“Landscapes of Slavery, Landscapes of Freedom," Panel 3

Event Description:

This forum brings together scholars whose research investigates the relationship between the African diaspora, Afro-descendants, and the built environment of North America and the Caribbean from a variety of lenses that are specific to the scholars’ fields of inquiry. The goal is to begin to expand the field of landscape history by taking into consideration questions that are not always deemed central to the practice of design, if design is understood as an activity that has featured—in the historical narratives—the presence of an author-designer, a client, and a variety of tools the former has used to communicate ideas about form, materials and use, to the latter.

By its very cross-disciplinary nature and topical organization, this forum questions a traditional mode of history writing that is based both on the description of linear developments and on the exclusive use of archival and written sources. Instead it argues for a relational historiography that considers what methods and what traces—written, spoken, or material, and whether found on the land’s surface or below—may allow us to tell the story of the Black North American and Caribbean landscape of enslaved people, maroons and freemen. Without arguing for the obliteration of what is already known about the landscape of plantations and the settlements of early America, essays presented at this symposium will ultimately produce a landscape history that, paraphrasing Èdouard Glissant, is latent, open, multicultural in intention, and directly in contact with everything possible.

Panel Discussion 3, moderated by Jennifer Anderson

“The Fences Have Flown”: Unsettling Enclosure in Narratives of Black Spatial Practice
Elleza Kelley

Landscape, Memory, and the History of Slavery in Mississippi
Max Grivno

Elleza Kelley is a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University in the departments of English and African American Studies. Her current book project explores black spatial knowledge and practice through African American literature and visual art. Kelley is a co-founder of the BSA at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she acts as a senior advisor, programming symposia and producing publications related to blackness and architecture. Kelley writes and teaches on a range of subjects from black aesthetics and black geographies to historical fiction. Kelley’s writing can be found in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, The New Inquiry, Cabinet Magazine, and elsewhere.

Max Grivno is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he teaches courses on the Old South, Slavery, and American Economic History. While completing his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, Grivno worked for several years as a research assistant with the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Grivno has also served as a research historian for the National Park Service and has completed the historic resources survey for Ferry Hill Plantation and the Forks of the Road Slave Market in Natchez, Mississippi. Dr. Grivno has received received research fellowships from the Gilder Lehrman, the University of North Carolina, and has been awarded the Humanities Scholar of the Year Award by the Mississippi Humanities Council for his work promoting slavery and public history. Dr. Grivno is currently working on a book on the last survivors of slavery in the United States.

00:00 Panel Introduction by Jennifer Anderson
03:32 Presentation by Elleza Kelley
29:30 Presentation by Max Grivno
49:49 Discussion and Q+A



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