International Conference to commemorate the 150th anniversary of abolition of slavery, the 160th anniversary of Chinese immigration, and the 140th anniversary of immigration of East Indians in Suriname, Stardust Hotel, Paramaribo, 6-10 June 2013.
Organized by the Institute for Graduate Studies and Research (IGSR), Social Science Research Institute (IMWO) of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, in collaboration with the National Archives Suriname (NAS), and the following cultural organizations: NAKS, Federasi fu Afrikan Srananman, CUS, NSHI, VHJI, Committee 10 th. October.
The present Surinamese and other Caribbean societies are a product of different forms of migration of people, starting with the coming of the Indegenous people thousands of years ago, followed by colonization by Europeans who subsequently introduced African slaves and indentured labourers from Asia. In Suriname we experienced flows of new immigrants who arrived from Guyana, Brazil, Haiti and China.
Just as the rest of the Caribbean, Suriname became part of the global economy through European expansion since the sixteenth century. Starting with Spain, several European countries founded colonies and introduced forced laborers from Europe, Africa and Asia. As a result the societies in the Caribbean and other former colonies became multi-ethnic and multi-cultural.
In the case of Suriname, the import of indentured as well as free laborers goes back to years before the abolition of slavery. As a result we have various groups of Amerindians or Indigenous people, Creoles (descendants of former slaves), six Maroon tribes (Bush Negroes), Hindustanis, Javanese (Indonesians from Java), Chinese, Europeans, Jews, Lebanese, Haitians and Brazilians.
Since the second half of the 20th century a reverse migration process is taking place as a consequence of which a large proportion of the population of postcolonial states is presently living in diaspora. In the age of globalization, boundaries between states are vanishing. In relation to modern migration and diaspora we see transnational links and loyalties, which sometimes have been perceived as problematic.
Suriname shares with the Caribbean and other postcolonial states an experienc of European colonization, African slavery followed by immigration of indentured laborers from Asia, and massive emigration to the former metropolis and North America during the second half of the twentieth century. Many of the processes and developments are not unique for one country or a region, on the contrary, we see that those problems and issues can be compared with each other. So we can understand our present world much better and will be able to find solutions for different problems by comparing those issues.
Aim of the conference
The aim of the conference is to connect historical specificities of slavery, indentured labor and migration to contemporary issues of globalization, diapora, identity formation, nationalism and transnationalism.
At the same time we want to promote new perspectives and approaches in the study of forced and free migration and their impact on the society. By bringing together scholars from various parts of the world - senior scholars as well as new promising talents - we hope to stimulate exchange of ideas, set up new networks and strengthen existing networks.
Central theme: Linking slavery, indentured labor and migration to contemporary issues
Some questions to be answered during the conference are:
- What are the legacies of slavery and indentured labor in social, economic, cultural, political fields?
- How did post-slavery identity formation occur in different parts of the world in general?
- What has been the psychological impact of slavery and indentured labor?
- How are transnational identities developing in the world of today?
- How is the process of identification related to the imaginary relation with the country of origin and with other “partners in distress” in the Diaspora.
- In the case of the second migration or the twice diaspora, what is perceived as country of origin, in other words: What kind of home land perspectives do people have and which impact will this have on their relation with the former homeland?
- In which ways did the various groups adapt to the new environment? What has been the policy or attitude of the receiving countries or societies?
- How are localizing processes (‘creolization’) expressed in migrant cultures?
- What transnational ties exist among descendants of immigrants in the Caribbean? Are alternative transnational identities in the Caribbean real or an imagination?
- How are transnational ties and identities recognized and institutionalised by the State in the former homelands?
- What has been the policy of the countries of origin regarding their former citizens living in diaspora?
- How and why are local processes of identity formation related to emotional and practical identification to the countries of origin, and how do these countries feature in these processes?
- Which are social, economic, cultural and political consequences of migration and diaspora in modern times?
Suggested themes based on the abovementioned questions
- The legacy of slavery and indentured labor: historical and current developments, with special reference to the psychological legacy of slavery and indentured labor: historical and current developments.
- Ethno-genesis and interethnic relations.
- The role of ethnocentrism, ethnic labelling and stereotyping in the process of creating and maintaining ethnic boundaries
- Ethnicity and politics
- The role of religion and religious organizations in identity formation
- Identify formation, boundary maintenance and interethnic marriage
- Transnational networks and identities.
- Relations with the country of origin?
- Transnational families
- Popular culture
- Language development in migration societies/migrant communities.
- Origin and Development of Creolized languages.
- Development of multilingual societies
- Localization and globalization of religions
- Social problems of people in Diaspora
- Health issues in historical and contemporary context.
- Reparations: moral, legal and practical aspects.
- Diaspora policy: past, present and future
- Role of people in Diaspora for the development of their country of origin
Paper and panel proposals:
The organizers would like to stimulate the submission of panel propoposals, but individual paper proposals are also wellcome.
A panel proposal should consist of a framework of the panel, with relevant questions, a number of paper proposals, abstracts of the papers and biodata of all members of the panel. The number of papers within a panel will be between three and eight. Each panel will have a chair and a discussant.
Individual paper proposals can be submitted by by e-mail in MS Word by sending an abstract of 300 - 350 words, together with a short CV.
Panels and papers with a comparative nature will be given higher priority than others.
Deadline for submission of paper or panel proposals: December 15th 2012.
Deadlines for submission of full papers: April 30th , 2013.
Publication: A selection of papers will be published by the University of Suriname.
Language: The conference language will be English.
People who want to participate in the conference without presenting a paper, are also welcome.
- US$ 100,-
- US$ 125,- for non-presenters.
All participants will get a set of papers on CD-Rom.
Note: The organizing committee is not in a position to assist participants with financial assistance.
All participants are advised to seek funding through their respective institutions or by other means.
Accomodation costs in Stardust Hotel are very reasonable.
The venue of the conference is Stardust Hotel, located in Leonsberg, in the northern part of the capital city of Paramaribo.
All overseas participants are advised to book a room in this hotel, but there are also attractive appartments in the neighbourhood. People who prefer to stay in the centre of Paramaribo, will arrange their own transport to Leonsberg.
Co-ordinator of the Organizing Committee: IMWO, Anton de Kom University of Suriname
Maurits S. Hassankhan, POB 9212, Paramaribo, Suriname. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (597) 462003; E-mail: email@example.com