Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 4:00pm to Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 5:30pm

Class of 1978 Pavillion, 6th Floor Van Pelt Library

Penn and Slavery: A Symposium organized by the Penn & Slavery Project & the Program on Race, Science, and Society

April 3 & 4, 2019

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania


This symposium, co-hosted by the Penn & Slavery Project and the Program on Race, Science & Society (housed in the Center for Africana Studies) with support from the Office of the Provost, the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, The Penn Medicine Office of Inclusion and Diversity, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, will provide a space for presenting research and discussions regarding Penn’s relationship with the institution of slavery. The symposium will feature presentations by undergraduates currently conducting research as part of the P&SP, as well as roundtable and panel discussions by some of the nation’s leading scholars of slavery, race, and medicine. Especially in 2019, given the significance of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to British North America, this symposium affirms Penn’s commitment to engaging with the history of slavery. The symposium, which will be open not only to the Penn community but to the Philadelphia community more broadly, responds to President Gutmann’s call to offer educational and cultural programming which illuminates Penn’s connections to slavery. 


Wednesday, April 3


4:00-4:15p Welcome: Dr. Wendell Pritchett, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania


4:15- 5:45p   Introductions: William Noel, Director of the Kislak Center & the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies


Plenary roundtable:

Kathleen Brown, David Boies Professor of History; Director of the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women; Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania


Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology; Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights; Professor of Africana Studies; Director of the Program on Race, Science & Society, University of Pennsylvania

Deirdre Cooper Owens, Associate Professor of History, Queens College, CUNY; Director for the Program in African American History, Library Company of Philadelphia


5:45- 6:45p   Reception


Thursday, April 4


9:30- 10:00a Registration, Coffee provided


10:00-11:15a Session 1: Penn & Slavery Project Research Findings 


Research presentation by current undergraduate seminar students


11:15-11:30a   15-minute break, refreshments provided


11:30- 12:30p Session 2: Working on the Penn & Slavery Project: Current Research Areas, Strategies, and Ideas for the Future 


Moderator: Daniel Richter, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History; Richard S. Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Arielle Julia Brown, Cultural Planning Consultant for the Penn & Slavery Project; Public Programs Developer, Penn Museum 


Alexis Broderick Neumann, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow for the Penn & Slavery Project and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries


Paul Mitchell, PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania


VanJessica Gladney, Public History Fellow for the Penn & Slavery Project 


Breanna Moore, Independent Scholar


12:30-1:00p Session 3: Reimagining Penn’s History through Augmented Reality 


VanJessica Gladney


Laurie Allen, Director of Digital Scholarship, University of Pennsylvania Libraries


Paul Farber, Artistic Director of Monument Lab; Lecturer in Fine Arts/Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania


1-2:30p Lunch (provided)


2:30- 4:30p Session 4: Slavery and Medicine: What was Penn’s Role?


Moderator: Dorothy Roberts 


Daina Ramey Berry, Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin 


Sowande’ Mustakeem, Associate Professor of History and of African and African-American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis 


Rana Hogarth, Assistant Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 


Christopher Willoughby, Lapidus Center Postdoctoral Fellow, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library



4:30- 5:30p  Reception


Register at