Hines Prize Awarded

We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Hines Prize for the best first book on South Carolina or the Atlantic World has been awarded to Dr. Tristan Stubbs for his work, The Plantation Overseers of Eighteenth-Century Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia.  Dr. Stubbs recently completed a PhD in American History at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, UK. Formerly, he lectured in American and Caribbean studies at the University of Sussex. He has been Gilder Lehrman Fellow at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Virginia Historical Society, and Lewis P. Jones Visiting Fellow at the University of South Carolina. His writing on historical and contemporary slavery, the history of ideas, agricultural history, the Atlantic slave trade, and gender history has appeared in journals, magazines, encyclopedias and online.

The study focuses on plantation overseers in eighteenth-century Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, subjects long-neglected in the historiography of American slavery. These men were the arbiters of violent punishment for many thousands of bondpeople. They represented not only the cruel régime imposed by slaveholders, but also the vicious authority of slave societies that designated the oversight system the first line of defence against enslaved resistance. Although violence was practised and encouraged by plantation owners in the early years of the eighteenth century, the latter decades witnessed a shift in their attitudes. By late century, planters lambasted overseers for their intrinsic violence, their passionate tempers, and their universal barbarity towards slaves.

In his acceptance of the prize, Dr. Stubbs wrote, “My principal aim was to uncover the reasons for the widespread vilification of overseers by the end of the 1700s. In addition to their reputation for violence, plantation overseers were also believed to be untrustworthy employees, morally dissolute supervisors, and incompetent agriculturists. I argue that these shifts in opinion grew out of far-reaching ideological and structural transformations to American slave societies during the Revolutionary era, not least the need to justify the survival of slavery in an ostensibly free republic.”

The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America

Congratulations to former CLAW Director David Gleeson, who just announced that his new book,The Green and the Gray:  The Irish in the Confederate States of America, has been published by the University of North Carolina Press.  Dr. Gleeson is a reader in American History at Northumbria University in the Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  For more information about the book, click here.

Lecture and Book Signing — America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War, Dr. Joseph Kelly

The Charleston Historical Society will co-sponsor its next lecture and a book signing at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum at 68 Spring Street on Thursday, August 29, 2013, at 7:00 PM. The lecture, entitled, “America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War”will be presented by Dr. Joseph Kelly.

This lecture is based on his recently published book on the same topic. The lecture is free and open to the public. Joe Kelly teaches modern British literature, Irish literature, composition, biography and autobiography, Honors western civilization.

For more information about this lecture and all future lectures, call Stephen White at the Charleston Historical Society at (843) 723-3398, or at the Karpeles Museum at (843) 853-4651.

CFP: “Soundscapes: Music from the African Atlantic, 1600-present,” March 7-9, 2014

The Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program (CLAW) at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina invites paper proposals addressing the transnational and transcultural impacts of music throughout the Atlantic World for a conference to be held March 7-9, 2014.  We are especially interested in twentieth and twenty-first century music and cultural exchange, but the conference is open to any work that examines the movement of music in the Atlantic World from the 1600s to the present. We welcome a broad range of submissions, but especially encourage submissions that utilize an interdisciplinary approach.  Proposals may address any area of music in the Atlantic World. We invite scholars to submit proposals for individual papers and panels that address such questions as:

  • Tradition and modernity in popular and indigenous music in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa
  • Music, Race, and Empire
  • Jazz in a global context
  • Trans-Caribbean identities in Salsa, Reggae, and Calypso music
  • Pan-African Rhythms
  • Caribbean beats and protest music in the 1970s
  • The British Invasion and Rhythm and Blues in the United Kingdom
  • Hip Hop and political activism in Africa and the Caribbean
  • Race and Beach Music on the American Atlantic Coast
  • Musical culture and diaspora studies

Proposals Due:  Friday, December 6, 2013

All Presenters will be notified if their paper or panel has been accepted by December 22, 2013.  Presenters and participants are expected to register for the conference by February 7th, 2014.  Registration will open in October 2013.

