2017 Symposium

Black/White Intimacies: Reimagining History, the South, and the Western Hemisphere

Department of English, University of Alabama
Hotel Capstone, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

This two-day symposium explores interracial interactions and the forming of American culture during the antebellum period and beyond. We will be joined by a host of emerging and established scholars from academic institutions in the United States and France, who will help us address questions such as the following: What were the limitations of interracial intimacies and how might people have addressed those limitations in various settings – domestic spheres, legal systems, religious spaces, classrooms? If people across races and cultures lived, ate, slept, and traveled together, what were the implications for cultural understanding—or lack thereof? What was interracial intimacy and how might expressions of such intimate contact have been guided by race, gender, and class?


7:45 – 8:45 AM
Symposium sign-in next to conference room
Breakfast next to conference room

7:45 AM – 5:00 PM
Coffee, tea, and other beverages available in conference room

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Opening Remarks, Symposium Organizers

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
1. Opening Keynote Address
“Intermediary Objects: Slavery, Barter, and Black/White Male Intimacies in the Antebellum South”
Michael Bibler, Associate Professor, English, Louisiana State University
Introduction of Speaker: Andy Crank, Assistant Professor, English, UA

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
2. A Plethora of Antebellum Intimacies
Chair: Lauren Cardon, Assistant Professor, English, UA

“‘Disgrace of Our Nation’: Interracial Intimacies in the Antebellum and Postbellum Eras”
Kavon Franklin, Assistant Professor, English, Alabama State University, Montgomery

“Intimate Passage: Deathbed Labor in the Slave South”
Jamie Warren, Assistant Professor, History, City University of New York, BMCC

“Before Scandal: Black Women and White Men in Love . . . But Not in Marriage?”
Angelita Reyes, Professor, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University

12:15 PM – 1:25 PM
LUNCH BREAK (Lunch provided for conference participants in the conference room)

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
3. Literary, Popular Cultural, and Spatial Intimacies
Chair: Nirmala Erevelles, Professor, Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies, UA

“More Precious Than the Diadem of a Queen: Visions of Black Matrimony and Maternity in Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Iola Leroy”
Austin Carter, PhD Student, English, University of California Irvine

“Interracial Intimacies and the Bodily Excesses of Sophie Campbell’s Wet Moon”
Qiana Whitted, Associate Professor, English and African American Studies, USC-Columbia

“The June German: Proximate Intimacies and Black Celebratory Space, 1917-1950”
Elijah Gaddis, PhD Candidate, American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill

3:15 PM – 4:45 PM
4. Intimacies in the Linguistic and Creative Arts
Chair: Yolanda Manora, Associate Professor, English, UA

“Poetic Intimacies: Black Olde English/White Old English”
Donna Beth Ellard, Assistant Professor, English, University of Denver

“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?: Interrogating the Interracial Musical-Friendship Trope”
Matthew Sutton, Independent Scholar, Georgetown, Kentucky

“On ‘Loving’: Interracial Marriage in the 1960s”
Diamond Forde, MFA Candidate, English, The University of Alabama

4:45 PM -6:15 PM
DINNER BREAK (Dinner provided for Symposium speakers on-site at Legends)

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
5. An Evening with E. Patrick Johnson
“Put a Little Honey in my Sweet Tea: Stories of Black Queer Men and Women of the South.”
Performance by E. Patrick Johnson, Carlos Montezuma Professor and Chair of African American Studies, Northwestern University
Location: Jordan-Bryant Hall
Introduction of Speaker: Trudier Harris, University Distinguished Research Professor, English, UA


7:45 – 8:45 AM
Symposium sign-in next to the conference room
Breakfast served next to the conference room

7:45 AM – 2:45 PM
Coffee, tea, and other beverages available in the conference room

6. Black Female/White Male: Repeating History, Repeating Intimacies
Chair: Sharony Green, Assistant Professor, History, UA

“Remembering Julia: A Tale of Sex, Race, Power, and Place”
Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies, Indiana University

“‘The Sea Ain’t Got No Back Door’: Jamaica Kincaid and Allen Shawn’s Struggle to Navigate Their Sea”
Daryl Cumber Dance, Professor of English Emerita, University of Richmond

“Women’s Violent Intimacies in Steven McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Jean Van de Velde’s Hoe Duur Was de Suiker”
Amy K. King, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Institute of Technology

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
7. The Changing Same
Chair: Merinda Simmons, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, UA

“Popular Music and the Politics of Interracial Friendship”
Erich Nunn, Associate Professor, English, Auburn University

“The Ghosts of Monticello: Using Poetry to Excavate the American Origin Story”
Carmen Gillespie, Professor, English, Bucknell University

“Promoting Black/White Intimacies through Listening Behind Doors: A Study of Eavesdropping.”
Emmeline Gros, Associate Professor, English, Université de Toulon, France

12:00 PM – 1:25 PM
LUNCH BREAK (Lunch provided for conference participants in the conference room)

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
8. Closing Keynote Address
“Civil Rights Sentimental Fiction: Atticus Finch, The Help, and Archiving Political Feelings”
Rebecca Wanzo, Associate Professor, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Washington University, St. Louis
Introduction of Speaker: Cassander L. Smith, Associate Professor, English, UA