Important Information re: Sir Hilary Beckles’s Lecture

We would like to inform all delegates that the public lecture with Sir Hilary Beckles has now changed from Thursday 5th November at 6pm to Friday 6th November at 5:30pm. The lecture will still be held in the Teviot Lecture Theatre, as planned. This will be followed by a vin d’honneur and, for those who wish, a conference meal at the Salisbury Arms.

University of Edinburgh – Social and Political Science Postdoctoral Research Fellow for “Grey Zone” Project

Deadline: 20th August 2015 We are seeking two Postdoctoral Research Fellows to work with Dr Mihaela Mihai on an ERC-funded project entitled ‘Illuminating the “Grey Zone”: Addressing Complex Complicity in Human Rights Violations.’ Situated at the frontier between political science, political theory, history, literature and cinema, this project seeks to shift the focus of debates in Transitional Justice by focusing on the grey zone of collaborators, bystanders and indirect beneficiaries of injustice. You will have experience of conducting high quality academic research in a field relevant to this project, and should be willing to engage with a variety of literatures beyond the narrow confines of your own research field. These two posts are both full-time and fixed-term for 48 months. The posts are available from 1st January 2016. Location: Edinburgh Salary: £31,342 to £37,394 per annum Hours: Full Time Contract Type: Contract / Temporary Job Ref: 033775 Closing Date: Thursday 20th August 2015 at 5pm (GMT) For further particulars and to apply for this post please click on the ‘apply’ button at and use job reference # 033775.   Dr. Mihaela Mihai Senior Research Fellow Politics and International Relations School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh E-mail: Webpage

Is memory enough? Remembering the racial legacies of slavery in France today

First published in openDemocracy (24 June 2015) By Nicola Frith and Kate Hodgson France is the only European slave-trading nation to legally recognise slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity, but questions of racial discrimination and colonial exploitation remain unresolved. Europe’s role in slavery and the slave trade has long been a highly contentious subject, raising all kinds of issues that many in Europe would rather forget or ignore. However, this longstanding reluctance to talk about slavery and its legacies has been challenged in recent years by a frenzy of memorial activity that, on the surface at least, suggests a shared desire to confront the crimes of history. Despite these recent and ongoing efforts, there remains a widespread failure to engage with the ways in which past abuses are reflected in present problems, most notably racial discrimination and all of its attendant socio-economic and political implications. The past seems to echo in the present on a daily basis, bringing with it reminders of unresolved social tensions that are rooted in the history of slavery and colonial rule. Even though France is the only European slave-trading nation to legally recognise slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity (2001),…

Hollande’s ‘moral’ approach to reparations is nothing but symbolism

(Republished from The Conversation) France has long grappled with the problem of reparations for slavery in its colonies, an issue that successive presidents have failed to address head-on. Now, President François Hollande has returned from a five-day tour of the Caribbean, set around May 10, France’s national day for commemorating slavery and its abolition. Hollande visited France’s former slave colonies and current overseas departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe along with Haiti, celebrated for having freed itself from French slavery in 1804 to become the first black republic. While his visit was viewed by some as marking the beginning of his re-election campaign, others considered it was not a success. Derided as gaffe-ridden by the French media following his speech in Guadeloupe and greeted with scepticism by groups lobbying for reparations, it showed just how deep the controversy over slavery’s legacy runs – and how poor the French government’s attempts to engage with the question of reparations have been. Long shadow Self-emancipation and abolition did not bring economic freedom and social equality to these islands. Reparations paid after the abolition of slavery in the French colonies in 1848 went not to the former slaves of Martinique and Guadeloupe, but rather to their ex-masters.…

Reparations in Norway

It has been revealed today (9 April 2015) that Norway will be paying reparations to Roma communities for the racist policies that led to their exclusion before and after the Second World War. This will accompanied by a full apology on behalf of the Norwegian government and is the result of campaigns led by Roma groups since the 1990s. Their campaigns have sought compensation for policies that led to the refusal of the Norwegian government to allow members of the Roma community to re-enter the country. This policy resulted in the deaths of at least 62 people who subsequently held in Nazi concentration camps, and has been defined by the prime minister as a “racist exclusion policy“. Norway’s willingness to engage with this particular part of its history is an important step towards achieving reparative justice for those who suffered as a result of its institutional decisions. The question remains, however, as to whether similar steps will now be taken by the Norwegian government, as well as other European governments, in the wake of Caricom’s calls for the forming slaving nations (which include Norway) to engage with reparations for slavery. Norway has so far remained silent on the matter. Government responses on these issues tend to be slow…

This event brings academics, activists, curators, government-linked groups and the media together for a three-day networking event designed to stimulate debate and incite discussion over the effects of slavery on contemporary society and practical ways to repair the past beyond that of commemoration and memorialization.

It is being held as part of the UK’s Black History Month, and offers an opportunity to explore reparations from multiple international and disciplinary perspectives, set within the timely context of the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery in the US (1865).

We welcome individual papers and panel proposals from across disciplines and across the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone and Lusophone worlds.