Symposium 2020

Race in the Archives

This symposium addresses questions such as how racial identities and alterities were represented in different archive cultures; how different archival technologies shaped, reproduced and organized racial categories; how information gathering, keeping, using, preserving, concealing participated in politics of race.  

Normally, we organize the symposium over two or three full days. However, all-day meetings over Zoom are extremely tiring, and also challenging to organize given that participants are located in various time-zones. Therefore, we decided to extend the symposium over two quarters, from October to March, and to hold the online talks during our regular Wednesday lunch slots (12:00-1:15 PM PST). Each week, we will host a speaker who presents a paper on race in the archive, followed by a short response by another scholar and Q&A. Please note that Nicholas Jones’ talk is scheduled on Monday the 2nd of February and not on a Wednesday.  The symposium's keynote lecture, "The Rise of ‘Race’ in the West African Archive," will be given by Michael Gomez, Silver Professor and Professor of History and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies at NYU, on November 18. On December 9, there will be a panel discussion organized by our graduate students discussing the question of race in academia. 

Please contact CMEMS Graduate Coordinator Farah Bazzi at if you would like to attend these talks via Zoom. 

Overview of the Talks:

10/07 Roland Betancourt (UC Irvine)

The Racialization of Gender in Byzantine Texts 

10/14 Shao-Yun Yang (Denison University)

Race and Censorship in the Siku Quanshu Project

10/21 Mackenzie Cooley (Hamilton College)

Ordering Populations in New Spain: Race, Inheritance, and Difference the Matricula de Huexotzinco, c. 1560

11/04 Federico Navarrete Linares (Universidad Nacional Autónima de México)

The Suppression of Indigenous and Muslim Participation in a Mexican Manuscript: Christanization and Racialization of the Colonial Archive

11/18 Keynote Lecture by Michael Gomez (New York University)

The Rise of 'Race' in the West African Archive

12/02 Mira Kafantaris (Ohio State University) 

White Futurity and Racialized Reproduction in the Reception of Catherine of Braganza in England 

12/09  Graduate Student Panel

Race in Academia 

01/13 Hannah Barker (Arizona State University) 

Racial Categorization and Slave Status in Fifteenth Century Genoa 

01/20 Rachel Schine (University of Colorado-Boulder)

Indexing the Racial World of Arabic Epics

01/27 Sierra Lomuto (Rowan University)

The Global middle Ages at the Morgan: Belle da Costa Greene and MS M. 723

02/03 Pamela Patton (Princeton University)

Reading Race in Medieval Castile and the Modern Temptations of the Medieval Image 

02/08 Nicholas Jones (Bucknell university) 

Locating Black Women in Early Modern Iberian Archives 

02/17 Vanicléia Silva Santos (Universidade Federal of Minas Gerais) 

Racial Categories in the Portuguese Inquisition Papers on West Africa-XVII century

02/24 Nahir Otaño Gracia (University of New Mexico)

La Faula and the Archives: Race, Violence, and Mallorca

03/03 Baki Tezcan (UC Davis)

Early Modern Ottoman Africana Literature at the Intersection of Gender and Race