Writing Atlantic-African Slavery: The Middle Passage in Continental Terms


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Comparative Literature


This project animates the institutional and experiential instantiations of Atlantic slavery in Africa through an interdisciplinary method that engages with archival and literary sources. In so doing, the project revises teleological and spatial metanarratives regarding slavery, racial capitalism, and land dispossession in Africa. Specifically, the dissertation examines an emergent body of literature in French and English that not only depicts Atlantic slavery from an African continental perspective, but also reorients scholarly attention to understudied historical records that reveal the confluence between the oceanic slave economy and enslaving systems on the continent. Through the use of multiple textual sources, the archived past within imperial records and fictionalized history in contemporary literature, “Writing Atlantic-African Slavery” initiates renewed inquiry into those who remained behind as slave ships set sail from the West African coast. These subjects include dehumanized slaves, enslavers, and the myriad characters who often fall outside of representation.