As with previous successful CLAW program events the conference will be run in a seminar style: accepted participants will be expected to send completed papers to the organizers in advance of the conference itself (by February 28th, 2014) for circulation via password-protected site. At the conference itself presenters will talk for no more than ten minutes about their paper, working on the assumption that everyone has read the paper itself. This arrangement means that papers may be considerably lengthier and more carefully argued than the typical 20-minute presentation; and it leads to more substantive, better-informed discussion. It also generally allows us to move quite smoothly toward publication of a selection of essays with the University of South Carolina Press.

Proposals for individual papers should be 200 words, and should be accompanied by a brief one-page biographical statement indicating institutional affiliation, research interests, and relevant publishing record for each participant, including chairs and commentators. Please place the panel proposal, and its accompanying paper proposals and vitas in one file. Please submit your proposal electronically with CLAW conference in the subject line to the conference chair, Dr. John White at WhiteJ@cofc.edu by December 6, 2013.

If you wish to send a proposal for a 3 or 4 person panel, please send a 300 to 500 word proposal describing the panel as a whole as well as proposals for each of the individual papers, along with biographical statements for each of the presenters. The organizers reserve the right to accept individual papers from panel proposals, to break up panels, and to add papers to panels. Notification of acceptance will be sent by December 22nd, 2013.

Hamrick Lectureship, January 27th and 28th

Eric Metaxas is the author of two New York Times bestselling biographies, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. Bonhoeffer was named the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Christian Book of the Year. Metaxas received the 2011 Canterbury Medal, the Becket Fund’s highest honor in recognition of courage in defense of religious liberty.

Both lectures will center on William Wilberforce with Q&A following.

Various books by Eric Metaxas available for purchase at both lectures. Book signing following lecture on Sunday evening.

Hamrick Lectureship

January 27-5:00 p.m.

January 28-10:00 a.m.

The First Baptist Church of Charleston



Guest Essay from Honor Sachs, College of Charleston History Department

The history of the Atlantic World is bound by water. For the past two decades, historians have plunged into this water world and transformed the narrative of early American history from a parochial story into a global epic, focusing on the trade winds and currents that touched four continents and countless people. Recently, however, scholars have begun to question whether the focus on the ocean itself has clouded our ability to see the broader reach of systems set in motion by Atlantic crossings. This October, at the “Long Struggle for the Ohio Valley” conference sponsored by the Filson Historical Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, historians presented new research that shifted the focus of scholarship from the Atlantic Ocean to the heart of the North American continent. Over the course of the weekend, scholars repositioned the Atlantic narrative around a different body of water – the Mississippi River – and placed the North American interior at the heart of imperial conflict.

The conference was organized by François Furstenberg and Eric Hinderaker, two scholars who have challenged historians to rethink the geographic and conceptual framework of the Atlantic World. Furstenberg’s 2008 essay in the American Historical Review, “The Significance of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier in Atlantic History,” explains how the American interior lay at the center of struggles for power between British, French, Spanish, American, and Indian empires. Alluding, of course, to Frederick Jackson Turner’s 1893 essay, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” Furstenberg untangles the West from its historiographic associations with the American experience and places it at the center of much broader, imperial narratives. Similarly, Eric Hinderaker’s 1997 work, Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673-1800, tells the story of the Atlantic World as a series of failures on the part of French, British, American, and Indian powers to control populations at the fringes of empire upon whom their dominions depended. In Hinderaker’s telling, visions of empire did not emanate from European centers, but rather emerged through local conflicts over land, rights, and commercial exchange in the heart of the Ohio Valley.

