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Henry Lovejoy: Probabilities of African Origins: The Collapse of the Kingdom of Oyo and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, 1816-1836
Oct 4, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Be sure to stop by C21 at noon on Friday for a special brown bag discussion with Henry before the talk.
Join us for Henry Lovejoy’s lecture, “Probabilities of African Origins: The Collapse of the Kingdom of Oyo and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, 1816-1836” at 3:30 in Curtin Hall 118.
While scholars have amassed large amounts of data related to the transatlantic slave trade, a more pressing question lingers: Where did those 12.7 million people come from within pre-colonial West Africa before boarding slave ships destined for the Americas? The answer is complex for two reasons: 1) many sub-Saharan peoples did not have written orthographies until the mid-to-late nineteenth century (suggesting their histories were largely undocumented); and 2) Africa lacks reliable historical maps compared to other heavily populated regions of the world (meaning internal geo-political transformations are frequently misunderstood, especially before the colonization and decolonization of the continent). This digital mapping project seeks to visualize and calculate the probabilities of African origins of enslaved people in diaspora by using two open-source applications: Quantum Geographic Information System and R Project for Statistical Computing. By presenting geo-referenced data of intra-African conflict alongside slave ship departures, it is possible to generate statistical models capable of predicting large-scale, inland migrations on an annual basis. This interdisciplinary project appeals to scholars interested in exploring the relationship between conflict, slavery and abolition in the Atlantic world.
About the Speaker:
Henry Lovejoy specializes in the history of Africa and the African Diaspora in the Atlantic World during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. He is the author of Prieto: Yorùbá Kingship in Colonial Cuba During the Age of Revolutions (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018). Through the website LiberatedAfricans.org, he traces the lives of over 250,000 enslaved Africans involved in international efforts to abolish the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades after 1807. He is also the director of the popular education image repository SlaveryImages.org. His research has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Fulbright-Hays, The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and the University of Colorado Boulder.