Pocahontas and after: historical culture and transatlantic encounters, 1617-2017
The British Library and the Institute of Historical Research, London March 16-18, 2017
A major international conference to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’ death. Cohosted by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library and the Institute of Historical Research. Additional support has been provided by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and The University of Warwick. In 2017 the Anglo-American world will mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas. Numerous commemorative activities, from walking tours to talking monuments, have been planned on both sides of the Atlantic. Intense, closely focused interest in her life is, of course, not a new phenomenon. Her story has been romanticised at many points over the centuries, and multiple representations of Pocahontas (as Noble Savage, Mother of a Nation, propaganda icon, seductive temptress) have materialised in historical accounts, in literature, and in visual, material, and performance art. From a range of historical and literary perspectives, and for a variety of social and political purposes, Pocahontas has left an enduring legacy among Indigenous, local, national, and international communities.
Using Pocahontas’ visit to England and her death and burial in Kent as an entry point, this conference will explore the continued interest in Pocahontas as a subject of study. It will explore the academic challenges posed by the multiple versions and the contemporary appropriations of this Powhatan/Pamunkey woman variously known as Amonute, Matoaka, Pocahontas, and Rebecca. In exploring the life and afterlives of Pocahontas, it aims to open new interdisciplinary discussions.
Confirmed speakers: Professor Mishuana Goeman (UCLA)
Professor Karen Kupperman (NYU)
Professor Camilla Townsend (Rutgers)
Dr Karenne Wood (Virginia Indian Heritage Programme)
Additionally, the Satuday 18th will host a range of cultural activities, including:
– A special session: ‘Historic Jamestown and new perspectives on Pocahontas’ with Jim Horn and Bill Kelso.
– A panel debate on the iconography of Pocahontas and its relationship to contemporary indigenous women’s political and social issues.
Confirmed speakers: Joanne Prince of Rainmaker Gallery, Bristol; Shelley Niro, Mohawk film-maker and artist; Dr Max Carocci, Chelsea College of Art, MA Museums and Curating; Dr David Stirrup, Reader in Indigenous and Settler Literatures of the Americas at the University of Kent; and Dr Buck Woodard, Colonial Williamsburg, American Indian Initiative.
– Screening of Reel Injun and Indigenous London with director Q&A’s – A musical performance by singer-songwriter ElizaBeth Hill