Campus News

Dillard to host two-day symposium focused on slavery’s lasting effect on American cultural expression

Brunache will begin the Rising from the Depths of Slavery symposium with “Sacred Resistance: Finding Black Joy through the Culinary Aesthetics of an Enslaved Past”

October 6, 2022
Contact: Eddie Francis, efrancis@dillard.edu 

NEW ORLEANS—The Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture will be holding the two-day Rising from the Depths of Slavery: Legacies of Cultural Expression symposium October 28-29, 2022 beginning on the campus at 2601 Gentilly Blvd. in the Georges Auditorium. Other activities will take place off-campus. The keynote speakers will be Dr. Peggy Brunache in conversation with Dr. Ibrahima Seck.

“We know that New Orleans has a unique story to tell,” said Zella Palmer, director of the Ray Charles Program. “A big part of that is the city becoming a national and global hub of food, music and tourism. This conference will create much-needed awareness of how those elements and legacies of slavery helped shape the cultural expression that birthed American culture, as we know it.”

The symposium will bring together local and national scholars from a variety of disciplines to put into perspective the vital role that cultural creativity plays in understanding history and society. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Legacies of American Slavery grant defines cultural creativity as the cultural expression, in all its forms, as a way to understand and cope with slavery and its aftermath, including artistic legacies in theater, art, dance, music, poetry and fiction throughout popular culture, folklore and folkways. 

Brunache will begin the conference with “Sacred Resistance: Finding Black Joy through the Culinary Aesthetics of an Enslaved Past.” Three panel discussions will focus on food, tourism and music. Additional activities for registered attendees include a dinner with Dakar Nola (Chef Serigne Mbaye), a DJ lecture/performance with Amsterdam based DJ Lynnée Denise, a cooking demonstration at the Hermann-Grima House in the French Quarter, walking tour with Know Nola Tours and dinner at Dooky Chase Restaurant.

The regional collaboration is supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation with supplemental funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

About Dr. Peggy Brunache

Dr Peggy Brunache is a lecturer in the history of Atlantic slavery at the University of Glasgow and the first director of the newly established Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies. Born in Miami to Haitian parents, she trained and worked as an historical archaeologist with a focus on slave plantation studies, the African diaspora and the transatlantic slave trade, working on archaeological projects in Benin, West Africa, Guadeloupe and various sites in the United States and Caribbean. She developed a free ongoing four-week online course on British Slavery in the Caribbean with Futurelearn.com. Food is also central to Brunache’s life and work. She acts as culinary consultant for Perth’s (Scotland) Southern Fried Music Festival and has worked with multiple music, science and food festivals across the United Kingdom, providing cooking demonstrations and historical dining events for a broad audience. Her media appearances in the U.S., U.K. and Europe include the Food Network, Discovery Channel, BBC Television, U.K.’s Channel Four and Germany’s Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), and she is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Scotland’s programmes.   

About Dr. Ibrahima Seck

Dr. Ibrahima Seck is a member of the History department of University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD), Senegal. His research is mostly devoted to the historical and cultural links between West Africa and Louisiana with a special interest for religious beliefs, music, foodways and miscellaneous aspects of culture. Seck now holds the position of director of research of the Whitney Plantation Slavery Museum located in St. John the Baptist Parish. He is the author of a book on this historic site entitled “Bouki fait Gombo: A History of the Slave Community of Habitation Haydel (Whitney Plantation) Louisiana, 1750-1860. [New Orleans: UNO Press, 2014].

About Dillard University
Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Ranked 5th on 2021 The New York Times Overall Mobility Index and 14th in 2022 by Academic Influence for Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship, Dillard’s call to future leaders is to Write Your Legacy. Find out more about Louisiana’s oldest HBCU by visiting www.dillard.edu.