In which ways the transformation of the human body into an object to capture, to trade and to sell is telling us something about the world we live in? What can we learn from colonial slavery—predatory economy and wars, racialized and gendered workforce, geopolitics of inequalities, laws..—that will help us understand contemporary global economy? What practices and methodologies may be used to “exhibit” colonial slavery? In which ways European and American abolitionist discourse and representation continue to weight on the ways in which we understand enslavement and freedom? Drawing from her practice as the president of the French Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery (2008-2012), installed by the 2001 Law recognizing slave trade and slavery “crime against humanity” and as the Project Director of a “Museum Without Objects,” Françoise Vergès will revisit the legacies of slave trade and colonial slavery, the ways in which the attempt to “Europeanize” the World has been linked to a construction of a moral, political, and aesthetic subject in terms of identity and culture, and the politics of reparation.
The Colonial Legacy Conference examined the colonial and post-colonial heritage of the Treaty of Utrecht and assessed its legacy in contemporary scholarship on human trafficking, in the study of cultural memories of historical traumas, in practices of reconciliation and in popular culture.