? What is the relationship between the Ignatian and Jesuit tradition and the development of the work of Suárez and his contemporaries? What elements of the work of Suárez and other Jesuits may today be relevant to face the crisis of modernity?


Francisco Suárez,  S.J. (1548–1617) es reconocido como un filósofo, teólogo y jurista que tuvo un alto impacto cultural en los inicios y desarrollos de la modernidad. Celebrando el 400 aniversario de su muerte, en nuestro symposium estudiaremos la obra de Suárez y de otros jesuitas de su época en el contexto de las diversas tradiciones que confluyeron en Europa entre el tardo medioevo y el Renacimiento y la primera modernidad.

¿La obra de los jesuitas puede ser vista no solo como precursora de la modernidad filosófica, política o jurídica, sino también como expresión de una modernidad alternativa?

¿Cuál es la relación entre la tradición ignaciana y jesuita y el desarrollo de la obra de Suárez y sus contemporáneos? ¿Qué elementos de la obra de Suárez y otros jesuitas pueden ser hoy relevantes para enfrentar la crisis de la modernidad?


These are just a few of many issues we would like to discuss. To participate in this discussion, email a short (200–250 word) abstract of a proposed paper in Spanish or in English to both Professors Juan Antonio Senent de Frutos ( and Robert Aleksander Maryks ( before September 30, 2017, and if accepted, the full paper (8–10,000 words) before December 31, 2017. Selected papers will be published after the symposium either in a dedicated volume (Boston College Symposia on Jesuit Studies Series at Brill) or in the Journal of Jesuit Studies.

New Book: Dangler, “Edging toward Iberia”

Jean Dangler, Edging toward Iberia (University of Toronto Press, 2017).

ASPHS New York, 2017

This is very late – I had a busy spring semester! – but to try to offer a more or less complete picture of the current landscape of early modern Spanish history I’m post the early modern panels of this past March’s ASPHS conference in New York:

Circumscribing the Supernatural: Superstitions, Demons, and Miracles in Early Modern Iberia (East Room)
Chair/Comment: Erin Rowe, Johns Hopkins University
Andrew Keitt, University of Alabama at Birmingham: “Toward a Cognitive Approach to Late Medieval and Early Modern Anti-Superstition Discourse”
Mark Cooper Emerson, Sul Ross State University: “Demonic Possession or Misdirection? A Tale from the Secret Jails of the Portuguese Inquisition”
George Klaeren, University of Kansas: “’A World Full of Miracles:’ Occasionalism and the Debate over Divine Action in Eighteenth-Century Spain”

Authority, Knowledge, and Difference in Eighteenth-Century Brazil (East Room)
Chair: Barbara Weinstein, New York University
Kirsten Schultz, Seton Hall University: “Royal Authority, Social Order, and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Brazil”
Lisa Voight, Ohio State University: “Diplomatic Missions, Missives, and Mistakes: The Dahomean Embassy to Brazil in 1750”
Hal Langfur, SUNY Buffalo: “Indians, Territorial Consolidation, and Improvised Justice in the Forests of Southeastern Brazil, 1750 – 1800”

Iberian Enlightenments and Utopias (West Room)
Chair/Comment: Andrew Keitt, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Mark Molesky, Seton Hall University: “The Lisbon Earthquake and the Enlightenment”
Phillip Fox, Wayne State College: “Royal Flexibility and Legal Reform: The Preservation of Regional Civil Law in Bourbon Spain”
Liana Ewald, Independent Scholar: “Urbis et orbis: Utopia, Philanthropy, and the Contingencies of Merit in Nineteenth-Century Spain”

Iberia and the East (West Room)
Chair/Comment: Timothy Schmitz, Wofford College
Christina Lee, Princeton University: “The Cult of the Snake Devil in the early Spanish Philippines”
Ana Ribeiro, Universidade de Évora: “Informal Iberian Commercial Partnerships in the East (1580-1640)”

Spanish Diplomacy in Sixteenth-Century Italy (Avery Room)
Chair/Comment: Dan Crews, University of Central Missouri
Michael Levin, University of Akron: “The Spanish Diplomatic System in SixteenthCentury Italy: How Systematic Was It?”
Xavier Tubau, Hamilton College: “Spanish Ambassadors at the Council of Trent: Between Politics and Religion”
Miles Pattenden, Oxford University: “Spanish Diplomacy and the Conclave during the reign of Philip II”

