Cambria Press Publication Review: Majimbo in Kenya’s Past

Majimbo

Congratulations to Professor Robert Maxon (West Virginia University) on the outstanding review of his book, Majimbo in Kenya’s Past: Federalism in the 1940s and 1950s, in International Journal of African Historical Studies (IJAHS), which states that:

In Robert Maxon’s welcome book, Majimbo in Kenya’s Past: Federalism in the 1940s and 1950s, losers come front and center. The author does not focus on the leading lights of the settler community, also part of the losing side in the narrative of Kenya’s decolonization. This is not a book about Lord Delamere, Michael Blundell, Wilfred Havelock, Ferdinand Cavendish-Bentinck, and Humphrey Slade, powerful, wealthy, and influential members of Kenya white settler community, though they appear from time to time. Center stage belongs to individuals who have scarcely made their appearance in the story of Britain’s departure from Kenya in 1963. Here, the leading lights are A.T. Culwick, B.F. Roberts, and L.E. Vigar, racists, profoundly against Africans and Asians alike, and robust federalists in defense of European privilege right up to the bitter end. … After discussing the Dawe’s plan, presented to the Colonial Office in 1942 and calling for a grant of self-government to Kenya’s settlers in the White Highlands, Maxon discusses the majimbo plans put forward in the 1950s. … This is a work of impressive and careful scholarship. One looks forward to Professor Maxon’s further volumes on Kenya’s constitutional history.

This book is available in print and digital versions from Cambria Press.

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#lutopelomuseunacional: The Museo Nacional de Brasil and how it preserved African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil

The loss of the Museo Nacional de Brasil (National Museum of Brazil) is simply devastating. As The New York Times noted “some items in the collection are irreplaceable to science, as well as the country’s national memory.”

Long before the tragic fire, Mariza de Carvalho Soares, a Brazilian historian and researcher at the CNPq/MCT (Brazilian national endowment agency), who has also been the curator of the African collection at the Museu Nacional de Brasil since 2012, underscored the importance of the museum to Brazil’s national memory because its artifacts lent “urgent voices to the need to deconstruct the memory of Africa in Brazil, a memory still trapped in the rusted chains of slavery and colonial domination.”

The following are excerpts from her chapter “Collectionism and Colonialism: The Africana Collection at Brazil’s National Museum (Rio de Janeiro)” in the book African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World edited by Ana Lucia Araujo, which help preserve the memory of this beloved institution.

#lutopelomuseunacional

“In Brazil, few museums are known to possess substantial African holdings and give them prominence. … Among the recognized institutions, the collection held at the National Museum is indisputably the oldest and one of the most significant. Its entire ethnographic collection, containing some 40,000 objects, is presently managed by the Ethnology and Ethnography Sector of the Anthropology Department (MN/DA/SEE). Most of its holdings are related to the indigenous populations of Brazil. Yet, it also includes around 700 artifacts from sub-Saharan Africa, gathered under the name National Museum Africana.” (p.19)

“The most significant acquisitions of African artifacts were made during the administrations of Ladislau Netto and Roquette Pinto. Later on, Heloísa Torres gave more emphasis and resources to artifacts representing the legacy of the African presence in Brazil. But these three vibrant researchers shared a common interest not just in anthropology but also in the dynamism of cultural manifestations that transcended the sharply defined models of Western postslave society. They gave importance and prestige to the most diverse forms African-derived objects.

Africana contains important individual pieces, but what stands out in the collection are sets of related objects that, for their antiquity or rarity, deserve special attention. The great majority of the pieces were obtained through private donation, or exchange with other museums, whereas some other items were purchased. In the Sector of Ethnology and Ethnography (hereafter SEE) registry, African artifacts are listed in sequence numbers with their date of acquisition, along with all the other artifacts in the ethnographic archive. The oldest artifacts that have been identified and historically contextualized are the group of presents sent by King Adandozan of Dahomey to Prince Dom João in 1810, including the aforementioned throne. Other objects described by Graham would be equally important, but these were apparently lost.

