International Scientific Colloquium

Slavery: what is its impact on the psychology of populations ?

Martinique, October 26th ,27th

and Guadeloupe, October 28th



This symposium is first and foremost a scientific one, the objective is to cross match, for the first time, knowledge on psychological consequences and effects of slavery, in the light of the latest historical, epigenetic, and psycho-traumatic data collected. The objective, if achieved, is in itself a significant step forward, and represents the main perspective. Most importantly, we do not want to keep to ourselves, as we usually do during scientific symposiums, but rather reach out to social classes not familiar with this. We established partnerships with the media and with committed well-known artists in order to pool media broadcasting of their performances as well as of the symposium.

A book of this symposium will be edited and published in French and in English. This symposium will serve as a basis for prospective targeted research, conducted in the various countries involved, outcomes of which can later be used as comparative references for further studies.

 Another beckoning prospect for this symposium is that the emerging knowledge will shed some light on issues already mentioned by the General Secretary of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, on 21st March 2004, during the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “We must reverse the lasting consequences of slavery and the slave trade. The historical injustices of slavery and the slave trade have contributed to the poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion, economic disparities, instability and insecurity that affect many people in different parts of the world, in particular in developing countries.”

Indeed, this symposium aims at gaining insight into the psychological consequences of slavery, and this insight will prove to be useful to the many economic, sociological, demographic based analyses of the causes of poverty, of this under-development, of Black people’s negative portrayal worldwide, of the ratio of incarcerated Black people in the US, of the discrepancy in Brazil, where 45% of the population is Black but not a Black person is a millionaire or is part of the political elite, and of many other similar paradoxes across the world.  This symposium can therefore provide some compelling arguments, essential to the understanding of this odd situation in which we find ourselves, either inherited directly from slavery or passed down through racism rooted in slavery.

Despite the fact the struggle against racism has become fiercer in the last decades, mostly with and around the notion of human rights, the psychological components at the core of racism’s operational mechanisms have been overlooked, and barely mentioned; the very historical roots of rationalized racial inferiority have been ignored. Fanon, Memmi, Guillaumin… psychological analyses did not go further into the role of slavery and its psycho traumatic consequences.

The objective of the symposium is now to present a new approach to better understand behavioural patterns, and to better grasp the ins and outs of this worldwide discrepancy, that prevails in the US, Europe, Trinidad, Brazil, between the legal provisions against racism and their actual implementation and results, and, maybe, even with a curbing impact. To do so, cross-field researches will be conducted, as a follow up of this symposium, in order to ensure scientific monitoring of slavery’s psychological consequences and effects.

FIRST CARAIBES volunteers work together with their partners, to prepare for this International Scientific Symposium, and their support is crucial. We take this opportunity to warmly thank them for it.