Museums and Atlantic Slavery
Museums and Atlantic Slavery explores how slavery, the Atlantic slave trade, and enslaved people are represented through words, visual images, artifacts, and audiovisual materials in museums in Europe and the Americas.
Divided into four chapters, the book addresses four recurrent themes: wealth and luxury; victimhood and victimization; resistance and rebellion; and resilience and achievement. Considering the roles of various social actors who have contributed to the introduction of slavery in the museum in the last thirty years, the analysis draws on selected exhibitions, and institutions entirely dedicated to slavery, as well as national, community, plantation, and house museums in the United States, England, France, and Brazil. Engaging with literature from a range of disciplines, including history, anthropology, sociology, art history, tourism and museum studies, Araujo provides an overview of a topic that has not yet been adequately discussed and analysed within the museum studies field.
Museums and Atlantic Slavery encourages scholars, students, and museum professionals to critically engage with representations of slavery in museums. The book will help readers to recognize how depictions of human bondage in museums and exhibitions often fail to challenge racism and white supremacy inherited from the period of slavery.
Introduction: Representing Atlantic Slavery in the Museum; 1. Wealth and Refinement; 2. Submission and Victimization; 3. Resistance and Rebellion; 4. Achievement and Legacies; Conclusion: Persisting Legacies
It is a direct, compelling reading about a topic of the utmost importance to public historians working today when debates about the public presentation of history are inevitably crisscrossed by demands for representation. The clear question that Araujo asks and proposes to answer is how societies that experienced slavery or participated in the Atlantic slave trade represent these themes in their museums, whether in their permanent collections or in temporary exhibitions.
- Ricardo Santhiago, University of California Press