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The After Slavery Research Project, the School of History and Anthropology at Queens University Belfast and the Wiles Trust
Wiles Colloquium IX

Rethinking Reconstruction
Race, Labor & Politics after the American Civil War

3-4 October 2008: Queen’s University Belfast

The tumultuous period that followed the American Civil War (1861-1865) constitutes a formative chapter in the development of the modern United States, and its outcome cast a long shadow over politics, labour and race relations and the evolution of the former slaveholding Confederacy. Reconstruction, as it came to be known, involved a protracted, often violent confrontation over the meaning, scope and permanence of emancipation, drawing in a wide range of historical actors, from the nation’s most prominent politicians to government and military officials, ex-Confederates and, significantly, former slaves themselves. From the early twentieth century, American popular memory of Reconstruction has been profoundly influenced by the work of professional historians, and an outpouring of new scholarship in the post-civil rights era has made it among the most vibrant fields in U. S. history.

On October 3rd and 4th the After Slavery Project—an AHRC-funded collaborative research project directed from Queens, will host a two-day Colloquium, drawing together leading scholars in the field from the United States, Ireland and the UK to share their research and discuss new trends in Reconstruction historiography. The Wiles keynote, a public lecture by Professor Thomas C. Holt (University of Chicago) entitled “Slave and Citizen in the Modern World: Rethinking Emancipation in the 21st Century,” will be held in the Linen Hall Library on Friday, 3 October, at 7.30 pm.

Other scholars taking part in the Wiles Colloquium include Bruce E. Baker (University of London- Royal Holloway); Daniel Brown (Queens University Belfast); Enrico Dal Lago (National University of Ireland-Galway); Richard Follett (University of Sussex); Eric Foner (Columbia University); Michael W. Fitzgerald (St. Olaf College); Sharon Harley (University of Maryland-College Park); Moon-Ho Jung (University of Washington); Brian Kelly (Queens University Belfast); Erik T. Mathisen (University of Pennsylvania); Susan E. O’Donovan (Harvard University) and Stephen A. West (Catholic University of America).

Questions about the event or media enquiries should be directed to Dr. Brian Kelly in the School of History and Anthropology through e-mail at or by telephone at 0778 979 5297.

The schedule for Wiles Colloquium IX is now available [download - word doc]

Access to the papers for the Colloquium are available for participants only: Information for Participants