Symposium 2020/21: Race in the Archives

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 2020 to March 2021, 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 bazzif [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”