Cornell University: American slavery focus of Becker Series in History

This year’s Carl Becker Lecture Series will focus on the relationship between producers and consumers in the United States during the 1800s. Seth Rockman, associate professor of history at Brown University, will focus on “Plantation Goods and the Material History of American Slavery” in three talks, on March 14, 15, and 16 at 5 p.m. each day in the Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall on the Cornell campus.

The talks are free and open to the public. Members of the public are asked to email the to pre-register with name, phone number, and address. Adherence to university public health guidelines is required. Visit for the latest information.

The lecture series will link the economic relationship between the northern and southern United States, following ‘plantation goods’ – shoes, shovels, hats, hoes, and textiles– from where they are manufactured in the American North to the sites where enslaved people used them throughout the American South, said Rockman. The three lectures are entitled: “Plantation Entrepreneurs and their Captive Consumers,” on March 14; “Mobilizing the New England Countryside for Plantation Labor,” on March 15; and “Affordances and the Material Politics of Enslavement,” on March 16.

“Seth Rockman is passionate about investigating the connections between slavery and the material goods used to keep the plantation working,” said Edward Baptist, professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences and the organizer of this year’s Carl Becker Series. “We are looking forward to learning more about the deep history he is researching: we are glad he will share his knowledge with the Cornell community.”

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