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Abstracts and Bios

Spring 2008 Lectures


01/10 – “Claudia Jones: A 20th Century Atlantic Activist,” Carole Boyce Davies, Professor of English and African New World Studies, Florida International University


Claudia Jones, the only black woman among communists tried in the United States and sentenced for crimes against the state, incarcerated and then deported, not only lived her life as a transatlantic, transnational black feminist subject, but also articulated these positions conceptually in her practice as in her ideas.  For her the transnational was a fundamental feature of understanding the local. Claudia Jones lived and organized at the intersection of a variety of positionalities (anti-imperialism and decolonization struggles, activism for workers’ rights, the critique of appropriation of black women’s labor; the challenge to domestic and international racisms and their links to colonialism) and therefore was able to articulate them in ways which preceded many of her contemporaries.  In this regard, her ideas, as my book Left of Karl Marx argues, have significant implications for contemporary articulations of transnational African diaspora politics.


Carole Boyce Davies is Professor of English and African-New World Studies at Florida International University.  She has degrees from the University of Maryland (BA, 1972); Howard University (M.A., 1974) and (University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Ph.d., 1978).   She was made a full Professor of English and Africana Studies at SUNY-Binghamton in 1994 and has held distinguished professorships at a number of institutions, including the Herskovits Professor of African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University.  She is author of Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (Routledge, 1994) and Left of Karl Marx.  Claudia Jones, Black/Communist/Woman (Duke University Press,  forthcoming, 2007).  In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Dr. Boyce Davies has also published the following critical editions: Ngambika. Studies of Women in African Literature (Africa World Press, 1986); Out of the Kumbla. Caribbean Women and Literature (Africa World Press, 1990); and a two-volume collection of critical and creative writing entitled Moving Beyond Boundaries (New York University Press, 1995): International Dimensions of Black Women's Writing (volume 1), and Black Women's Diasporas (volume 2). She is co-editor with Ali Mazrui and Isidore Okpewho of The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities (Indiana University Press, 1999) and Decolonizing the Academy.  African Diaspora Studies (Africa World Press, 2003).   She is general editor of  The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Oxford:  ABC-CLIO, forthcoming, 2007) a 2-volume encyclopedia.  Currently, Dr. Boyce Davies is writing a series of personal reflections called Caribbean Spaces. Between the Twilight Zone and the Underground Railroad, dealing with the issue of transnational Caribbean/American black identity, and is preparing an edition of the writings of Claudia Jones, Beyond Containment: Claudia Jones, Activism, Clarity and Vision.


01/17 – “Rice Landscapes of the Atlantic World: African Food Crops in the Americas” Judith Carney, Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles


The revolutionary plant and ecological exchanges that accompanied European maritime expansion after 1492 is now widely appreciated. So, too, is the significance of plants new to Europeans for changing food preferences, cuisines, economies, and commerce over a much broader area of the world.  The role of Amerindian maize and manioc in West Africa has received considerable attention in the literature on the Columbian Exchange. However, less is written about the contribution of African plants to food systems of the Americas. By focusing on African rice, the discussion draws attention to the role of the continent's food crops, and the enslaved for pioneering their establishment as subsistence staples in the Americas.


Judith Carney works on environmental and agricultural issues in West Africa and Latin America. The author of more than sixty journal articles and a monograph, her book Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (Harvard University Press, 2001) won the African Studies Association’s Melville Herskovits Prize (2002) and the James D. Blaut award of the Association of American Geographers (2003). She received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 2005 for her research on the historical botany of the Black Atlantic.


01/24 – “Bunce Island: Slave Castle on the Rice Coast”

Joseph A. Opala, Professor of History, James Madison University


Joseph Opala received the B.A. from the University of Arizona and the M.A. from the University of Oklahoma. He is an Adjunct Professor of History and teaches GHUM courses and the Honors Seminar. His research interests are in African and African American History. Mr. Opala lived in West Africa for two decades, teaching African studies at the University of Sierra Leone and researching the Atlantic slave trade, creole languages, and various topics in West African history and traditional culture. He has published two documentary films: "Family Across the Sea" (1991) and "The Language You Cry in" (1998).


01/31 – “Transatlantic Islam: Carlyle, Emerson, Irving,” Wai Chee Dimock, William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies, Yale University

"Transatlantic Islam: Carlyle, Emerson, Irving" discusses the interlocking relation between Christianity and Islam in the Atlantic world.

