Politics of Memory
Making Slavery Visible in the Public Space
Edited by Ana Lucia Araujo
Routledge – 2012 – 296 pages
The public memory of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade, which some years ago could be observed especially in North America, has slowly emerged into a transnational phenomenon now encompassing Europe, Africa, and Latin America, and even Asia – allowing the populations of African descent, organized groups, governments, non-governmental organizations and societies in these different regions to individually and collectively update and reconstruct the slave past.
This edited volume examines the recent transnational emergence of the public memory of slavery, shedding light on the work of memory produced by groups of individuals who are descendants of slaves. The chapters in this book explore how the memory of the enslaved and slavers is shaped and displayed in the public space not only in the former slave societies but also in the regions that provided captives to the former American colonies and European metropoles. Through the analysis of exhibitions, museums, monuments, accounts, and public performances, the volume makes sense of the political stakes involved in the phenomenon of memorialization of slavery and the slave trade in the public sphere.
"Collectively, we are only just beginning to reflect critically on public representations of race slavery. Better late than never. This lively anthology from a new generation of commentators helps us peer into Pandora’s Box with fresh eyes. Politics of Memory is distinctive for the rich diversity of the authors and for its wide geographical sweep." – Peter H. Wood, Professor Emeritus, Duke University and author of Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War
"While there has been much work on re-discovering the historical accounts of slavery, this book is an important addition to scholarship that analyses the reasons for this - the call by descendants of slaves and those with collective memory of slavery for their histories to rank in the national and global story of slavery. Politics of Memory is an excellent account of this." - Stephen Gapps, Historical Dialogues
Introduction Ana Lucia Araujo Part I: Slavery and Slave Trade in National Narratives 1. Transnational Memory of Slave Merchants: Making the Perpetrators Visible in the Public Space Ana Lucia Araujo 2. Reasons for Silence: Tracing the Legacy of Internal Slavery and Slave Trade in Contemporary Gambia Alice Bellagamba 3. With or Without Roots: Conflicting Memories of Slavery and Indentured Labor in the Mauritian Public Space Mathieu Claveyrolas 4. Smoldering Memories and Burning Questions: The Politics of Remembering Sally Bassett and Slavery in Bermuda Quito Swan 5. Making Slavery Visible (Again): The Nineteenth-Century Roots of a Revisionist Recovery in New England Margot Minardi 6. Teaching and Commemorating Slavery and Abolition in France: From Organized Forgetfulness to Historical Debates Nelly Schmidt 7. Commemorating a Guilty Past: The Politics of Memory in the French Former Slave Trade Cities Renaud Hourcade 8. The Challenge of Memorializing Slavery in North Carolina: The Unsung Founders Memorial and the North Carolina Freedom Monument Project Renée Ater Part II: Slavery and Slave Trade in the Museum 9. Museums and Slavery in Britain: The Bicentenary of 1807 Geoffrey Cubitt 10. Museums and Sensitive Histories: The International Slavery Museum Richard Benjamin 11. The Art of Memory: São Paulo’s AfroBrazil Museum Kimberly Cleveland 12. Afro-Brazilian Heritage and Slavery in Rio de Janeiro Community Museums Francine Saillant, Pedro Simonard 13. Exhibiting Slavery at the New-York Historical Society Kathleen Hulser 14. Museums and the Story of Slavery: The Challenge of Language Regina Faden List of Contributors Notes Bibliography Index
Ana Lucia Araujo is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Howard University, USA. She is author of Romantisme tropical: l’aventure illustrée d’un peintre français au Brésil (2008) and Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic Laval (2010). She has also edited Living History: Encountering the Memory of the Heirs of Slavery (2009) and Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Interactions, Identities, and Images (2011).