2021-2022 Department Conferences & Symposiums 


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  • UNDERCURRENTS: Connection and Rupture in the Caribbean, from the Pre-Columbian Era to 1900


    Organized by the University of Miami Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Center for the Humanities 

    Kislak Undercurrents

    ‌February 13-14, 2020

    Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami  
    The Kislak Center at the University of Miami 


    The movement of people, goods, and ideas has long shaped the economic, political, cultural, and social features of the Caribbean. Rather than taking this circulation for granted, this symposium explores how the logistics, networks, and paths of movement varied over time and excluded as much as they included. In looking to establish with greater precision the relationships among the circulations of people, goods, and ideas, this symposium gathers scholars working in and across multiple disciplines, whose reflections not only identify the specificities of local and regional dynamics, but also appraise their long-term impact on the Caribbean and its connections to the broader world.

    Registration for Conference 

    This Conference is open and free to all members of the University of Miami and the general public.


    February 13, 2020  



    Jennifer Morgan, New York University

    "Madwomen on the Slave Ship: Reproduction and Racial Capitalism"

    This Keynote address for this conference was organized in collaboration with the Center for the Humanities


    7:00 p.m.
    Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami


    Free and Open to the Public


    Program for February 14, 2020 



    Welcome and Opening Remarks 

    Charles Eckman, Dean of UM Libraries,

    Professor Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies

    Session 1: Trans-Caribbean Indigeneities
    Chair and Respondent: Viviana Diaz Balsera (University of Miami)

    William J. Pestle (University of Miami), “The First Peopling of la isla encantada: Archaeological Evidence for the Pre-Arawak Societies of Southwestern Puerto Rico”

    Marcy Norton (University of Pennsylvania), “Dogs, People and Modes of Interaction in the Circum-Caribbean 1400 – 1650”

    Melanie Newton (University of Toronto), “Counterpoints of Conquest: The 1763 Royal Proclamation, the Lesser Antilles and the Ethnogeography of Genocide”




    Session 2: Borderlands and Diasporas

    Chair and Respondent: Scott Heerman (University of Miami)


    Santa Arias (University of Kansas), “San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico, a Frontier-Island: The Geohistorical Paradox of an Agenda for Improvement under Spanish Rule”

    Martin Tsang (University of Miami), “The Cane and the Cowrie: The Development and Negotiation of an Afro-Asian Religious Diaspora in Cuba, 1847-1900”

    David Sartorius (University of Maryland), “Susceptibility in Transit: Passports, Circulars, and Other Speculations in Nineteenth-Century Cuba”

    3pm-3:30pm Coffee Break 


    Session 3: Fugitive Narratives

    Chair and Respondent: Donette Francis (University of Miami)

    Doris Garraway (Northwestern University), “Silencing the Slave Revolution in Post- revolutionary Haiti: Location, Color, and Family Romance in Haiti’s First Historiography”

    Sara E. Johnson (University of California San Diego), “Translating Empire: The Editorial Projects of Moreau de Saint-Méry”

    Bridget Brereton (University of the West Indies), “Escape to the Main: Venezuela in the Nineteenth-Century Trinidad Imaginary”


    Closing Roundtable

    Convener and Moderator: David Sartorius (University of Maryland)



    This symposium is made possible thanks to generous support from the Kislak Family Foundation, Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies, the Department of History, the Center for the Humanities, The Edith Bleich Lecture Series, the Program in Latin American Studies, the University of Miami Libraries, and the Early Americas Working Group of Washington DC.