Interview with Ana Lucia Araujo about Cambria Slavery Studies Series

The following is a recent interview with Professor Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University) about slavery studies. Professor Araujo is the general editor of the Cambria Slavery Studies Series.

Ana Lucia Araujo

Question: Congratulations on being nominated as a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project! Could you please take us back a little and tell us how your interest in studies in slavery began?

Ana Lucia Araujo: My interest in slavery is related to the fact that my home country Brazil imported the largest number of enslaved Africans in the Americas. Today more than 50 % of the Brazilian population is of African descent. Brazil is marked by this huge African presence in all social and cultural spheres. When I left Brazil about twenty years ago I started working on European travelogues of the nineteenth century, and slave life emerged as the most important topic addressed in these travel accounts. I decided then to study memory of slavery in order to understand how slavery shaped Brazilian society and left so many scars, especially visible through its racial inequalities. Today my work is much more transnational, but Brazil is at the origin of my interest in slavery studies.

Question: You have said previously that “slavery is not dead; it’s not even past.” Could you please elaborate on this in the context of why studies in slavery is all the more important today and for future generations?

Ana Lucia Araujo: On a daily basis there is news in various languages about Atlantic slavery—news about the creation of monuments, the discovery of a slave cemetery, the unveiling of an exhibition on slavery. We have never seen before such a growing interest in all aspects associated with Atlantic slavery in the Americas. There are also a growing number of studies on slavery in Africa and the Muslim slave trade. This interest is certainly associated with current racial inequalities, racism, and white supremacy that in all former slave societies affect people of African descent. This is why is slavery is not dead,—its legacies are very much alive, and this is also why studying slavery is so important in helping us understand the present.

Question: Could you please tell us about the different directions you believe that studies in slavery needs to take and the kinds of works you seek for the Cambria Slavery Studies series?

Ana Lucia Araujo: Today slavery studies are more international than they used to be. I am looking for works that conceive of slavery as an institution shaped by transnational forces. The various scholars on our diverse editorial board cover many geographical regions and themes, thus comparative works are very welcome. Monographs focusing on memory of slavery either in the Americas, Africa, or Europe will also be great contributions to the series. Works on visual representations of slavery either in painting, engraving, and film are also very welcome. We are also looking forward to receiving proposals of monographs focusing on slavery and religion and women and slavery. Cambria produces very beautiful books and its team does a tremendous job in featuring visual materials such as photographs, engravings, and paintings.

Question: What about today’s human trafficking problem? Would a study of this contemporary problem be something that you would welcome for the series? If so, what are some examples of the kind of book projects you would like to see?

Ana Lucia Araujo: It is important to specify that human trafficking today emerges in a very different context than that of the Atlantic slave trade; and unlike the Atlantic slave trade, human trafficking is illegal and its victims come from different parts of the globe. Therefore, despite the use of the term slavery to refer to a variety of regimes that include forced work and despite the temptation of equate present-day slavery and Atlantic slavery, these are two different phenomena. That distinction made, human trafficking is a huge human rights issue that requires specialized scholarship. We are looking forward to receiving works focusing on human trafficking; two members of our editorial board, Joel Quirk (Professor, University of Witswatersand, South Africa) and Benjamin Lawrance (University of Arizona, United States), are specialists in this field.

Question: For those who do not specialize in slavery studies, could you please elaborate on why and how they could incorporate slavery studies into their curriculum? For example, how would a professor in film studies do this?

Ana Lucia Araujo: Scholars who are not specialists in slavery can incorporate slavery studies to their courses by exploring primary documents such as slave narratives, through the exploration of museums and monuments. A recent book published in the series, Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future, for example, explores these dimensions by examining the representations of slavery in the famous film Django Unchained.

Learn more about the Cambria Slavery Studies Series and see also books by Professor Araujo:

Submit a proposal to Cambria Press

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Cambria Press Publication Review: African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Congratulations to Professor Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University) on the outstanding review of her book African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World by H-Net Reviews. The book review states:

Cambria Press publication review

Examining systems of oppression, representation, and acculturation, this book offers alternative ways of understanding and privileging African legacies in Brazil. Essentially, this interdisciplinary text challenges systems of racism and calls for the preservation,
presentation, and proliferation of African legacies in Brazil. … this book examines the systematic suppression of black and African-centered arts, bodies, religious practices, cultural norms, and sociopolitical traditions in Brazil. Chartering new perspectives, scholars uncover archival mysteries, museum practices, hidden histories, and places of historic trauma. This collection also reveals communal legacies of resistance and empowerment in the lives and practices of all Brazilian people. Read the rest of the review.

Title: African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World
Authors: Ana Lucia Araujo
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604978926
428 pp.  |   2015   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604978926.cfm

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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 New Publication: #Slavery, Migrations, and Transformations

Cambria Press announces a new publication in the Cambria Studies in Slavery: Past and Present Series by Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University).

Cambria Press Publication academic publisher

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

“One cannot extricate the diasporic experiences of Haitians in Miami or Nigerians in Houston from the larger political and social climate of today’s world, which transcends national, regional, and international borders and connects Africans and African diasporic experiences over space and time.”  – Toyin Falola and Danielle Porter Sanchez (from the book’s introduction)

From Chapter 6: Rewind and Reframe: Thoughts on Race in Contemporary Europe

“Accumulating the privileges and prestige that accompany upward mobility does not always protect people of color, as pointed out in Steve McQueen’s film Twelve Years a Slave … In Europe, that vulnerability was reflected in racist insults directed at French justice minister Christiane Taubira during a 2013 visit to Angers.”

From Chapter 9: From Juan to Juan: The Triumph of Poet and Subject in Juan Latino’s Austrias carmen

The masterpiece of the extraordinary former-slave-turned-Latin professor Juan Latino … has a few features that distinguish it from other epic poems of its kind. For instance, certain passages in the poem present the point of view of marginalized figures.  … as a marginalized figure himself, a black man in a European society, Latino chose Juan de Austria [also marginalized because he was the illegitimate son of Charles V] as his epic hero because he could identify with him.”

Watch the video for more on this new publication from Cambria Press

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Press Release & Promo Trailer for Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future

See the press release for Cambria Press for Transatlantic Memories of Slavery.

Watch the trailer for this book from Cambria Press.

Cambria Press Publisher

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See the Cambria Press website for more books.

See another related publication from Cambria Press: Slavery, Migrations, and Transformations

Both books are in the Cambria Studies in Slavery: Past and Present Series headed by Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University).

#slavery

Ida B. Wells Birthday Tribute: Black Women as Custodians of History

Ida B. Wells

Black Women as Custodians of History: Birthday Tribute to Ida B. Wells

Cambria Press Book Highlight in honor of Ida B. Wells’s Birthday

“Like W. E. B. Du Bois, black activist and journalist Ida B. Wells also chose to become an interpreter of facts in her writings about lynching at the turn of the twentieth century [… and] called African Americans to write and distribute accurate histories that would counteract the false depictions created by white-owned presses, dispersing this message through her work in the antilynching movement.”   – Paula Sanmartín, Black Women as Custodians of History: Unsung Rebel (M)Others in African American and Afro-Cuban Women’s Writing

*This book is part of the Cambria Studies in Slavery Series headed by Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University).

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