Freedom Lab Essay / Creative Writing Competition

To celebrate the end of an incredibly challenging, and nonetheless fruitful, academic year, the Freedom Lab is inviting DKU students to submit essays or creative writing pieces for consideration of various prizes with topics related to the themes of the Lab (more information about the lab and its research themes can be found here https://sites.duke.edu/dkuhumanities/projects/freedom-lab/).

Topics could range from the recent conversations on Covid-19/Black Lives Matter/Anti-Asian Hate, the legacies of slavery and imperialism, Afro-Asian engagements in the age of Cold War, feminist voices, the histories of women suffrage, labor and migration, environmental history and settler colonialism, to any other forms of inequality that have continued to inform and shape our human experience.

Students are invited to submit writing pieces of a maximum length of 5000 words to Chi Zhang (chi.zhang323@dukekunshan.edu.cn) by May 25. There will be two competition categories: essays and creative writing. Essays can take a variety of forms; they can be papers from classes or based on signature work projects. Creative writing pieces can be poems, personal reflections, short stories, or a mix of multiple forms.

Three essays and three creative writing pieces will be selected for a first prize of 500 RMB, a second prize of 450RMB, and a bronze prize of 400 RMB respectively.

Results will be announced by the end of May.

After The Myth of the Liberator: Slavery and Places of Memory in the French Petits Antilles

Venue: IB 1010 / Zoom: 261 330 4845 

Time & Date: Friday April 30th,  6-7:30 PM China

Speaker: Yun Kyoung KWON, yunkwon@snu.ac.kr 

Yun Kyoung KWON (PhD, University of Chicago) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Western History at Seoul National University, South Korea. Her research focuses on the histories of the French and Haitian Revolutions, slavery and abolition in the French Empire, as well as postcolonialism and the politics of memory. Her work has appeared in such journals as Social History and Atlantic Studies, as well as such edited volumes as France’s Lost Empires and Abolitionist Places.

Today, when the extreme right’s racism and anti-racist struggles are simultaneously intensifying, the memory of slavery is a subject of sharp debate around the world. France had long suppressed this memory to maintain its national identity as the “Republic of liberation.” Now that the repressed memory of slavery has returned at the head of the French “war of memories” (guerre de mémoires), I would like to think about how the descendants of slavery and colonialism now living as French citizens are processing this painful memory. Based on my research trip in 2020, this presentation overviews the landscape of memory on the two islands of the French West Indies, Martinique and Guadeloupe. It analyzes the various mnemonic strategies found in the places of slavery memory and examines how new monuments have challenged the dominant national discourse of ‘liberty granted by France’ and the myth of ‘Schoelcher, the Liberator.’

‘Drawing and Erasing’: The Art of the Comic with Sonny Liew

9pm China time, Thursday April 22

Zoom ID: 987 7209 8000

Join us for a talk by award-winning and internationally acclaimed artist Sonny Liew, on the underlying language of comics —from composition to text-image interaction and the representation of time— as well as his personal journey and career choices as a comics creator.

Optional: Interested in creating your own comic, and receiving feedback from master of the medium Sonny Liew himself? No prior experience required. Select one of the attached prompts to respond to, and email your comic to alice.xiang@duke.edu by 3pm (China time) on Thursday April 22nd.

Sonny Liew – comic prompt 1

Sonny Liew – comic prompt 2

Sonny Liew – comic prompt 3

BIO

Sonny Liew’s multi-Eisner winning The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was a New York Times and Amazon bestseller, and the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize. Other works include The Shadow Hero (with Gene Luen Yang), Doctor Fate (with Paul Levitz) and Malinky Robot, as well as titles for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, DC Vertigo, Boom Studios and Disney Press.

Confronting Anti-Asian Hate: Gendered, Racialized, and Transnational Perspectives

IB 1047 / Zoom: 451 154 2347

Thursday April 1, 11:00 AM – 13:00 PM China

Guest Speakers:

Lunch will be provided

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Contemporary China and the Freedom Lab

In the past year, members of Asian descent have been the targets of hate crimes and other forms of systemic violence. These acts, particularly those that have taken place across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Europe, have, for the most part, singled out the most vulnerable members of Asian communities, including the elderly, the working-class, and women. Most recently, the mass murders of 8 people in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, 2021, six of whom are Asian women laboring in the massage parlor industry, have ignited a wave of social movements calling for the end of intersectional racism, misogyny, and discrimination against those who are engaged in sex work, along those who labor in beauty, nail, and massage parlors. What is the significance of this event, particularly for those in the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the U.S.? What debates around race, gender, and labor have proliferated around the U.S. and the world since the shootings? How can the histories and experiences of migration, labor, and activism among Asian immigrants and their allies cast new light on building cross-cultural ties between Asia, China, and their diasporic groups in the Global South (Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America)? Continue reading “Confronting Anti-Asian Hate: Gendered, Racialized, and Transnational Perspectives”