Between 1750 and 1815, the North American interior experienced profound transformation shaped by Atlantic empires and Indian alliances. At mid-century, varied and powerful Indian populations dominated the region and controlled the influence of the French, British, and Spanish presence. By the end of the War of 1812, after the trans-Appalachian West experienced decades of turmoil, the collapse of European empires, and the shifting of Indian alliances, the region became the first frontier of the United States. Participants in the Filson conference considered how violence and conflict, commerce and exchange, land and law, policy and print, and kinship and family shaped the dramatic transformation of this Atlantic frontier. The volatile mix of Indian groups, British officials, Spanish agents, French habitants, and, eventually, American settlers, necessitated flexible and complicated strategies in diplomacy, exchange, war, and cultural adaptation.

With generous support from CLAW, I was able to attend this conference and present my own work on the importance of family and familial ideology to the negotiation of power in the early national West. I focused on a 1796 text by Gilbert Imlay called The Emigrants, an epistolary novel that describes the journey of an English family and their effort to start a new life on the Kentucky frontier. The family decides that eastern American leadership had failed to uphold the ideals of the Revolution, so they devise a plan to establish a separatist, utopian settlement in the West where they would establish true, enlightened government. The separatist impulse of the fictional characters reflected very real, contemporary concerns about western disunion that plagued the frontier after the American Revolution. During the 1780s and 1790s, American settlers in the West grew profoundly unhappy with eastern leadership, so much so that they entertained a Spanish or British alliance over the weak and unstable United States.

The subtext of Imlay’s novel, however, concerned the social and political oppression of women and emphasized the role of liberal divorce laws to the creation of an enlightened state. Imlay’s fictional characters explain how Old World governments were fundamentally corrupt because they did not protect women, but rather condoned women’s oppression under tyrannical marriage laws. The community that the emigrants hoped to establish in the West would be one in which leaders were manly and virtuous, deserving of their wives’ love and obedience, and secure in their authority. In some ways, The Emigrants can be read as a proto-feminist text, celebrating women’s emancipation from abusive husbands and advocating liberal divorce laws. Radical ideas about women’s rights were not far from Imlay’s own experience: he is remembered today not for his career as a novelist, but for his tumultuous relationship with Mary Wollstonecraft, the eighteenth-century proto-feminist author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Yet, despite the critique of women’s oppression in The Emigrants, the ideals that Imlay’s characters ultimately realized were not of female emancipation but, rather, of profoundly limited of gender roles. In the end, women remained captives of a new national vision of female dependence as American divorce laws reinforced the fixity of gender difference and secured women’s subordination within marriage. After the American Revolution, western settlers celebrated the manly protection of women as crucial to their understanding of place in the new political regime. The political utility of the hierarchically ordered, Anglo-American family emerged against a backdrop of households fractured by unrest and violence in the trans-Appalachian West. Settlers and political figures alike projected their vision of family into Atlantic conflicts in ways that were not new or revolutionary but, in fact, profoundly conservative.

In some ways, these cycles resonate with our modern politics. Today, our national political discourse– on both the left and the right – is framed by debates over the meaning of family and the importance of marriage. Within this debate, however, many thoughtful historians of sexuality and forward-thinking gay rights activists have expressed reservations about an uncritical political commitment to a historically oppressive institution. Gender scholars have been quick to point out that the institution of marriage has been historically used to limit gender expression and enshrine heteronormativity. In the late eighteenth-century, rights and citizenship became rooted to ideas about gender and household structure in ways that limited women’s rights and civic participation. If we are to learn from the past, we must acknowledge how institutionalizing ideas about family and marriage can sometimes mask a deeply regressive and anti-feminist agenda.

Public Lecture, Dr. Richard Godbeer, October 4, 6 PM

Dr. Richard Godbeer, Professor of History at the University of Miami will deliver a talk entitled “’Your wife will be your biggest accuser’: Reinforcing Codes of Manhood at New England Witch Trials,” at the Arnold Center in the Jewish Studies Building on October 4, 2012 beginning at 6:00pm. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Richard Godbeer received his B.A. from Oxford University in 1984 and his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1989. He specializes in colonial and revolutionary America, with an emphasis on religious culture, gender studies, and the history of sexuality. Godbeer was born in Essex, England, and grew up in Shropshire and Gloucestershire. He then lived in Oxford for three years as an undergraduate before crossing the Atlantic to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1984. He moved to southern California in 1989, where he taught for fifteen years at the University of California, Riverside. He moved to southern Florida in the summer of 2004 to join the Department of History at the University of Miami. He offers courses on a broad range of topics, including sex and gender in early America, witchcraft in colonial New England, religious culture in early America, and the American Revolution.