A notable set of artifacts obtained by purchase is the group of weapons acquired in 1902, during the administration of João Baptista de Lacerda (museum director 1895–1915). It was likely Lacerda’s initiative to purchase the weapons from private collector Alfred Mocquery, who had been sent by the Paris Museum to South America as well as Africa, especially Madagascar.” (p.24)

“Among the various donated artifacts are the set of more than twenty presents from the king of Dahomey, as well as a drum with a zebra-skin head given by a certain Jorge Villares. Little is known about Villares, but it was recorded upon the drum’s entry in 1923 that he claimed the “King of Uganda” had offered him the item to be delivered to the National Museum.” (p.25)

“There are also many objects labeled as African but acquired in Brazil, which are difficult to identify properly. Such is the case of cloths purchased by Heloísa Torres in Bahia, registered as African. One of them, acquired in 1953, belonged to the wife of a Mr. Tibúrcio, member of the Brotherhood of Rosário, a Catholic lay organization for African descendants in the coastal city of Salvador. Another group of objects had been apprehended by the court police from a so-called ‘fortune-telling house,’ as the headquarters of Afro-Brazilian religious groups were known in imperial, nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro. The police would regularly invade these ‘cult houses’ in search of what they considered suspicious and confiscate objects at hand as proof of the practice of witchcraft. In one such case, a list of apprehended items was sent to the National Museum bearing the title ‘List of diverse objects encountered in fortune-telling houses, rendered by the police, whose chief was the distinguished Mr. Serafim Muniz Barreto, to the court.’ Among the listed objects were some items that would have come from Africa alongside others made in Brazil by Africans and African descendants in their religious and quotidian pursuits.

Some objects in the museum’s new forthcoming permanent exhibition deserve particular attention. Each of them provides a pathway into the central issue of the role of museums as spaces of engagement with the importance of Africa in the universe of education and research in Brazil. They lend urgent voices to the need to deconstruct the memory of Africa in Brazil, a memory still trapped in the rusted chains of slavery and colonial domination.” (p.26)

This is followed by a section titled “Confronting Memory and History: Three Examples of Africana Artifacts,” which details the following:

  1. The Keaka Mask (1928)
  2. Weapons from the Zambezi River: Herero, Namaqua, and Zulu (1880–1902)
  3. The Gifts from King Adandozan to Dom João (1811)

Mariza de Carvalho Soares concludes her chapter noting the following:

“The violent methods (or in the best of cases, compulsory circumstances) that provided nearly all the objects that today constitute the Africana collection, as well as the African holdings of so many other Brazilian museums, should be brought to the fore and reconsidered. Each of these institutions has the obligation to administer with care and justice the preservation of this heritage, the material legacy of processes that came about at the cost of the blood and suffering of so many Africans. At the same time, the potential of these collections must be channeled into new meanings, marshaling the unjust past into public policies that today foster better understanding of both the history of African peoples and of the diverse connections between Brazil and Africa in the past, present, and future. The most important move at this juncture is to examine these artifacts from a new analytical perspective, to open the study of so-called ethnographic collections to the scrutiny of history. The new parameters that will help define a richer history of Africa can first be applied locally, in the sense of a newly critical gaze on the colonial practices that have too long reigned in the interior of museums themselves.” (p.37)

Araujo Heritage Book Cover

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World was published in 2015. A 25% discount is available for the hardcover version (enter coupon code SAVE25 at checkout). There are also e-book versions starting from $8.99.

Book Details

Title African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World
Editor Ana Lucia Araujo
Book ISBN 9781604978926
Pages 428 (includes illustrations)

Mariza de Carvalho Soares is a Brazilian historian working on slavery, the African diaspora, and African history. She is a researcher at the CNPq/MCT (Brazilian national endowment agency). Since 2012, she has been the curator of the African collection at Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and director of the research project Africana do Museu Nacional (2013–2015) funded by FAPERJ (Rio de Janeiro state endowment agency). In recent years, she has been a research fellow at Vanderbilt University, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. She is the author of numerous chapters and articles and the author and editor of several books, including People of Faith: Slavery and African Catholics in Eighteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro (2011), which received the Roberto Reis Book Award from the Brazilian Studies Association.

Ana Lucia Araujo is a Professor of History at Howard University. In addition to having published several single-authored monographs and edited volumes, Professor Araujo has edited special issues of the journals Luso-Brazilian Review and Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage and published articles in several journals, including Slavery and Abolition, the Luso-Brazilian Review, Ethnologie Française, Ethnologies, Varia História, Lusotopie, Tempo, and the Canadian Journal of Latin America and Caribbean Studies. Professor Araujo is the general editor of the Cambria Press book series Slavery: Past and Present.

