Annual ACMRS Conference: Unfreedom (2020)

February 7-8, 2020

Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Unfreedom marked the lives of various people in the premodern world. Many factors played a role in shaping the forms of unfreedom prevalent in the premodern era: violence and coercion; shame and dishonor; disconnection of kin groups and destruction of social networks; and individual and collective strategies for economic, political, and social success that depended on the subjection of others.

This year’s conference will focus on those whose status was defined primarily in terms of unfreedom, coercion, and constraint rather than the enjoyment of freedoms or privileges, including but not limited to slaves, serfs, captives, prisoners, pledges, hostages, and forced marriage or concubinage.

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Plenary speakers

Omar H. Ali 

Dean and Professor at Lloyd International Honors College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Omar H. Ali is Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History and Dean of Lloyd International Honors College at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A world historian with a focus on the global African Diaspora from the early modern period to the present, he is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. In 2016 he was named the Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year. He is the author of four books, his latest being Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery Across the Indian Ocean (Oxford University Press). 

Jennifer L. Morgan

Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis & History, New York University

Jennifer L. Morgan is Professor of History in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair. She is the author of Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and the co-editor of Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America (University of Illinois Press, 2016). Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in the Black Atlantic world. 


Pre-conference manuscript workshop with Timothy Graham

February 6th, 2020

A workshop on manuscript studies led by Professor Timothy Graham, Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of New Mexico. Participation is limited to the first 25 individuals who register. The cost of the workshop is $50 for Regular Registration and $25 for Student Registration, and is in addition to the regular conference registration fee.


Organ performance with Kimberly Marshall

February 7th, 2020 | 7:00 PM 

Arizona State University Organ Hall

Included in your conference registration

Farewell reception at the Desert Botanical Garden

February 8th, 2020
Included in your conference registration

Join us during the final evening of the conference for a farewell reception at the Desert Botanical Garden. Conference attendees will have free access to the garden all day February 8th, 2020. 

Call for papers

Submit your proposal between August 16th, 2019 and November 30th, 2019. 

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Venue and lodging

The 2020 ACMRS Annual Conference will be hosted on the Arizona State University Tempe Campus, with lodging facilities at The Graduate Hotel. 

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All of the spaces in which our professional meetings extend are expected to remain professional, and the values of respect, equity, and nondiscrimination are of paramount importance. We ask that attendees conduct themselves in the conference rooms, over coffee, or over drinks in a professional manner. All attendees should aspire to treat each other as having an equally valuable contribution to make.