LECTURE | 1 November 2018 | Tropenmuseum
The Research Center for Material Culture is pleased to host Professor David Scott in a series of conversations that explore the question of new world slavery and its afterlives. A leading Caribbean intellectual, Scott is Ruth and William Lubic Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University, New York. He is also editor of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, and director of the Small Axe Project.
David Scott’s ongoing work has been concerned with reconceptualizing the way we think the story of the colonial past for the postcolonial present. He has developed these ideas in a number of key publications, including Refashioning Futures (1999), Conscripts of Modernity (2004), Omens of Adversity (2014), and Stuart Hall's Voice (2017). Scott’s current research and writing focusses on the question of reparations for the historical injustice of New World slavery.
The lecture suggests a framework in which the story of the past in the present of New World Slavery should be reoriented toward a "moral" history, and specifically a "reparatory" history, that is, a history of unrepaired wrongs. Not all past wrongs, however, are reparable, not all past evils can be punished or forgiven. The lecture suggests that New World Slavery was a distinctive moral evil and one that is, in fact, irreparable.
Image: Joscelyn Gardener, Creole Portraits III: “bringing down the flowers…”, Bromeliad Penguin (Abba), 2011