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Centre of African Studies: Events


Gender and Enslavement in Atlantic Africa Seminar and John Akomfrah Exhibition

Gender and Enslavement in Atlantic Africa Seminar and John Akomfrah Exhibition
Speaker: Professor Lisa Lindsay # UNC
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Date and Time
1st Nov 2017 16:00 - 1st Nov 2017 19:30
Seminar Room 1 & 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, EH8 9LD and then Talbot Rice Gallery

Please register your attendance here.

Over the course of the Atlantic slave trade from the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries, approximately one-third of the Africans trafficked to the Americas were women.  Even more women than these approximately four million were enslaved during this era, perhaps most retained in Africa as workers and wives, relatively fewer others channeled into trans-Saharan slaving routes.  The production of women for the Atlantic trade therefore involved two processes: their initial enslavement, followed by a decision to consign some to overseas sale.

This presentation both synthesizes existing studies and draws on primary accounts to consider these two aspects of the enslavement of women for forced export from West Africa.  While accounts by slave traders and survivors of slavery tell us only little about enslaved women who were retained in Africa, some of them poignantly reveal the circumstances that banished female captives to the Americas and the particular vulnerabilities of women throughout Atlantic Africa in the era of the overseas slave trade.  To consider gender is thus to better understand the process of turning African people into Atlantic commodities and, moreover, to reconceptualize the Atlantic slave trade as a whole. 

Following the seminar we will walk to the Talbot Rice Gallery  to visit the exhibition featuring two remarkable installations by acclaimed artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. Recognised internationally for work that engages with the human condition, winning the 2017 Artes Mundi Award, his films are powerful visions of global diaspora, expansive historical narratives and lamentations on individual mortality. Find out more about the exhibiton here.

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