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“Representing Enslavement” is a short conference designed to bring together experts and practitioners in the public history of enslavement in Louisiana. Too often the deep history of enslavement in this region is twisted or erased in service of comfort and tourist dollars. The conference seeks to foreground the perspective of artists, museum professionals, academic historians, public historians, and organizers to make this history present in Lafayette and broader Acadiana. We hope to push for lasting changes in the way Louisianan’s represent the history of enslavement in the region and across the state.

The conference is hosted by the Department of History, Geography, and Philosophy at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette along with the Guilbeau Center for Public History. The Department of History, Geography and Philosophy is based on interdisciplinary and innovative courses in the Liberal Arts. The faculty of the Department of History, Geography and Philosophy is one of the most dynamic and engaging on campus. The Department offers a graduate program in history and one of the largest public history programs in the region. In addition to our active role on campus, the Department also offers community programming and resources for the Southwest Louisiana region.

The Department is focused on the study and analysis of human actions and ideas. Department faculty members are among the best in their field, and they work closely with our students to develop and enhance their ability to think critically, write effectively, speak persuasively, and construct compelling arguments—skills that are necessary for a successful career in any field. The Department has designed a traveling history museum called Museum on the Move, conducted regular public community history collection events known as History Harvests, taken students on field trips with our GeoTours excursions, and is finding ways to tell the region’s cultures’ stories through public history mobile applications.

Department initiatives are supported by the Jamie and Thelma Guilbeau Charitable Trust. The Guilbeau Charitable Trust is named in memory of a graduate of our MA program, Jamie Guilbeau, and his mother, Thelma Guilbeau, who left a generous endowment to UL History Department with the expressed purpose of providing unique community engagement and learning opportunities in History for the University and the community.