Art and Culture in Early Modern Spain (East Room)
Chair/Comment: Luis Corteguera, University of Kansas
Taryn Chubb, East Central University: “Recontextualizing the Retable of the Trinity Adored by All Saints from the Valencian Cartuja of Valldecrist”
Mercedes Llorente, Universidade Nova de Lisboa: “The retinue in Las Meninas and Mariana in Mourning”
Carmen Saen de Casas, Lehman College: “La cena del rey Baltasar, un desengaño sobre las tablas en la corte de Felipe IV”

Los límites de la Reforma Católica en la España moderna: tolerar, resistir
Chair/Comment: Doris Moreno, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Ricardo García Carcel, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: “Las fronteras entre catolicismo y protestantismo en España antes de 1559”
Rosa María Alabrus, Universidad Abad Oliva-CEU: “La influencia española en el tránsito del protestantismo al catolicismo en el sur de Francia a comienzos del siglo XVII”
Eliseo Serrano, Universidad de Zaragoza: “Los límites a la santidad en la España Contrarreformista”

The Uses of the Past in Iberian History (Avery Room)
Chair: Clinton D. Young, University of Arkansas at Monticello
Lauri Tähtinen, Harvard University: “Freitas between Camões and Alexandrowicz: Locating the Law of Nations”
Andrew Keitt, University of Alabama at Birmingham: “Medical Martyrs: A Nineteenth-Century Representation of Inquisitorial Persecution of Early Modern Spanish Physicians”
Jennifer Speed, University of Dayton: “Joaquín Costa’s Reimagining of the Origins of Civil Liberties in Nineteeth-Century Spain”

New Approaches to the Early Modern Spanish World (West Room)
Chair/Comment: Kirsten Schultz, Seton Hall University
Marta Vicente, University of Kansas: “Confessions of the Flesh: Transgender Narratives in the Early Modern Spanish World”
José Martínez Torrejón: City University of New York: “En el mapa político del Inca Garcilaso”

New Perspectives on Teresa of Avila (Avery Room)
Chair/Comment: Allyson Poska, University of Mary Washington
Luis Corteguera, University of Kansas: “Saint Teresa of Avila as Courtier”
Sherry Velasco, University of Southern California: “Staging Vision, Vulnerability, and the Evil Eye in Lope de Vega’s Santa Teresa de Jesus”
Arlette de Jesús, Anderson University: “Lucha de poderes en la Reforma Carmelita: los Calzados y Descalzos a través de las cartas de Teresa de Jesús”

Peacemakers, Swordsmen, and Poets: Adventures in Portuguese History (East Room)
Chair/Comment: Mark Molesky, Seton Hall University
Carolina Esteves Soares, Universidade de Lisboa: “Imaginação cuidou nunca, senhor, o que hoje se está vendo com os olhos! (…) que Espanha havia de pedir as pazes, e que estas se haviam de pactear em Lisboa: the Path towards the Peace Treaty between Portugal and Castile (1665-1668)”
Catalina Pereira: “The Noble Art of Mastering the Blade: Masters and Students in Portugal 16th-19th centuries”

Keynote Address by Carla Rahn Phillips “Arriving (way beyond) Where We Started”

New Book: Irigoyen-García, “Moors Dressed as Moors”

Javier Irigoyen-García, Moors Dressed as Moors: Clothing, Social Distinction, and Identity in Early Modern Iberia (Toronto, 2017).

Job Ad: 1-Year Position in Judaic Studies at Brown

Judaic Studies Visiting Scholar 2018-19

The Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University is seeking applications for the Hirschfeld Presidential Scholar in Comparative Studies for the 2018-2019 academic year. (Applications for one semester will also be considered.) The successful candidate will receive $50,000 for the year (or $25,000 for a semester), a health insurance subsidy, and access to university library, athletic, and computing services.  She/he will be expected to participate in the regular intellectual activities of the Program and teach one course.  In addition, the successful candidate will be available to meet with and advise graduate and undergraduate students, lead a faculty research seminar meeting, and give a public lecture. Only applications from senior scholars will be considered.  Preference will be given to applicants who work on Jews and Judaism in the Medieval and/or Early Modern periods. We welcome applications from scholars in any academic discipline.  Applications should be made at Interfolio ( and include a cover letter, the applicant’s research agenda for the year, brief descriptions of courses she/he would be prepared to teach, a CV, and a recent article or book chapter.  Applicants should also arrange for two confidential letters of recommendation to be submitted at Interfolio ( of applications will begin on October 16, 2017.  Brown University is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic global community; as an EEO/AA employer, Brown considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, gender, race, protected veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.  For further information, contact

Economic Recovery in Today’s Spain?

I hope that Peter S. Goodman is right in this NY Times piece, although unemployment is still very high. But Jim Amelang’s talk to us at ASPHS in Boston a few years ago remains seared into my brain.