CFP – Call for Papers: Clothing the Enslaved in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World, Shrewsbury, UK, 8-10 July 2019


Clothing the Enslaved in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Shrewsbury, UK, 8-10 July 2019

Organizers: Chris Evans and Naomi Preston (University of South Wales)

Plantation societies were dedicated agro-industrial production zones that sucked in inputs from around the Atlantic world: captive labourers, foodstuffs (beef from Cork, cod from Newfoundland), packaging materials (North American lumber), and specialised equipment (sugar boilers manufactured in London and Hamburg). They also imported huge quantities of fabric: linens and coarse woollens from which workwear for enslaved workers was fashioned.

Clothing the Enslaved in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World will provide a forum in which to discuss the fabrics used to dress enslaved workers in the Caribbean and British North America between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. It is to be held in Shrewsbury, the organizational hub of the mid-Wales woollen industry, which was one of the principal sources of ‘Negro Cloth’. The venue will be the newly restored Flaxmill Maltings, a pioneering iron-framed textile mill of the 1790s. The event is generously sponsored by the Pasold Fund and the University of South Wales.

Keynote addresses will be given by Professor Colleen E. Kriger (University of North Carolina at Greenboro) and Professor Seth Rockman (Brown University).

This call for papers invites proposals that deal with (but are not restricted to) the following themes:

The production of textiles for or in slave societies
The use of textiles in the procurement of enslaved workers around the Atlantic world
The relationship between textiles and other elements of material culture in slave societies
The use of textiles to assert selfhood, embody memory, express gender, or announce ethnic identity
Variations in the costume of enslaved peoples in ‘slave societies’ and/or ‘societies with slaves’

Proposals from postgraduate students and early career researchers are particularly welcome. We hope to be able to support the attendance of speakers who are precariously employed.

Proposals of about 500 words should be emailed to Naomi Preston ( by 18 February 2019.

For more information, see here.

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