On 24 February, 2012, Prof Dr William L. Chew III presented a paper entitled “Rich Refugees: Antwerp Aristocrats in America, 1794-1803,” at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The conference was hosted by Louisiana State University.
In his paper, Chew examined the correspondence of the Stier and Van Havre families during 1794-1803, when they had fled the French occupation of Belgium (then the Austrian Netherlands) to the United States. Applying the concepts and theory of imagology, Chew explored the navigation of key identity issues confronted by this exceptionally cultured and cosmopolitan family during their stay. This also included their construction of an American stereotype, their vision of American politics – as determined by their own liberal European background – and their confrontation with slavery in the plantation South. His paper, finally, included comparative elements with French émigré discourse. His paper was very well-received.