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The Cost of Freedom: Debt and Slavery -19-20/05/2017, New York (NY, USA)


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The rhetorics of freedom and liberty permeate contemporary and historical political discourse. This language and its associated symbols is invariably positively connoted from the perspective of the speaker and the presumed audience. However, the associated values and defining principles shift dramatically in each social context. In short we can all agree freedom is good, but we cannot agree what it means to be free. One of the key sites of contention in such discourse is what needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve liberty and what costs are associated with the preservation of freedom. The valuation of liberty is directly linked to whose freedom is prioritized and who is seen as bearing the associated costs. All of this is especially true any discussion of slavery.


The aim of this conference is to bring scholars from numerous disciplines into conversation across the historical timeline. Just as freedom and liberty are slippery concepts, so are ideas of debt, value, and payment. But rather than simply viewing these terms as rhetorical devices that make freedom seem worthwhile, we deploy debt, value,and payment as analytical tools for understanding how freedom works – while also keeping in mind that these are concepts that themselves demand investigation. These ideas unite the discourses of freedom and liberty, from ethical and economic discourses, which describe freedom as either physical labor or a mental activity, as well as the language of religion and science. Often our innumerable ways of assessing value bleed one into another, especially in conversations regarding individual and shared liberties.


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 19-20/05/2017


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Brooklyn College, City University of New York (NY, USA)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Liv Mariah Yarrow (Associate Professor, Classics, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY) ; Tristan Husby (PhD Candidate, Classics, Graduate Center, CUNY) ; Lisa Del Sol (PhD Candidate, English, Columbia University) ; Thomas DeAngelis (PhD Candidate, Human Geography, Graduate Center, CUNY); Jessica (Jesi) Taylor (Conference Coordinator Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and Philosophy Major, Brooklyn College, CUNY).This conference is sponsored by the The Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities at Brooklyn College, CUNY

INFO: web - c-f-p@debtandslavery.com ; queries@debtandslavery.com

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