Creative Placemaking,
Black Restorative Ecologies,
and Black Spatial Futures

Insurgent Black Ecologies: Woods, Water, and Rebellion in the Great Dismal Swamp

Kathryn Benjamin Golden in Conversation with Melanie White

Wednesday, November 8 | 5:30pm
De la Cruz Art Gallery


In partnership with Georgetown University Art Galleries and the exhibition Kara Walker: Back of Hand. Exhibition organized by Dr. Katie Geha for the Athenaeum, the University of Georgia.

Co-sponsored by The Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies 

Kathryn Benjamin Golden’s work historicizes the worldmaking practices of Africans and African descendants, highlighting the ways that a highly repressive slaveholding order and extractive plantation economies could not prevent Black arrangements of southern space. Through their noncompliant, reciprocal, and emancipatory relationships with land, water, woods, and swamps, enslaved people mapped insurgency across Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp as fugitives, maroons, and rebels. Their deep study of the forested swamp’s ecological offerings provided alternative lifeways and opportunity to nurture Black social life – inherent insurgencies within the contexts of chattel slavery and social death. 

Golden will be in conversation with Melanie White, Assistant Professor of Afro-Caribbean Studies in the Department of African American Studies and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

Reception to follow.

Speaker Bios

Kathryn Benjamin Golden, Ph.D. is a professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware and teaches courses in early African American history, Black women’s history, and slave resistance in the Atlantic world. She is currently writing a book entitled, This Insurgent Ground: Black Women, Marronage, and Rebellion in the Great Dismal Swamp. Her work has been published in the Journal of African American StudiesSlavery and AbolitionThe Black Scholar, and the Winterthur Portfolio. 

Melanie Y. White, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Afro-Caribbean Studies in the Department of African American Studies and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in Africana Studies from Brown University, an M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and teaching interests include hemispheric Black feminist politics, Black diasporic women’s art, and the histories, politics, and visual cultures of Black Latin America and the Caribbean.

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