We are excited to announce that yet another South Carolina school has embarked on a process of confronting its own difficult past. The Universities Studying Slavery movement continues to grow. Please welcome the College of Charleston.
College of Charleston students and faculty are researching slavery and its legacies in departments and programs across campus, including History, English, African American Studies, Art and Architectural History, Historic Preservation and Community Planning, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Teacher Education, Southern Studies, Religious Studies, Music, Political Science, Archaeology, Anthropology, Sociology, Jewish Studies, the Charleston Jazz Initiative, the First-Year Experience, and the Sustainability Literacy Institute. Dozens of historic buildings on the school’s campus, containing a wealth of historical material, are inspiring students and faculty to research the individuals who constructed them, including enslaved laborers. Avery Research Center, a highly significant archive and community leader housed in another historic structure, works to “collect, preserve, and promote the unique history and culture of the African diaspora, with emphasis on Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.” The College’s Addlestone Library houses the school’s Special Collections and the South Carolina Historical Society, both containing extensive archival material documenting the history of slavery in the region. Addlestone’s Lowcountry Digital Library is continuously digitizing more archival materials and creating ambitious open-access online exhibits, such as African Passages, Lowcountry Adaptations.
For two decades the Program in the Carolina Lowcoutry and Atlantic World (CLAW) has promoted scholarship and public events related to the history of slavery. Recent international conferences include Transforming Public History: From Charleston to the Atlantic World (2017) and Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reinterpreting Reconstruction in the Atlantic World (2018).
The College of Charleston says that its membership in Universities Studying Slavery will spur the school to be more intentional in disseminating research and in collaborations within and beyond the institution. More College of Charleston initiatives will be announced in the coming months. The school looks forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with USS as they continue to develop an in-depth and honest account of its own past.
We look forward to the College of Charleston collaborating with nearly forty other schools in the coming months.