Freedom Lab Event Report | Freedom’s Proximity: The Interconnections between American Slavery, British Colonial Abolition, and Slave Ship Revolt

By Sihan Wang

Class of 2023

Click [HERE] to watch the recording

With 50 participants, on February October the 13th, a talk on the Creole Slave-Ship Revolt was carried out via Zoom by Professor Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie, a prestigious historian whose research interests include slavery, abolition, and post-emancipation societies, especially in North America and the Caribbean during the nineteenth century.

According to Professor Ritchie, the official termination of American participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade announced in 1807 was marked as an end of seafaring commerce in the black population. However, this scenario ignores the arisen coastal dimensions of the slave trade, with many US slavery ships taking the maritime routes between different parts of America and the Caribbean. Consequently, despite the abolition of slavery in the British Empire and governmental manipulation, captives continued to be transported on US merchant ships in large numbers for decades due to the profit gained from buying and selling slaves as labors. The continuation of slave trading played a critical role within the context of the expansion of the United States as a maritime and territorial empire. Numerous ships transported men, women, and children for the manufacturing of products like tobacco and cotton, to spread commerce and develop new markets. Supported by primary sources, Professor Kerr-Ritchie concluded that between the 1820s and 1850s, more than 50,000 captives were moved from ports in the Upper to Lower South, in which thousands of lives were consumed and countless African-American families were torn apart.

Continue reading “Freedom Lab Event Report | Freedom’s Proximity: The Interconnections between American Slavery, British Colonial Abolition, and Slave Ship Revolt”

Special Forum on Freedom Voices and Struggles Across the Globe

On September 19th, at the Humanities Fall Conference, the Freedom Lab hosted a forum on “Freedom Voices and Struggles Across the Globe.” The forum consisted of presentations and discussions by faculty and student research assistants on their current research projects sponsored by the Freedom Lab. Professor Qian Zhu, along with student researchers Qingyi Yin and Xueyi Liu, presented their ongoing research on the New Village Movement and New Life Movement in Republican China. Professor Jesse Olsavsky as well as Yue Qiu and Henry Stevens presented their work transcribing and editing abolitionist histories of the Haitian Revolution. Professor Bryce Beemer described his new research on the modern history of Burmese temple slaves. Professor Selina Lai Henderson concluded by discussing her work on the Chinese translation of W.E.B. Dubois’s foundational text, The Souls of Black Folk. The Freedom Lab looks forward to the student projects and publications that will emerge from the new research presented at this forum.

Freedom’s Proximity: The Interconnections between American Slavery, British Colonial Abolition, and Slave Ship Revolt

FREEDOM LAB PRESENTS

FREEDOM’S PROXIMITY: THE INTERCONNECTIONS BETWEEN AMERICAN SLAVERY, BRITISH COLONIAL ABOLITION, AND SLAVE SHIP REVOLT

 BY PROFESSOR JEFFREY R. KERR-RITCHIE, HOWARD UNIVERSITY

Opening Welcome by VCAA Scott Maceachern

Tuesday October 13

9:15 PM-10:30 PM Beijing Time

Zoom ID: 261 330 4845

Abstract

In November 1841, 19 rebels seized the US slave ship Creole transporting 139 slaves from Virginia to Louisiana and steered it to the British Bahamas. After a disputatious week between US officials and British colonial authorities, the slaves walked to freedom and scattered through the region. Drawing upon new historical documents, this talk narrates this fascinating story. It further situates this tale within the context of an expanding empire of American slavery and an expanding empire of British colonial abolition during the mid-nineteenth century.

Bio

Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie

Born in London, United Kingdom, Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie earned his first history degree at Kingston University. He completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to teach at Wesleyan, Columbia, Penn, SUNY-Binghamton, and UNC-Greensboro. He has been teaching the African Diaspora field at Howard University since 2006. He has been Director of Graduate Studies since 2015. His research interests include slavery, abolition, and post-emancipation societies, especially in North America and the Caribbean during the nineteenth century. He has spoken on these topics in numerous countries, including Cuba, the Netherlands, Egypt, and Vietnam. Alongside numerous articles, he is author of the books Freed People in the Tobacco South (2003); Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World (2011); Freedom Seekers: Essays in Comparative Emancipation (2014); and most recently Rebellious Passage: The Creole Revolt and America’s Coastal Slave Trade (2019)

