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Multi-Session Workshop: "Slaving Paths: Rebuilding and Rethinking the Atlantic Worlds"

Ana Lucia Araujo (organizer) Department of History, Howard University American Historical Association Meeting San Diego, CA January 7-10, 2010

The Atlantic world, conceived with the European expansion in the Americas and Africa, is a zone marked by a common morphology but also by great diversity (Baylin 2005).  The latest version of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (, give us to have a general idea of the volume and the different forms taken by the slave trade in the North Atlantic and in the South Atlantic (Alencastro 2000, Alencastro 2006). If in the North Atlantic, the voyages very often followed a triangular itinerary, in the South Atlantic they did not always obey the traditional triangular model : in different periods, slave merchants traveled between Brazil and the West and Central African coasts without the intervention of the Portuguese metropole.

While the idea of North Atlantic world relies mostly on European migrations (Baylin 2005), the notion of black Atlantic as “the stereophonic, bilingual, or bifocal cultural forms originated by, but no longer the exclusive property of blacks, dispersed within the structures of feeling, producing, communicating, and remembering” (Gilroy 1993: 3) was built by having as reference the Anglo-Saxon world, sometimes ignoring the diversity and the inequalities characterizing this large geographical and conceptual and zone.

Recent works tried to fill out the gaps of Gilroy’s formulation, by giving attention to the distinct position of Latin America in the Black Atlantic (Sansone 2003). However, the study of Black Atlantic cultures requires not only to develop comparison between the North America and the South America, but also to examine the exchanges involving both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, where Africa plays a crucial role, as African identities are also reconstructed through a dialogue with the diaspora (Matory 2005).

This multi-session workshop aims at discussing the Atlantic World as a multidimensional zone (North, South, Black, British, French and Portuguese). Papers will focus on how slavery and the slave trade have shaped the Atlantic Worlds by promoting the circulation of goods, objects, artefacts, ideas, ideologies, images, customs, religions and beliefs. In addition, the papers will provide elements to discuss the experience and the encounters of individuals, groups and communities who lived in/or moved between these different Atlantic spaces.

Works cited:

Alencastro, Luiz Felipe de, 2000, O trato dos viventes: formação do Brasil no Atlântico Sul, séculos XVI e XVII. São Paulo, Companhia das Letras.
Alencastro, Luiz Felipe de, 2006, “Le versant brésilien de l’Atlantique-Sud: 1550-1850”. Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 61 (2) mars-avril, p. 339-382.
Baylin, Bernard, 2005, Atlantic History: Concept and Contours. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
Gilroy, Paul, 1993, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Conscioussness. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
Sansone, Livio, 2003, Blackness without Ethnicity: Constructing Race in Brazil. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.




Paper proposals must contain:

- Paper title
- Abstract (up to 300 words)
- Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words)
- Correct mailing and e-mail address
- Audiovisual needs, if any

Colleagues willing to be chairs and commentators, please send:

- Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words)
- Correct mailing and e-mail address

When writing your brief proposal, be aware that if  the panels are accepted the abstracts will be posted on the program website.

To improve the quality of the discussion, most of the panels in this workshop will include precirculated papers. If your paper and panel are accepted, you will probably be invited to submit your paper in December 1st 2009, in order to allow AHA Program Committee to post your paper on the conference website.

For more info please contact:
Ana Lucia Araujo

African Studies Center