Stuck in Year Zero: Periodization and the Maritimization of Commemorations in Atlantic Perspective


Inspired by the recent convergence and contrasting commemorations connected to the 400th anniversaries of the landing of enslaved people in Virginia in 1619 and of English dissidents in Wampanoag territory in 1620, this talk analyzes multiple commemorative activities in the twenty-first century that similarly recognized what have become key events in Atlantic history, including the British abolition of the slave trade and the creation of the English colony at Jamestown. An Atlantic perspective on these national and local activities reveals common themes of maritimization—a preoccupation with and celebration of European ships—and periodization—the transformation of ship arrivals into originative national moments. These intertwined features efface indigenous histories and inflict temporal violence on indigenous people. The contrast with the deployment of ships—or their absence—in commemorations of slavery and abolition is stark.

Open to all. Followed by a wine reception.

This event will also be live streamed on Zoom - please register to watch.