Historian Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins Univ.) digs into her award-winning new book, Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World. The conversation brings out how Black women in Senegambia, the Caribbean, and Louisiana devised ways to gain control over parts of their lives and defined freedom for themselves in the age of slavery and the slave trade. The interview closes with Dr. Johnson’s thoughts on LifexCode: Digital Humanities Against Enclosure, which she directs, and on the critical role of ethical collaborative scholarship in academic endeavors.
Paul Lovejoy, Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History at York University, discusses building an international database of biographical information on all enslaved Africans. He outlines this digital history project’s contribution to the study of slavery, race, and broader themes in global history. This is the first part of a two-part series recorded at the Atlantic Slave Biographies Database Conference at Michigan State University in November 2013. (Click here for Jessica Johnson’s Twitter timeline of the conference.)
Toby Green (King’s College London) on his recent book The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa, 1300-1589. Green discusses periodization, sources, and the creation of creole communities in the Upper Guinea coast. He also comments on new research comparing Upper Guinea and West-Central Africa and concludes with a reflection on the opportunities and challenges of doing research in Guinea-Bissau. Walter Hawthorne is guest co-host.
Historians Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and Walter Hawthorne on Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network — a digital history project of Matrix and the MSU History Department funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. They discuss the origins of the ASDN, intellectual and technological challenges, and the wider significance of building a freely accessible web database on the identities of enslaved people in the Atlantic World.
Historian Ned Alpers (UCLA) on changing trends in Indian Ocean history and Africa’s centrality within it. Drawing from over three decades of research and a recently published book, Alpers discusses east African views of the Indian Ocean; slavery and the slave trade; resistance and agency. He concludes by reflecting on the daunting challenges and exciting opportunities facing Indian Ocean historians today. With guest host Laura Fair.