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Workshop – Professor Clive Webb (University of Sussex)

Voices Unheard. Intersections of Race in Transnational and Postcolonial Research

Date: 8 November 2018
Time: 9:00-18:00
Venue: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Medical Faculty Building, MF-A311
Open to: scholars, PhD students, (R)MA students
Credits: 1 ECTS (available upon request)
Coordination: Dr Dienke Hondius (VU Amsterdam), Lonneke Geerlings (VU Amsterdam)
Maximum participants in this event: 15 (Huizinga members will have first access)
Registration (before 10 October 2018)

This workshop focuses on hidden and forgotten stories at historical crossroads, with a special focus on the African diaspora and discourses on race. Intersections of historical narratives have become increasingly important for historians. We saw this – just to name a few – in research on W.E.B. Du Bois who examined the impact of the Holocaust in Warsaw (Michael Rothberg 2001); on African students in Soviet Russia (Maxim Matusevich 2012); or in the popular novel and movie on the role of Black women in the American space race (Margot Lee Shetterly 2016). The combining of historical narratives often reveal the impact of discourses of race, both on a global scale as well on an individual level.

During this 1-day workshop, researchers are encouraged to look for marginalized or unheard voices in their own materials and to examine their own blind spots. Professor Clive Webb (University of Sussex) will comment on presentations and will also give a guest lecture on how the Holocaust helped shape the American Civil Rights Movement. This workshop may be of interest to PhD students and (research) MA students working on (early) modern history, (post)colonial history, memory studies, comparative and transnational history, and researchers working on gender, race and class.

The masterclass is followed by a VU Graduate School guest lecture of Clive Webb on ‘The Holocaust and The African-American Freedom Struggle’ and is co-organized by the VU Graduate School of Humanities and VU’s CLUE+ Research Institute for Culture, History and Heritage.


Clive Webb is Professor of Modern American History at the University of Sussex in Brighton (United Kingdom). He is specialized in the history of race and ethnicity in Britain and the United States. His first book, Fight Against Fear, focused on the reaction of the small Jewish minority in the American South to the black civil rights struggle. A second book, Rabble Rousers, looked at white extremists who used violence to resist civil rights reform. Most recently, he co-wrote with William Carrigan of Rowan University in New Jersey Forgotten Dead, a book that assesses mob violence against Mexicans in the United States. His current research focuses on the historical relationship between Britain and the United States including such issues as race, politics and culture. For more details see


  • 9:00
  • 9:15
    Screening documentary (TBA)
  • 11:00
    Creative writing exercises
  • 12:00
    Lunch break (at own expense / bring-your-own)
  • 13:00
    Presentations by contributors, followed by discussion and feedback from Clive Webb
  • 14:30
    Short break
  • 14:45
    Presentations + discussion (part 2)
  • 16:15
    Coffee & tea break
  • 16:30
    VU Graduate School Guest lecture with Clive Webb: ‘The Holocaust and The African-American Freedom Struggle’
  • 17:30


All participants are asked to write an essay (max. 2 pages) on their own research, connecting their research with the proposed readings. In addition, they should also prepare a short presentation. Non-participants should read the supporting texts in advance and prepare comments or questions arising from the readings. Participants who want to receive 1 ECTS are expected to complete the following assignments. Please send the essay and PowerPoint presentation to the organizers one week before the workshop.

1: Writing exercise (all participants)

Please bring pen and paper (preferably) – or a laptop. Through creative writing exercises all participants and attendants will practice their writing skills. This is a perfect exercise if you need to overcome your writer’s block.

2: Essay (only for participants wanting to receive credits)

Describe in an essay of approximately two pages how you use, or could use, intersections in history to reveal hidden, forgotten or marginalized histories. What voices remain unheard in the historical sources that you use for your project? Would a comparative, transnational or postcolonial approach be a valuable addition to your research?

3: PowerPoint presentation (only for participants wanting to receive credits)

Prepare a PowerPoint presentation (4 to 5 minutes) about your essay. This will be followed by 5 minutes for comments and discussion. These presentations are a showcase of your research: there is ample time to discuss your research further during the breaks and drinks afterwards.


Please read the following articles/chapters (these will be shared with you after signing up):

  • Clive Webb, Fight Against Fear. Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights. University of Georgia Press, 2001. Chapter 4, pages 69-87.
  • Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. Stanford University Press, 2009. Introduction, pages 1-29.

Credits and certificate

Interested students and researchers can participate in two ways: as an active auditor or as a contributor. Contributors are expected to submit a short paper (max 2 pages, may be sent to one week before the workshop) and give a presentation, which are both required for earning 1 ECTS. These papers, together with the proposed literature from the speakers, will be distributed to all participants in advance, and will be a starting point for the discussion.

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to and include the postal address you want the certificate to be sent to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS; you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.