Wai Chee Dimock is William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University.  Her most recent publications are Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (2006) and a co-edited volume, Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (2007).  She is now at work on a book on genre, A Map of Kin and Kind: Epic, Lyric, Novel.


02/07 – “Liberia and the United States: The Cold War Years” – Elwood Dunn, Professor of Political Science, University of the South


The study offers a perspective on security and economic assistance as instruments both of major power foreign policy as well as small power opportunity for regime preservation and economic modernization. It argues that while the two countries shared common development and security interests their objectives and goals were dissimilar. This is why the end of the cold war left Liberia in a lurch as the U.S. significantly scaled back its engagement, returning only in the wake of 9/11 and its cold war echoes. The burdens and blessings of such a relationship are explored and implications drawn beyond this case.


Elwood Dunn, Professor of Political Science, received his Ph.D. in international studies at American University (1972) and taught at Seton Hall and Fordham Universities before returning to his native Liberia for governmental service. In Liberia Dunn spent a decade combining academic work with governmental service, most recently as Professor of Political Science at the University of Liberia and as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. He came to Sewanee in 1981. Educated in Liberia, France and the United States, Dunn specializes in comparative and world politics with an emphasis on Africa. Editor of the Liberian Studies Journal from 1985-95, during his time at Sewanee Dunn has written and published widely in both book and article form on Liberian foreign and domestic policy, including "Ethnic and Religious Conflicts," in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CONFLICTS SINCE W.W.II (1999), "The Civil War in Liberia: Roots and Perspectives for Resolution," in CIVIL WARS IN AFRICA, ed. B. Matthews and T. Ali (1999), and a history of the Episcopal Church in Liberia (1992).


02/21 – “The Columbian Exchange: Repercussions of the Transatlantic Relocation of Diseases, Crops, Animals, Humans, and Economic Systems,” Vanessa Slinger-Friedman, Assistant Professor of Geography, Kennesaw State University


This talk will explore the transatlantic exchange of people, diseases, crops, animals, institutions, ideas, and culture between the old world and new world that started with colonization and continues with globalization.  As an overall result of this talk, the audience will realize that the food that they view as “typically American” actually has diverse origins and that our “daily bread” has been impacted greatly by the transatlantic diffusion of the many crops and animals. Further, the audience will see that the transatlantic movement of crops and animals have had and continues to have a major influence on agriculture and economic systems in countries on both sides of the Atlantic.  Information on the population composition of the New World will be used to address many geographical and sociological topics central to the transatlantic migration: colonization, slavery, indentured labor, indigenous groups, miscegenation, and cultural imperialism.


Dr. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman is originally from Trinidad, she obtained her M.A. in Latin American Studies and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Florida. All of her work to date has been focused on natural resource management and ecotourism in developing countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. She completed a World Bank sponsored study in Mexico and El Salvador of Vetiver grass technology for soil erosion control. She analyzed the use of an agroforestry system for Amazonian urban resettlement in Acre, Brazil. Most recently, Dr. Slinger has researched the use of ecotourism on Dominica, W.I., for economic development and nature preservation.


02/28 – "Food, Identity, and Culture of the Atlantic," Donna R. Gabaccia, Director, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota


Although usually confined in scholarship to the years between 1500 and 1800, the Atlantic world persists into the twentieth century.  This talk will take a long-term, world historian's perspective on the Atlantic as a world of culinary exchange. Peppers and tomatoes traveled through largely Spanish and Portuguese circuits from Mexico to the Mediterranean but ultimately the world came to think of tomato-laced dishes as Italian, not Mexican or Spanish. Why was this so? The long-term impact of the foods of the Americas on Italy's regional cuisines is more than a story of the Columbian Exchange of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is also a story of international migration as Italy's workers and peasants carried their tastes around the Atlantic in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The re-Americanization of the tomato, in particular, links the making of national cuisines and stereotypes to our own world. In the so-called American (20th) century, the agri-businesses and food factories of the U.S. and Argentina began to provide Italy's uprooted eaters with American-produced versions of the foods they preferred.  Little wonder, then that in our own times people in Asia now think of pizza not as an Italian but rather as an American food. Despite a long history of Atlantic exchanges, the world continues to insist on labeling foods and ingredients as national.

