19 October 2022


Inter-island Connections in the Lesser Antilles: Family, Friends, and Institutions across the Sea

February 23 – 25, 2023, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.

Organized by the Caribbean Genealogy Library in collaboration with In the Same Sea, University of Copenhagen.

What is the meaning of family and friendship in the Lesser Antilles? In this conference, we gather Caribbean genealogists and historians of the Lesser Antilles to ask how the archipelagic setting of the Lesser Antilles shaped island existence in the past and how it influences families, friends and institutions today. For centuries, islanders living on small islands, in close proximity and with a limited resource base, have turned towards their neighbors across the sea. They have crossed formal and informal borders to carve out places for themselves and their loved ones. It is this dynamic of inter-island movement that we wish to explore at the conference. We ask what conventional historical and archeological evidence tells us about inter-island movements and how family histories and genealogical research can enrich, complicate, and qualify the historical record.

For these reasons, we invite calls from historians, archaeologists, genealogists, public historians, and university students each with their knowledge, training and personal histories, to speak about inter-island experiences in the Lesser Antilles.  The historical time periods for papers can include colonial and modern times.

Some of the relevant themes we hope to explore include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reasons for travelling to nearby islands
  • Family on other islands
  • Enslaved escape and maritime marronage
  • Seeking work across the sea
  • Religious communities and inter-island faith
  • Family conflicts and island movement
  • Shoreline memories: fishing together, relaxing together
  • Crisis and inter-island movement
  • Identity and island belonging
  • Female friendships
  • Sports development, travel for sports
  • Educational networks
  • Conducting research across the Lesser Antilles: methods and resources
  • Future of Research in Lesser Antilles/What’s New in the Field/Challenges

While papers and panels on these themes are preferred, applicants are welcome to submit proposals on other related subjects for consideration. We especially encourage genealogical researchers to submit in the hope that their research can enrich, complicate, and qualify the historical record. Presentations can have a number of formats including:

  • 20 minutes papers
  • 5-10 minutes presentations
  • Short videos of oral history interviews
  • Poster presentations

Presentations will be followed by Q&A.

Abstract submissions should be sent to Hannah Hjorth (hhjorth@hum.ku.dk) by November 25, 2022.

The submission should include:

  • A short description of the topic of presentation (c. 150-250 words), including the anticipated sources.
  • Indicate the format of the presentation (papers, panel, short film, etc.)
  • A brief bio of the person presenting (c. 100 words). Please include the languages you know and your proficiency.
  • Abstracts and presentations must be in English.
  • Format: Microsoft Word document

Any questions can be sent to Hannah Hjorth (hhjorth@hum.ku.dk). The conference will be an in person event, with the possibility of a hybrid format. Changes to the virtual format will be announced as needed. Unfortunately, we will be unable to accept all submissions. Individuals who are accepted will be notified by e-mail.

 We look forward to your submissions.