Category Archives : Article


Memory as a Response to the Problem of Slavery

This text is based on my intervention in the final roundtable of the 2015 Gilder Lehman International Conference held at Yale University, on October 30-31, 2015. I thank David Blight and Marcela Echeverri for inviting me to participate in the conference. As you will see, my intervention refers to several other papers presented during the conference […]


Memory and Slavery: Chico Rei, An “African King” in Brazil

Memorializing slavery and making slavery part of official initiatives remains a problem in a country like Brazil, where slavery was outlawed only in 1888. Obstacles prevent this painful past to become visible in the public space. Moreover, even though the heritage of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade was not always recognized in official initiatives by […]


An “Evil” West African King and the Atlantic Slave Trade

The classic comment stating that “Africans sold Africans” during the Atlantic slave trade is very common in online forums or classroom discussions. Commentators who bring this argument, in order to downplay the magnitude of the slave trade as a human atrocity, fail to understand that during the era of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans did not associate themselves with a […]


Slavery as Caricature

This article is based on my newest book Brazil Through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in in the Tropics published by University of New Mexico Press (2015).   French artist François-Auguste Biard (1799-1882) arrived in Brazil in 1858, ten years after the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. By that time slave imports from […]