Ana Lucia Araujo

Cambria Press Publication Review: Transatlantic Memories of Slavery

Congratulations to Professors  Elisa Bordin and Anna Scacchi on the glowing review of their book, Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future, by the European Journal of American Studies.

Scacchi Bordin Book Cover

The following are excerpts from the book review.

“With great courage, sharp intuition and professional dedication they have tackled some of the most controversial issues of historical revision and imaginative projection linked to the slave trade all over the world. While stressing the central role of slavery in the affirmation of Euro-American modern capitalistic society, they give space to the dignity and validity of long time ignored acts of memory produced in different fields by people of African descent. The importance attributed by them to these narratives in both written or visual form, are now shown as a dialogic and no less important counterpart to the over-publicized acts of memory written by representatives of the Euro-American hegemonic platform. Through the analysis of a large sample of writings, fiction and non-fiction, films, photographs, popular culture, the authors, a group of renown scholars and artists, question the legitimacy of the kept records, showing that the problem, as William Styron maintained, is not just how to portray the history of slavery, but how ‘to wrestle with the incomplete project of freedom.’

“What appears particularly relevant in this collection is the methodological approach, a complex, comparative, transnational gaze that rightly pulls down the ideal boundaries of nation and continent, North and South America, Brazil and West Africa, and above all French, Spanish and English Caribbean – where, it should be remembered, the slave trade registers its highest peak – allowing them to shed light on the multiple ways in which difference builds up a privileged path to artistic productions. The mechanics of how slavery affected the intercultural, inter-human, inter-linguistic exchanges between different peoples finds in this broad discussion one of the best possible readings, where the textual and the meta-textual crisscross and contaminate each other; a modern approach that ignores stale categories, narrow paradigms, prefigured evaluations.”

“The fluidity achieved between disciplines, territories, languages, anthropological characterizations is happily harmonized with a captivating style, that accrues the meaning of the research and the pleasure of reading.”

Read the entire review here.

This book is in the Cambria Studies in Slavery book series (general editor: Ana Lucia Araujo).

See this book at the #LASA2016 congress. For a 30% discount, order Transatlantic Memories of Slavery now and use the coupon code LASA2016 at www.cambriapress.com.

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Cambria Press Book Excerpt from “Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition”

#AfricanLit

From Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition edited by Walter P. Collins, III:

Another major event in Sheri’s life that shows the indelible marks of Lagos on her psyche is the episode in which Sheri fights back and beats up the brigadier when he abuses her physically. Atta’s deliberate use of a biracial character (often referred to derogatorily as half-caste in the Nigerian context) to beat up a Brigadier validates the claim that it is the Lagos lifestyle, and not the color of the skin (ancestry), that ultimately affects her characters:

“Telling me I’m a whore for going out. Your mother is the whore. Raise a hand to beat Sheri Bakare, and your hand will never remain the same again. Stupid man, he will find it hard to play polo from now on ….I was raised in downtown Lagos…Bring the Queen of England there. She will learn how to fight.” (Everything Good Will Come 174)

Even Sheri recognizes that she is who she is because of her having been born and bred in Lagos. When Enitan remarks that she is unable to tell who is crazier between the two of them, Sheri quickly remarks that: “after what I’ve seen, if I’m not crazy, what else would I be?”

Writing Contemporary Nigeria is a must for all African literature collections–Order it now and click here to ask your university library to purchase it.

This book is in the Cambria African Studies Series headed by Toyin Falola (University of Texas at Austin) with Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University).

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Cambria Author & Series Editor to Watch: Toyin Falola (University of Texas at Austin) is President of the African Studies Association

Cambria Press author book review publication publisher editor Toyin Falola African Studies

At this year’s African Studies Association (ASA) annual conference, Cambria Press author and general editor of the Cambria African Studies Series, Toyin Falola (the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin) will deliver his lecture “Emerging Themes in Contemporary African Diaspora Humanities” as president of the African Studies Association.

