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Lecture | PCNI Research Seminar

Racial Democracy

Friday 24 February 2023
PCNI Research Seminars 2022-2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

On February 24, the 2023 PCNI research seminar series on the historical roots of the “polycrisis/permacrisis” that affects democratic regimes will resume with a discussion with our colleague prof. Damian Pargas and his team of PhD students, who will present on their current project revolving around the intersections between race and democracy in the United States.

In an oft-quoted letter to John Taylor in December 1814, John Adams famously declared that “democracy never lasts long,” among other reasons because “those Passions are the same in all Men under all forms of Simple Government, and when unchecked, produce the same Effects of Fraud, Violence and Cruelty.” A perusal of US history suggests that fraud, violence, cruelty, and other acts of civic injustice—especially those aimed at excluding racial minorities from political participation, constitutional rights, and even legal personhood—have always had a profound impact on the nature and development of American democracy, at both the local and national levels. This has particularly been the case for African Americans. From Dred Scott to Jim Crow, civic democratic ideals in America have frequently been undermined or challenged by attempts to construct a “white man’s republic.” The "Racial Democracy" project explores various such practices across time and space in American history, as well as how African Americans have navigated such systems.

Manar Ellethy, “Black Life is Revolution:” The Quest for Survival in Early Black Documentary Film Christine Mertens, "Utter Strangers to Us:" The Migration of Free African Americans in the Upper South, 1790-1830
Marcella Schute, Efforts to Reopen the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Antebellum Louisiana
Damian Pargas, In the Shadows of Slavery: Black Freedom and the Spectrum of Democracy in Antebellum America

If you wish to attend the seminar but cannot be present in person, please send a message to the PCNI seminar coordinator, Dario Fazzi at d.fazzi@hum.leidenuniv.nl to get a Zoom link and join online.

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