Scholars will share perspectives on amendment ratified in 1865Historians in the News
“Slavery, Abolition and Human Rights: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Thirteenth Amendment” is a two-day conference that will include more than 30 experts from the disciplines of law, political science, history, public policy, literature and philosophy.
Amy Dru Stanley, Associate Professor in History and the College, and Alexander Tsesis, assistant professor at Loyola University School of Law, organized the conference, which will explore the amendment’s importance to the United States’ history and present.
As the conference summary explains, “The amendment has offered powerful protections for individual rights and equal treatment, against wrongs ranging from peonage and housing discrimination to school segregation and trafficking in persons. A wellspring of American civil rights jurisprudence and legislation, it also has inspired global aspirations for human rights.”
Its legacy is one that academics have rarely studied. The 13th Amendment has been rather overshadowed by the study of the 14th Amendment—that is, the problem of abolishing slavery under the 13th has been overshadowed by the problem of guaranteeing national citizenship and equal protection under the 14th. To be sure, historians and legal scholars have explored the origins and construction of the 13th Amendment, but most often as part of the wider constitutional transformation of the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction,” explained Stanley.
However, the 13th Amendment raises issues that touch the scholarship of all the participating experts, from literature to law. The conference’s interdisciplinary nature is of crucial importance.
Stanley said, “Coercion, autonomy, property, subjectivity and difference are among the core issues raised by the 13th Amendment, issues that speak to concerns at the heart of these diverse disciplines. It is rare to bring together such a host of scholars, allowing for interdisciplinary exchange among the participants and the audience.”
Scholars will debate the meaning of the amendment, including the intent of its framers.
“Exactly what is forbidden by the abolition of slavery and involuntary servitude is far from settled, as a recent confirmation hearing indicates, where abortion and the 13th Amendment came to the fore,” she said.
The implications for the contemporary civil rights movement are considerable, said co-organizer Tsesis.
comments powered by Disqus
- Snopes debunks slavery Internet meme
- Revamped Chinese History Journal Welcomes Hard-Line Writers
- Poll: 3 Out of 5 Texan Trump Supporters Want Secession if Hillary Clinton Is Elected
- The Psychiatric Question: Is It Fair to Analyze Donald Trump From Afar?
- Minorities still feel Eugene, Oregon’s historical link to the Ku Klux Klan
- Ernst Nolte, Historian Whose Views on Hitler Caused an Uproar, Dies at 93
- Japan should give formal apology for wartime aggression, says historian
- Kevin Baker says America needs to bring back political machines
- Covell Meyskens uses his blog to show what life was like under Mao. (Interview)