Donna R. Gabaccia is the director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.  She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1979, and specializes in US immigration history, comparative world migrations, Italian Diaspora, women and gender, and food and society.  She has three publications: Immigrant Lives in the US: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives. Leach, C., Routledge, 2004. American Dreams, Transnational Lives. Ruiz, V., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Forthcoming, and A Longer Atlantic in a Wider World. , 2004.  She’s currently researching and compiling an International Migration Review, a Dictionary of Translation History, and the myths and histories associated with immigration in the US.

03/13 - "'I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free':  The Story of Mary Prince, an Atlantic

World Slave," Eva M. Thompson, Associate Professor of English, KSU


Salt, writes Bermudan historian W. S. Zuill, “was a precious commodity before the days of refrigeration when it was the principal ingredient in the preserving process for fish and meat.”  Circa 1805 Mary Prince left Bermuda with a new master headed for Turks Island, where she worked in the salt industry until about 1816.  Using photographs, historical records of the period and contemporary scholarship, Eva Thompson will argue a “kind of truth” about Mary Prince’s childbearing years in Turks Island. 


Dr. Eva Thompson’s area of expertise is African American and African Diaspora Literatures. Her research interests focus on black men and women born into slavery in the Americas, whose lives were rendered historically unexceptional.  And, thus, one interest is the intellectual history of enslaved persons in the Americas.  Another is what Morrison refers to as “the site of memory,” which is to say geographical spaces for remembering New World slavery, and she has traveled nearly throughout the Anglophone Americas in search of these sites.  Presently, she is working on a creative non-fiction project, which takes as its subject Mary Prince, an ordinary woman born into slavery in a British slaveholding colony, who did a most remarkable thing: She released herself from enslavement in London simply by walking away and then dedicated her lived experience to the British Anti-Slavery Society.


03/18   The Honorable Ian F. Hancock is the Representative to the UN (ECO-SOC/NGO Category II) and to UNICEF for the Romani people, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to represent Roma on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in 1997. In 1997 he was awarded the prestigious Rafto Foundation Prize for Human Rights (Norway) and was recipient of the Gamaliel Chair in Peace and Justice for 1998. He publishes and lectures widely on Romani civil and human rights, and on the fate of the Romani victims of the Holocaust. He is also involved in Creole Studies and helps organize a biannual Creole workshop in Miami. His publications include "We Are the Romani People," "A Handbook of Vlax Romani," "The Pariah Syndrome: An Account of Gypsy Slavery and Persecution," and "International English Usage. " He is currently writing three new books: one on the construction of identity, one on the linguistic and historical origins of the Romani people and one a grammar of the Maskogo Creole language spoken in south Texas.


03/20 – “Human Rights and Social Justice: The Atlantic World Yesterday and Today,” Panel lecture in honor of Walter Rodney featuring Jesus “Chucho” Garcia, founder of the Afro-Venezuelan Network, and Francisco José Fontecilla Rodríguez, Professor of Judiciary Process, University of Granada, Spain


03/27 – “African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links,” Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Senior Research Fellow, School of Liberal Arts, Tulane University

Enslaved peoples were brought to the Americas from many places in Africa, but a large majority came from relatively few ethnic groups. Drawing on a wide range of materials in four languages as well as on her lifetime study of slave groups in the New World, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall explores the persistence of African ethnic identities among the enslaved over four hundred years of the Atlantic slave trade. Hall traces the linguistic, economic, and cultural ties shared by large numbers of enslaved Africans, showing that despite the fragmentation of the diaspora many ethnic groups retained enough cohesion to communicate and to transmit elements of their shared culture. Hall concludes that recognition of the survival and persistence of African ethnic identities can fundamentally reshape how people think about the emergence of identities among enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Americas, about the ways shared identity gave rise to resistance movements, and about the elements of common African ethnic traditions that influenced regional creole cultures throughout the Americas.

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall is known for her work on African-American slavery, particularly in Louisiana. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Tulane University and is Professor Emerita of History, Rutgers University. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Ph.D. in Latin American History, and has since published numerous books, including Africans in Colonial Louisiana: the Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Baton Rouge: L.S.U Press, 1992, paperback edition, 1995), and Social Control in Slave Plantation Societies: a Comparison of St. Domingue and Cuba (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971) to name a few.  She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work including a 2006 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship; 2004 Distinguished Service Award, Organization of American Historians; 1997 Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Ministère de la Culture de France, 1996 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow; 1993 Hope Franklin Prize awarded by the American Studies Association; 1993 Willie Lee Rose Prize of the Southern Association for Women Historians; and the 1993 Elliott Rudwick Award of the Organization of American Historians.

