DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. WE HOPE YOU'LL JOIN US FOR OUR SEMINAR WITH PROFESSOR FLORIO IN THE FALL OF 2023, DATE/TIME TO BE DETERMINED.
Beginning soon after the Civil War’s outbreak in 1861 and continuing through the war’s end in 1865, American military officials and, especially, a range of American and British activists strove not only to extract labour from but also to provide assistance to African American freedpeople. Even as poverty was central to enslaved African Americans’ experiences of wartime, its relief was widely understood to be a prerequisite to their survival in freedom. This talk explores the history of the transatlantic struggle to distribute provisions to former slaves, and, in doing so, seeks to unpack the imaginative contents and practical consequences of wartime relief efforts. By tracing how many across the Anglo-American world came to reconceive of enslaved people as impoverished people, we begin to see how policymakers, aid workers, and African Americans themselves wrangled over the relationships between labour and livelihood, charity and entitlements, maintenance and freedom. The connections between slavery and poverty – forged in debates over the needs of the emancipated black poor – unsettle the historical and historiographical boundaries of slavery and freedom
Chris Florio is a historian of the United States, with interests in cultural and intellectual history, transnational history, the history of slavery and emancipation, and the history of capitalism. Before joining the Hollins faculty, Florio spent 2016-2019 as a member of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is also involved in efforts to provide educational opportunities to incarcerated students, and has taught courses at Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women.