Recovering Histories of the Haitian Revolution

By Yue Qiu and Henry Stevens

Haiti, known prior to 1804 as St. Domingue, was once the wealthiest colony in the French empire. African slaves worked the vast sugar plantations to enrich the powerful French Monarchy and Empire. On August 22nd, 1791, slaves on the northern plain of Haiti revolted against their masters, burned the plantations, and thrust themselves into the turmoil of the French Revolution. Out of the slave revolt came an alliance between the self-liberated Black people of Haiti and the revolutionary government of France.[1] The slaves, who were ultimately led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, were betrayed when Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France and attempted to reinstate slavery in the Caribbean colonies. Despite imprisoning and killing L’Ouverture, while sending 50,000 soldiers to Haiti under his brother-in-law Leclerc, Bonaparte found that freed people would fight to the death to defend their liberty. Leclerc died in the fighting, and his successor Rochambeau retreated from a newly-freed Haiti, which Black leader Dessalines formally declared an independent nation in 1804.

Thirty years after Haitian independence, an American movement against slavery sprang into life. As with France, slave labor enriched the economy of the United States. In 1831, the slave Nat Turner led a revolt against slavery in Virginia, and in the same year, William Lloyd Garrison published the first edition of The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper, which openly declared American abolitionists’ resolution: “I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”[2]  From the 1830’s to the end of the Civil War, the Underground Railroad helped Southern slaves escape to the Northern free states where many became radical abolitionists. However, the slaveholding Southern states showed the institution’s resilience by creating slave territories out of the land seized in the Mexican-American war and extending their legal authority in the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which required all citizens of America to assist federal authorities in capturing runaway slaves The height of the tensions between slave-owners and abolitionists came in 1859 when abolitionist John Brown led an unsuccessful raid on Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to ignite a mass slave revolution, signaling an embrace of violence. Continue reading “Recovering Histories of the Haitian Revolution”

Freedom Lab Event Report on “Art Equals Politics: Vignettes of Culture, Decolonization, and Black and Brown Liberation”

By Huang Bihui (Honey)

Class of 2022

On the 20th of July 2020, the Freedom Lab invited the famous Afro Yaqui Music Collective—an award-winning group of Jazz musicians based in Pittsburgh, for a live music performance and a conversation. There were five artists present for the occasion: Ben Barson, Charlotte Hill O’Neal (also known as “Mama C”), Gizelxanath Rodriguez, Nejma Nefertiti, and Peggy Myo-Young Choy. They are experts in different fields of art, and it was a pleasure seeing and hearing about their work on liberation and fights against global injustices. Professor Jesse Olsavsky and Professor Selina Lai-Henderson, co-directors of the Freedom Lab, hosted this event. We had a diverse group of approximately 65 attendees scattered around different parts of the world to share the love and knowledge that the Afro Yaqui artists gave.

Before the event started, Mama C lit up a bundle of sage to prepare for the event. This was done so to honor our ancestors and those who fought hard for the future that we now have. Even though we could not smell it from our Zoom screens, we could see it. Just as how it might be hard to live through our ancestors’ lives vicariously, we can see and live through what they have sacrificed for us. Continue reading “Freedom Lab Event Report on “Art Equals Politics: Vignettes of Culture, Decolonization, and Black and Brown Liberation””

The Unended Korean War: 70 Years Exhibition – Presented by Third World Newsreel

Duke’s Asian American & Diaspora Studies (AADS) and Duke Kunshan’s Freedom Lab Present Transpacific Connections Collaboratory. TCC is a vertically-integrated transnational collaboration among faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at Duke, DKU, and beyond. Our goal is to build a platform to innovate methodologies and technologies to explore together divided and forgotten transpacific histories and their transcontinental legacies between Asia and the Americas as well as other regions such as Europe and Africa across the Pacific.

 Upcoming Event:

The Unended Korean War: 70 Years Exhibition – Presented by Third World Newsreel

by Roselly Torres

I’m writing to announce The Unended Korean War: 70 Years, part of Third World Newsreel’s Organizing and Filmmaking: Then and Nowseries of free virtual screenings followed by Zoom conversations with filmmakers and activists.

From July 24-31, TWN will present four films about the Korean War and its legacies on the organization’s Vimeo Channel:

Grandmother’s Flower, Jeong-hyun Mun, 2008, 89 min

“Combining substantial interviews with archival photos, Grandmother’s Flower offers invaluable insights into contemporary Korea’s struggle to move beyond the dark periods of Japanese colonial rule, the Korean War, and subsequent division of the country. Highly recommended.”

-Video Librarian Magazine Continue reading “The Unended Korean War: 70 Years Exhibition – Presented by Third World Newsreel”