04/03 “Transatlantic Migrations of the Jewish Soul: Whiteness and the Race/Class Contours of Modernity,” Jesse Benjamin, Associate Professor of Sociology, Kennesaw State University


Jesse Benjamin graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 2002 with a Ph.D. in Sociology.  He is currently teaching and researching in areas regarding the Middle East, East Africa, social theory, race, and nationalism.


04/10 - “Putting an end to Slavery in today’s Global Economy,”

Kevin Bales, President, Free the Slaves


Kevin Bales is President of Free the Slaves, the US sister organization of Anti-Slavery International, and Professor of Sociology at Roehampton University London. His book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and published in ten languages. In 2006 his work was named one of the top “100 World-Changing Discoveries” by the association of British universities.  He won the Premio Viareggio for services to humanity award in 2000. The film based on his book, which he co-wrote, won a Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards. He was awarded the Laura Smith Davenport Human Rights Award in 2005; the Judith Sargeant Murray Award for Human Rights in 2004; and the Human Rights Award of the University of Alberta in 2003. He was a consultant to the UN Global Program on Human Trafficking. Bales has advised the US, British, Irish, Norwegian, and Nepali governments, as well as the ECOWAS Community, on slavery and human trafficking policy. In 2005 he published Understanding Global Slavery. His book Ending Slavery, a roadmap for the global eradication of slavery, will be published in Sept. 2007. He is currently editing a collection of modern slave narratives, and co-writing a book on slavery in the United States today with Ron Soodalter. He gained his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics.


04/17 - “The Indiennes: An Important Component of the Slave Trade from Nantes,”

June Laval, Professor of French, KSU




Fall 2007 Lectures


08/30 – “Coastal Places and Watery Spaces: Geography of the Atlantic World” Harold Trendell, Associate Professor of Geography, Kennesaw State University


Over 60 countries and dependencies border directly on the Atlantic Ocean, which covers 31,800,000 square miles (82,400,000 sq. km.) of the earth’s surface, the western world’s second great historical maritime highway after the Mediterranean Sea.  As a former Merchant Marine Officer, Dr. Trendell is delighted to take you on a vicarious geographic voyage of discovery on the Atlantic Ocean.  He will present a review of the oceanic geography and climatic factors that have impacted the historical, political and cultural dramas that unfolded, over the centuries, across this vast aquatic bridge between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.  This colorful and informative presentation will set the geographic stage for the lectures in the Year of the Atlantic World series.


Harry Trendell is a former Merchant Marine Officer who knows for a fact that the earth is round having circumnavigated the globe. He holds one degree from the New York State Maritime College and three from Georgia State University. Prior to coming to KSU, he taught for Atlanta Public Schools for 17 years. Dr. Trendell’s regional specialization is the Geography of Europe and he also teaches classes in Urban, Political, Historical and Cultural Geography. His research interests include the study of urban and political geographic factors involved in international immigration and ethnic settlement patterns.


09/06 – “Myths, Deities and the Spiritual Realm in Ifa Art,” Sandra Bird, Associate Professor of Art Education, Kennesaw State University and Jessica Taplin Stephenson, Associate Curator of African and Ancient American Art, Carlos Museum at Emory University


This presentation focuses on various artistic traditions found in the Americas as a result of the African Diaspora.  It will highlight two classroom art projects in which the postmodern art of installation is used to interpret the artistic and philosophical principles of several traditional religions that generate from the practices of Ifa, originally generated by the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria.  These evolutions in faith, largely determined by the new experiences of an uprooted people, enjoy a vast pantheon of divinities, much like the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman religions. Oshun is a divinity associated with communication, love, inspiration, and creativity. The orisha, Olokun, was considered the great protector of the Yoruba people as they were forced on  the slave ships leaving for their new world.  Olokun is a figure that can be likened to the classical Poseidon – ruler of the deep blue sea and its inhabitants, provider of wealth and prosperity, but more importantly a healer for those in physical, psychological or spiritual distress. Some deities retained the “Olokun” signifier, while others absorbed this male entity within female entities (especially Yemaya of Cuban Santeria/Lucumi tradition and Yemoja in the Brazilian Candomble tradition). Both projects demonstrate how cross-cultural connections can be effectively experienced in the classroom, while maintaining relevance to student's own lives and culture.


