Please join us on Tuesday, February 2, 4 PM EST (Zoom) for our first event of the semester, a talk and discussion with Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard) on her recent book Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past and respondents Laura Wexler (Yale), Leo Spitzer (Dartmouth), and moderators Marianne Hirsch and Andreas Huyssen (Columbia).
Exploring notions of history, collective memory, cultural memory, public memory, official memory, and public history, Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past explains how ordinary citizens, social groups, governments and institutions engage with the past of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. It illuminates how and why over the last five decades the debates about slavery have become so relevant in the societies where slavery existed and which participated in the Atlantic slave trade. The book draws on a variety of case studies to investigate its central questions: How have social actors and groups in Europe, Africa and the Americas engaged with the slave past of their societies? Are there any relations between the demands to rename streets of Liverpool in England and the protests to take down Confederate monuments in the United States? How have black and white social actors and scholars influenced the ways slavery is represented in George Washington's Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in the United States?How do slave cemeteries in Brazil and the United States and the walls of names of Whitney Plantation speak to other initiatives honoring enslaved people in England and South Africa? What shared problems and goals have led to the creation of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC? Why have artists used their works to confront the debates about slavery and its legacies? Arguing that memory of slavery is racialized and gendered, the book shows that more than just attempts to come to terms with the past; debates about slavery are associated with the persistent racial inequalities, racism, and white supremacy which still shape societies where slavery existed.
Ana Lucia Araujois Professor of History at the historically black Howard University. Her recent books include Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past (2020), Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (2017), and Brazil Through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics (2015). She is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. Currently, she is working on two book projects: Human inHumans in Shackles: An Atlantic History of Slavery in the Americas (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) and The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (under contract with Cambridge University Press). Her short-form book Museums and Atlantic Slavery will be published in the Spring 2021 in the series Routledge Museums in Focus series.
Laura Wexler holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and is Professor of American studies, film and media studies, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University. Her books include Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism (2000, winner of the Joan Kelley Memorial Prize of the AHA), Pregnant Pictures (2000), Interpretation and the Holocaust (2004), and The Puritan Imagination in Nineteenth Century America. She is working on a book about the visual culture of American racism, The Awakening of Cultural Memory, anda forthcoming volume,co-edited with Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, and Leigh Raiford, Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography, which envisions the history of photography through the lens of collaboration.
Leo Spitzeris a cultural and comparative historian working in West Africa, Latin America and Central Europe. His books include Lives in Between: The Experience of Marginality in a Century of Emancipation (1998); Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism (2000); and, co-authored with Marianne Hirsch, Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory (2010) and School Photos in Liquid Time: Reframing Difference (2020). With Mieke Bal and Jonathan Crewe, he edited Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present (1999). He is currently working on The Americanization of Poldi, a memoir about Jewish refugee immigration and acculturation in New York in the 1950s and 1960s.