Historians have documented the important cultural values that a wide variety of African peoples brought here as captives on slave ships. Yet, scholars have focused less on how blacks in America have imagined and encountered Africans in the postbellum period. Based on the wonderful new book by James Campbell, /Middle Passages/, and a variety of other secondary as well as primary sources, this seminar will explore how blacks in America connected to people on the continent of Africa to foster social, intellectual, and artistic movements as well as redefine their identities in terms of labor, class, and gender. This seminar will ask what kinds of relationships resulted, how these encounters defied expectations or raised contradictions for the participants, and speculate on what influences these relations had on the larger contours of African American and American history.
Seminar led by Erik Gellman, Roosevelt University