Sandra Bird is Associate Professor of Art Education in the Department of Visual Arts at Kennesaw State University.  Dr. Bird received her BA in theatre arts from Rollins College, an MFA in theatrical costume design from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in art education from Florida State University.  Bird’s art interests focus on cross-cultural aesthetics and criticism, with particular attention devoted to traditional religious arts.  Her first book, Wisdom at the Crossroads, is currently being edited in preparation for publication. The traditional arts of Turkey are emphasized in this study, which includes visual and theatrical arts.  Bird is also a watercolor painter, photographer and installation artist – one who is currently enamored with the arts and rituals of traditional Africa. 


Jessica Taplin Stephenson is Associate Curator of African and Ancient American Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. Dr. Stephenson received her BA Honors at the University of the Witwatersand, South Africa, and MA and PhD from Emory University. Her research focuses on the relationship between religion, identity and art among Shamanic San communities in Angola, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. She authored the catalogue essay for the first retrospective exhibition of work by contemporary San workshop artists. "Myth and Magic": Art of the !Xun and Khwe" is currently touring six museums within Southern Africa. In 2003 Dr. Stephenson curated "Spirited Vessels: The Creation and Ritual of African Ceramics" and is co-curator of the upcoming exhibition "Wounded Warriors: Art and Masculinity in Africa.


09/13 – “The Floating Dungeon: A History of the Slave Ship”  Marcus Rediker, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh                     

          This lecture explores the social history of British and American slave ships that crossed the Atlantic from 1700 until the abolition of the trade in 1807-1808, treating the slaver as a framework for human -- and inhuman -- interaction.  Special emphasis is given to the experience of the multi-ethnic enslaved Africans who found themselves thrown together on the lower deck of the slave ship.  This was a place not only of terror, suffering, and death, but also, against great obstacles, a place of cultural creativity.  Aboard the slave ship we can see the maritime origins of African-American culture.


Marcus Rediker is author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750 (Cambridge University Press, 1987), which won the Merle Curti Social History Award given by the Organization of American Historians and the John Hope Franklin Prize awarded by the American Studies Association. With Peter Linebaugh he wrote The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commmoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (Beacon Press, 2000), which won the International Labor History Book Prize. His most recent book is Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press, 2004). A new book, The Slave Ship: A Human History, will be published in October 2007 by Viking-Penguin.                                          

09/18 - “Europe’s Ascendancy through the Americas and the Consequences for Native Americans,” Alan LeBaron, Professor of History, Kennesaw State University


World historians do not agree on the essential causes behind Europe’s modernization and rise to global power.  Some historians explain the rise of Europe based on an early cultural, intellectual, or scientific superiority over the rest of the world, other historians find nothing particular or superior about Europe, at least not until after the integration of the Atlantic World into the European economy.  To this 2nd group of historians, it is the Americas, Africa, and the Atlantic World that allowed Western Europe to eventually develop global power. This presentation will evaluate these arguments as well as consider the impact on Native Americans.


Alan LeBaron is professor of Latin American history, with a specialty in Mexico, Central America, and the modern Maya.  He began working with the Maya human rights movement in 1992, by organizing a panel of Maya leaders to speak at the LASA conference in Los Angeles.  He has given workshops or lectures on Maya social and economic struggles and Maya migration at 14 national and international conferences, acted as consultant for the documentary on Maya women “Approach of Dawn” and published the essay “The Creation of the Modern Maya”.  He began the KSU program with the Maya in 1999, and has conducted three Maya conferences held on campus.  Also active in the field of World History, he has served as president of the Southeast World History Association, is current chair of the Council of Affiliates of the World History Association, and is president-elect of the Georgia Association of Historians.



09/20 – "Transatlantic Warrior: The Dutch West India Company in Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean."  Wim Klooster, Associate Professor of History, Clark University


In the late sixteenth century, Dutch ships, thus far confined to European waters, began to explore the wider world. This expansion took place in the midst of the lengthy war between the United Provinces of the Netherlands and Habsburg Spain, which lasted for eighty years. After 1621, Dutch activities afloat and ashore in the Atlantic world were coordinated by the West India Company. The Company used various forms of violence against their Iberian rivals in Africa, the Caribbean, and South America – in Brazil alone, 276 battles with enemy forces have been counted in the seventeenth century. This lecture will engage Bernard Bailyn’s recent assertion that in the New World, civility was lost and indiscriminate murder was the rule. Was this the case in the Dutch Atlantic? How different was this violence from the military encounters that took place in Europe between Dutchmen and Iberians? In other words, did Dutch transatlantic warfare have a specific character?


