Recent surges of gendered, sexual, racial, religious, and economic violence lend new urgency to understanding how systems of gender and sexuality are intertwined with other modalities of social difference. In fall 2015 the Gender Institute launched new programs to illuminate the histories of women in conjunction with the histories of other oppressed and marginalized groups.
RECLAIMING OUR ANCESTORS
In October 2015 the Gender Institute hosted a three-day workshop, "Reclaiming Our Ancestors," for which descendants of 18th and 19th-century antislavery authors and activists flew in from across the United States to discuss slave narratives, history, memory, and trauma. The principal goals of the workshop were to promote public (black) history and to support the participants’ educational, creative, and scholarly enterprises related to illuminating the legacies of slavery as well as the roots/routes of current forms of human trafficking and exploitation. Participants included descendants of Dred Scott, Solomon Northup, Venture Smith, William Grimes, Jeffrey Brace, Lewis Clarke, Moses Grandy, and other figures.
RECLAIMING OUR ANCESTORS: Community Conversations About Racial Justice and Public History
In 2017 the UB Humanities Institute and the Gender Institute presented the second iteration of the Reclaiming our Ancestors conference. Acclaimed scholars and activists discussed how to democratize our imaginative, intellectual, artistic, and public landscapes through the inclusion of diverse histories. The galvanizing center of our conversations was an extraordinary group of descendants of prominent 18th- and 19th-century African American antislavery activists. Partnering with humanities scholars, the descendants will promote public engagement with and production of African American history through multiple media, including genealogical research, memoir, films, television, statuary, visual arts, museums, museum exhibitions, community foundations, celebration days, quilts, and food. In addition, activists, artists, and scholars from around the US and from the city of Buffalo discussed their work in fields of racial justice, city planning, and community-building.
This conference was made possible by the generous co-sponsorship of the UB Gender Institute as part of Gender Week, the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Departments of English, History, and Transnational Studies.