On Thursday, October 30, 2014, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program continued the Wells Fargo Distinguished Public Lecture Series with a lecture by Dr. Tristan Stubbs. For his lecture Stubbs presented part of his research on the plantation overseers of eighteenth-century Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina. He described how the nineteenth-century view of overseers as capricious and brutal men can be traced back to the eighteenth century. Stubbs noted that attitudes towards overseers had not always been so harsh, and he argued that the idea of overseers as both brutal and often incompetent arose in the eighteenth century due to a number of factors, including a rising absenteeism among plantation owners and strains of Enlightenment thought. Stubbs, who received his PhD from Pembroke College, Cambridge, is quite the expert on the overseers of the eighteenth century, his manuscript on the subject having won the 2013 Hines Prize. The lecture had the honor of being attended by Dr. Sam Hines, who led the creation of the CLAW program and is the man behind the Hines Prize, named after Dr. Hines’ mother. Right before the lecture Dr. Hines presented Dr. Stubbs with a certificate confirming him as the 2013 Hines Prize winner. The Wells Fargo Distinguished Public Lecture series will continue on November 6th at 6 pm with a lecture given in the College of Charleston’s Jewish Studies Center by Dr. Ras Michael Brown, a professor from Southern Illinois University.
For all the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World people in the Northeast US, the Gilder Lehrman Center will hold its 16th Annual International Conference at the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT) on November 7-8, 2014. The two-day conference is meant to coincide with the Center for British Art’s exhibition Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, and conference will help place these pieces in historical contexts and explore the relationship between slavery and British art and culture. For those in the area (and those elsewhere) who are interested, here is the link to the conference homepage: http://www.yale.edu/glc/visualizing-slavery/index.htm.
On September 24, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program concluded the Family Histories Film Series with a very well-attended screening of “All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story.” “All My Babies” is a training film about midwifery filmed on location in Albany, Georgia in the 1950s. Written, directed, and produced by George C. Stoney, the film features Mrs. Mary Coley, a midwife with many years of experience, as well as public health doctors and nurses. The film was chosen by the Library of Congress in 2002 to be placed on the National Film Registry. “All My Babies” is seminal in that it not only presents a portrait of Miss Mary and her work as a midwife, but it also provides a view into the lives of African-Americans in the rural South in the 50s. The film was introduced by Dr. Cara Delay and Dr. Sandra Slater, professors in the History Department at the College of Charleston, who also concluded the event with a Q & A. Delay specializes in the gender and women’s history in Modern Britain and Ireland, and she is conducting research on the reproduction and motherhood in twentieth-century Ireland. Slater is also interested in gender, sexual, and women’s history, particularly as those subjects pertain to seventeenth-century North America. They pointed out that the film is very much a product of 1950s America, and how that along with the careful, deliberate work of Stoney add to the significance of “All My Babies.” The great turnout at the event made it a good conclusion to the Family Histories Film Series.