Professor Klooster received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Groningen in 1983 and 1987, respectively, and a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden in 1995. He has been at Clark since 2003. Dr. Klooster specializes in the history of the Atlantic world (15th-19th centuries). He teaches classes on comparative colonialism (the Americas), the age of Atlantic revolutions (1776-1824), and Caribbean history.  His selected publications include: Power and the City in the NetherlandicWorld, 1400-1700 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006), co-edited with Wayne  Brake, The Atlantic World: Essays on Slavery, Migration, and Imagination (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005), co-edited with Alfred Padula, Illicit Riches. Dutch Trade in the Caribbean, 1648-1795 (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1998), The Dutch in the Americas, 1600-1800 (Providence, RI: The John Carter Brown Library, 1997), and Geschiedenis van Albanie ["History of Albania"] (Amsterdam: De Bataafsche Leeuw, 1991).


09/27 – “The Rise and Fall of the African Slave Trade: New Perspectives for Europe, Africa and the Americas," David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History, Emory University


A newly expanded version of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database will be made available on an open access web site in 2008. It now contains details of 35,000 slaving voyages, one third more than in 1999 and much new information on other voyages that were included in the 1999 CD-ROM. This major addition of new data has made it possible to uncover new patterns in the transatlantic slave trade and present those patterns in visually compelling ways. It is now apparent that two distinct transatlantic slave trades existed, that the largest centers for organizing slave voyages were in the Americas, not in Europe, and that African resistance was a major factor in shaping the slave traffic. It is also apparent that abolition of the slave trade had a considerable influence over the composition and direction of transatlantic migration from the Old World to the New in the nineteenth century.


David Eltis received his PhD from the University of Rochester in 1979. He is author most recently of The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge, 2000), co-compiler of The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (Cambridge, 1999), co-editor with David Richardson of Extending the Frontiers: Essays on the New Transatlantic Slave Trade Database (Yale University Press, forthcoming in 2007), co-editor of Slavery in the Development of the Americas (Cambridge, 2004), with Frank Lewis and Kenneth Sokoloff, and editor of Coerced and Free Migrations: Global Perspectives (Stanford, 2002). He is also co-author of the forthcoming Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, co-editor of the Cambridge World History of Slavery, co-compiler of the web-based and expanded version of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, and author of numerous articles on slavery and migration.



10/04 – "Environmental History of the Atlantic World,” Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Prince of Asturias Professor at Tufts University and Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London.


Fernandez-Armesto’s expertise lies in Global environmental history, comparative colonial history, topics in Spanish and maritime history and the history of cartography.  His major awards to date are the Premio Nacional de Investigación (Sociedad Geográfica Española) 2003, IACP Prize 2003, Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary, U. of London 2000, John Carter Brown Medal 1999, Caird Medal 1997, and FSA 1994.  His repertoire of scholarships and research include Nineteen books of sole authorship, including most recently Pathfinders: a Global History of Exploration (2006), Amerigo: the Man who Gave His Name to America (2006), and The World: a History (2006); ten further books as editor or joint author; about forty-five major papers or chapters; editorships of various collaborative projects and journals, a general history of Spanish civilization is in progress, and a work on early-modern creoles and pidgins in the New World is in preparation for the Schouler Lectures at Johns Hopkins for 2008.


10/09--"Women Writers and the Atlantic World," Eva Thompson, Associate Professor of English and Sarah Robbins, Professor of English, KSU


What role has women’s writing played in shaping the culture of the Atlantic World? How have women’s texts embodied and examined such recurring themes as cross-cultural exchange, cultural hybridity, and the telling of histories from a range of perspectives. Sarah Robbins’s presentation will focus on Maryse Condé’s  I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem as a representative “Atlantic World” text addressing such key issues. She will also set Condé’s work in conversation with books by several other twentieth-century Caribbean American women writers.