Godbeer is author of The Devil’s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England (published in 1992 by Cambridge University Press and winner of the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Award for the Best First Book), Sexual Revolution in Early America (published in 2002 by Johns Hopkins University Press and a featured selection of the History Book Club), Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 (published in 2004 by Oxford University Press), The Overflowing of Friendship: Love Between Men and the Creation of the American Republic (published in 2009 by Johns Hopkins University Press) and The Salem Witch Hunt: A Brief History with Documents (published in 2011 as a volume in the Bedford Series in History and Culture). Godbeer is currently working on a joint biography of Elizabeth and Henry Drinker, a Quaker couple who lived in Philadelphia during the second half of the eighteenth century.

Hines Prize, 2013

Hines Prize, 2013: Do you have a manuscript in hand or in preparation that would fit the scope of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) book series. Do you know others who do? If your manuscript is for a first book, you should consider entering it for the sixth biennial award of the Hines Prize, given to the best first book relating to any aspect of the Carolina Lowcountry and/or the Atlantic World. The prize carries a cash award of $1,000 and preferential consideration by the University of South Carolina Press for the CLAW Program’s book series.

Previous winners of the Hines Prize are as follows:

2003—This Remote Part of the World: Regional Formation in Lower Cape Fear, North Carolina, 1725-1775—Bradford Wood
2005—Votaries of Apollo: The St. Cecilia Society and the Patronage of Concert Music in Charleston, South Carolina, 1766-1820—Nicholas Michael Butler
2007—Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World—T.J. Desch-Obi
2009—Jewish Sanctuary in the Atlantic World: A Social and Architectural History—Barry Stiefel — 2011 — Michael D. Thompson — Working on the Dock of the Bay:  Labor and Life Along Charleston’s Waterfront, 1783-1861.

For a full listing of the books in the USC Press’s series in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World, seehttp://www.sc.edu/uscpress/claw.html.

Deadline for submission: May 15st, 2013

Please send your complete manuscript, either in hard-copy to: Professor Simon Lewis, Associate Director, CLAW Program, Department of English, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424-0001;
or in electronic format to Dr Lewis at lewiss@cofc.edu.

For further information, please contact Professor Lewis at lewiss@cofc.edu

CLAW publishes its Eighteenth Volume with USC Press

Ambiguous Anniversary:  The Bicentennial of the International Slave Trade Bans

Edited by David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis

An examination of the 1808 international slave trade ban and its impact on the American South and
Atlantic World

In March 1807, within a few weeks of each other, both the United States and the United Kingdom passed laws banning the international slave trade. Two hundred years later, Great Britain, an instigator of the slave trade and the chief source of slaves sold into continental North America, was awash nationwide in commemorations of the ban. By contrast the bicentennial
of the ban received almost no attention in the United States. Ambiguous Anniversary aims to remedy that omission and to explain the discrepancy between the two commemorative responses. Edited by David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis, this volume examines the impact that closing the international slave trade in 1808 had on Southern American economics, politics,
and society.

Recasting the history of slavery in the early Republic and the memory of slavery and abolition in
American culture, the foreword, introduction, and ten essays in this volume present a complex picture of an important but partial step in America’s long struggle toward the ambitious but ambiguous goal of liberty and justice for all.

A native of Ireland, David T. Gleeson is a reader in history in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne and a former director of the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program. He is the editor of The Irish in the Atlantic World.

Simon Lewis is a professor of world literature at the College of Charleston, where he is also an associate director of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program. Lewis is the author ofWhite Women Writers and Their African Invention and British and African Literature in Transnational Context.

(Text from The University of South Carolina Press)