Dr. Falola’s most recent book Slavery, Migrations, and Transformations: Connecting Old and New Diasporas to the Homeland, which he coedited with Danielle Porter Sanchez and is in the Cambria Studies in Slavery Series headed by Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University), speaks to this very theme. The book will be on display in the ASA book exhibit hall at the Scholar’s Choice booth.

Cambria Press Publication academic publisher

Cambria Press New Publication: Slavery, Migrations, and Transformations:
Connecting Old and New Diasporas to the Homeland
edited by Danielle Porter Sanchez and Toyin Falola

Visit www.cambriapress.com for more information.

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Black Hero Nat Turner, His Legacy, and the Memory of Slave History

Nat Turner

More than two centuries ago, black hero Nat Turner was born on this day.  Yet, as Elisa Bordin and Anna Scacchi note in their groundbreaking new book, Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future that

“Unlike other black enslaved heroes and fighters against slavery, whose monuments can be found all over the other Americas, there is yet to be a statue of Nat Turner to be erected and his memory continues to be deeply antagonistic, while representations of Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator proliferate. However, reinforcing how attitudes about the slave past are indeed changing, Nat Turner’s figure appears to be enjoying what could be seen as a revival of sorts in spite of the lack of a statue of him. A graphic novel, Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner (2008), and two Christian literature novels, Sharon Ewell Foster’s The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses (2011) and The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part Two: The Testimony (2012), have been recently published, and there are a number of film projects underway. As filmmaker Kenya Cagle notes in the last chapter, in which he describes his approach to portraying Nat Turner in the screenplay he published in 2013 and his own film project, “in some segments of the black community Nat Turner is equivalent to a rock star” (243). The shift from slavehood as victimhood to slaves as agents in the construction of their lives and countries is indeed fundamental in the pedagogy of new generations, …” (p. 13)

Transatlantic Memories of Slavery also includes an interview with Kenya Cagle who discusses perspectives on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and the film’s pop vision of the slave past. Cagle also talks about this meetings with Nat Turner’s family, including including his great, great, great grandson Bruce L. Turner (who is a historian).

Cambria Press Publisher book publication author

Cambria Press Publication – Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future

This is an important book for for those interested in African American, American, and Latin American studies and working across literature, cinema, visual arts, and public culture. It will also be useful to public official and civil servants interested in the question of slavery and its present memory.

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#ASALH100: Cambria Author & Slavery Series Editor Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University) at 2 Sessions

Ana Lucia Araujo Historian History Slave Memory Book #ASALH100 Cambria Press

#ASALH100: Cambria Press Author & Slavery Series Editor Ana Lucia Araujo will be at the session “Slavery, Public Memory, and Reparations” on Friday at 7 p.m. (Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 1, Georgia 10) and at the session “From Slavery to Freedom: Black Women in the Americas” on Saturday at 2 p.m. (Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 2, Savannah 2, Level 2 Lobby).

Cambria Press Author & Slavery Series Editor Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University) will be at two sessions at the centennial meeting and conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Cambria Publications by Dr. Araujo (more reviews at http://www.cambriapress.com):

Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic

“An important and provocative work. No other study so thoroughly chronicles the fraught and ambiguous history of memorializing slavery in the South Atlantic. Araujo’s ability to ‘read’ multiple sources – both discursive and non-discursive – makes the book truly interdisciplinary in scope. It will be a crucial starting point for all future studies of slavery and memory in Benin and Brazil.” – James H. Sweet, Journal of African History

Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Interactions, Identities, and Images

“The scholarly quality of the dozen essays included here is uniformly high … The quality and variety of the contributions make this book a desirable purchase for research libraries, and scholars of the history and culture of slavery and the black Atlantic are well advised to direct their attention to the essays which best match their interests and to consult the extensive and up-to-date bibliography of primary and secondary sources with which Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade closes. Araujo and her contributors deserve praise for putting together this exciting collection, as does Cambria Press for producing it as an attractively designed and well-laid-out volume.” – Journal of Latin American Studies

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

“The memory of slavery and the slave trade has strongly influenced how history is understood. What is remembered and why are clearly identified as major historical themes of analysis in this valuable collection.” – Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Books in the Cambria Studies in Slavery Series:

Order by October 30 for a 30% discount on all hardcover titles
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Use coupon code FALL15.
Individuals and libraries can use this code.

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