Sarah Robbins is the author of Managing Literacy, Mothering America and of The Cambridge Introduction to Harriet Beecher Stowe. She has co-edited several collections of essays (e.g,. Writing America, Writing Our Communities) based on community studies and public outreach projects supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Writing Project. Major awards include the Constance Rourke Prize for scholarship in American Studies (from the American Studies Association), a Choice American Library Association Award (for Managing Literacy, Mothering America), the KSU Foundation prize for scholarship and the KSU Distinguished Professorship, and the Governor’s Award for leadership in the humanities from the Georgia Humanities Council. She is currently at work, with Ann Pullen, on an edition of writing by an American woman missionary teacher who served in Portuguese West Africa in the early twentieth century and on a monograph about women’s cross-cultural teaching narratives in several different cultural contexts. Professor Robbins’s research and teaching interests include women writers of the Americas, American literary history, community and place-based studies, gender in American culture, and the impact of American popular culture forms in a range of social settings.


By scholars of Afro-Caribbean literatures The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself is esteemed both as a precursor of West Indian autobiography and a defining text for the fictions of Afro-Caribbean writers.  By scholars of African American literature The History of Mary Prince is considered not only a representative text but also a precedent for female-centered first-person narratives.  Yet, there is an essential question that haunts this important work, one with which I am sure every scholar must wrestle:  What does it mean that Mary Prince did not write her own story?  To be sure, there are implications both for Mary Prince and academicians.  For Prince, the historical woman, it means that her story does not get told.  For academicians engaged in the work of reconstructing the life of this woman judged historically insignificant, it means that conjecture—reasonably intelligent conjecture, but conjecture nonetheless—inevitably becomes a tool for problem solving.  Using conjecture informed by the Bermuda Gazette and Weekly Advertiser, a 19th century newspaper published in Bermuda, and contemporary scholarship, Eva Thompson will argue a “kind of truth” about Mary Prince’s early life in Bermuda, c. 1788-1805. 


Eva Thompson was commissioned by Oxford University Press to write an article on Mary Prince, which will be published in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History.  She has presented on-going research on Mary Prince internationally, most recently in London, England.  Currently, Professor Thompson is working on a book-length project on Mary Prince, an Atlantic World Slave. 


10/11 – "The Legacy of Spain in Georgia: Historical Records and Archaeological  Traces,  Dennis Blanton, Curator of Native American Archeology, Fernbank

With an impressive archaeological background, which includes a career at the College of William and Mary as the director for the Center for Archaeological Research and an instructor for the Department of Anthropology, and most recently as the director of archaeology at Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Dennis Blanton was recently named Curator of Native American Archeology at Fernbank.  His passion for archaeology continues today and Blanton said he looks forward to telling the stories of the island’s early inhabitants through his work. Beyond being a local Georgia collection, The St. Catherines Island Foundation and Edward John Noble Foundation Collection is of major importance to the international community. There is a great significance to Native Americans and present-day Georgians, but the objects in this collection also reveal the heritage of cultures from opposite sides of the world. Blanton wants to bring the fascinating interactions among Indians, Spaniards and British to the fore, and clarify how this collection presents a new history that is contrary to many things previously believed.

10/18 –"Kongo Carolina, Kongo Georgia, Kongo New Orleans: Classical Black Atlantic Tradition," Robert Farris Thompson, Professor of the History of Art, Yale University


Robert Farris Thompson has taught at Yale since 1961, and has served as visiting curator at UCLA's Museum of Ethnic Arts (1970), at the National Gallery of Art (1974).  He has organized several major exhibitions, including The Four Moments of the Sun (1981) and The Face of the Gods: Shrines and Altars of the Black Atlantic World (1985) at the National Gallery of Art.  Prof Thompson has received research grants from the Ford Foundation (1962-1964), the Yale Concilium on International and Area Studies (1965), the National Institute of Medicine and Science (1975), the National Institute of the Museums of Zaire (1976), and the National Gallery of Art (1977, 1979, 1980).  He has served on the Joint Committee on African Studies of the Social Science Research Council and American Council of Learned Societies (1966-1973), as Chairman on the Humanities Committee of the African Studies Association (1966-1970), and in numerous capacities at Yale.


10/25 – “Problematizing the application of the term, 'African Diaspora' in Belize," Joseph Iyo, Professor of History, University of Belize


            This paper will investigate the Creole refusal to be treated as part of the African Diaspora because they regard themselves as “Natives of the Caribbean,” and that, they are “all mixed up” biologically. The paper will draw heavily on archival records as well as the work of scholars not only in history but across all disciplines to reinterpret the process by which Afri-Belizeans, and particularly their cultural and political elites, have chosen to represent themselves and their group in one rather than another category. Not only will this paper challenge the dominant view of Creole identity as derived exclusively from their Anglo-Saxon ‘fathers’, but perhaps more important, it will contribute to a re-examination of how we use the term ‘African Diaspora’ albeit, loosely without consulting those for whom we apply the term.


