Yun Kyoung Kwon (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is an assistant professor in the Department of Western History at Seoul National University, South Korea. Her research focuses on the histories of the French and Haitian Revolutions, slavery and abolition in the French Empire, and post-colonialism and the politics of memory. Her work has appeared in such journals as Social History and Atlantic Studies, and edited volumes such as France’s Lost Empires and Abolitionist Places.
Today, when the extreme right’s racism and anti-racist struggles are simultaneously intensifying, the memory of slavery is a subject of sharp debate around the world. France had long suppressed this memory to maintain its national identity as the “republic of liberation.” Now that the repressed memory of slavery has returned at the head of the French “war of memories” (guerre de mémoires), I would like to think about how the descendants of slavery and colonialism now living as French citizens are processing this painful memory. Based on my research trip in 2020, this presentation overviews the landscape of memory on the two islands of the French West Indies, Martinique and Guadeloupe. It analyzes the various mnemonic strategies found in the places of slavery memory and examines how new monuments have challenged the dominant national discourse of “liberty granted by France” and the myth of “Schoelcher, the Liberator.”
On campus: IB 1010
Zoom link: https://duke.zoom.us/j/2613304845
This event is open to the public.