Aondofe Joseph-Ernest Iyo is a Senior Lecturer, Director, Multicultural Studies Center, and African and Maya History Project concurrently at the University of Belize. He has served as an Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, (January–July 2002); Director of Research (February 1999–February 2000). He is a practicing oral historian, a teacher, an author, a researcher and a consultant on development issues. He has contributed several chapters in books; attended international workshops; presented scholarly papers at international conferences in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. He has authored several monographs including: A Concise History of Economic Development in Belize 1981-2005 (2006), Discover Old Belize Sites and Places of Memory (2005), Towards Understanding Belize’s Multi-Cultural History and Identity (2000), and An Oral History of Land, Property and Real Estate Development in Belize City 1961 - 1997 (1998).


11/01 - “From African-American to Americo-Liberian: Shedding and Creating Identities in the Atlantic World in the 1800s,” William E. Allen, Assistant Professor of History, Kennesaw State University


Of all the momentous changes that took place in the Atlantic World in the wake of Columbus’s voyage of 1492, perhaps none was more frequent than the transformation of group identity.  Settlers of the Atlantic rim were constantly discarding old names, behaviors, and personalities and assuming new ones.  One cohort that shed its old identity and created a new one was the estimated 17,000 African-Americans that were repatriated to Liberia throughout the nineteenth century.  On the African side of the Atlantic Ocean, these African-Americans became Americo-Liberians.  This paper briefly examines some of the historical circumstances that led the African-American to become Americo-Liberian.  


William E. Allen is a Liberian.  He attended undergraduate school at the University of Liberia and then completed graduate studies at Indiana University in Bloomington and Florida International University in Miami.  His wife, Denise Roth Allen, is an anthropologist with the Centers for Disease Control here in Atlanta.   


11/15 – “Black Atlantic Identities and Reverse Migrations,” Nemata Blyden, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University


Among the many issues taken up by studies of the African Diaspora is the question of identity. How have Africans in Diaspora identified or constructed their identities at various times?  Using the example of two men, my talk explores themes of Diaspora, migration and identity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and explores ways in which individuals of African descent, usually men, attempted to fit into Atlantic societies in the New World and in Africa.


Nemata Blyden teaches courses on African and African Diaspora History.  She is the author of West Indians in West Africa, 1808-1880: A Diaspora in Reverse (Rochester University Press, 2000), The Search for Anna Erskine: African American Women in Nineteenth-Century Liberia in Catherine Higgs, Barbara A. Moss, Earline Rae Ferguson (eds.) Stepping Forward: Black women in Africa and the Americas (Ohio University Press, 2002) and Edward Jones, An African American in Sierra Leone, in John Pulis, (ed.) Moving On: Black Loyalists in the Afro-Atlantic World (Garland Press, 1999).  She has presented papers and lectured widely nationally and internationally and has served as a consultant for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library).  Dr. Blyden has lived in Europe, Africa and the Soviet Union. (PhD, Yale University, 1998).


11/29 – The Lusophone Trans-Atlantic Matrix: Interconnections Between Portugal, Brazil, and Portuguese-Speaking Africa,” Fernando Arenas, Associate Professor of Portuguese, University of Minnesota


The objective of this lecture is to offer a critical framework that will provide historical, geopolitical, discursive, and cultural coordinates in order to understand the emergence and development of Lusophone African nations within the larger context of the Portuguese-speaking world and in relationship to Portugal and Brazil. These nations have been varyingly interconnected for several centuries through the experience of colonialism as well as the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but more recently, through globalization. This lecture explores the deep-seated cultural, material, ideological, and political linkages of Lusophone Africa with Portugal as well as with Brazil that are rooted in the colonial era, but that continue to evolve under the ambivalent sign of "postcolonialism."


Fernando Arenas is an Associate Professor of Lusophone African, Portuguese, and Brazilian Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Utopias of Otherness: Nationhood and Subjectivity in Portugal and Brazil (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) and co-editor together with Susan C. Quinlan of Lusosex: Gender and Sexuality in the Portuguese-Speaking World (University of Minnesota Press, 2002). He has been a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro) and at Harvard University. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005-06 in order to finish his new book, After Independence: Globalization, Postcolonialism and the Cultures of Lusophone Africa.