I am a social and cultural historian writing transnational and comparative history. My work explores the history of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade and their present-day legacies, including the long history of demands of reparations for slavery and colonialism. I have a particular interest in memory, heritage, and visual culture of slavery.
My newest book Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past is scheduled for publication with Bloomsbury on October 15, 2020. With examples from West Africa, Brazil, the United States, France, and England, this book explores how different modalities of memory (collective, public, cultural, official) shape the ways slavery is memorialized in various societies where slavery existed or that participated in the Atlantic slave trade. I show that the current debates around slavery are more than simple attempts to come to terms with the past, but rather reveal how the memory of slavery is racialized and framed by white supremacy.
My most recent published book is Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (2017). This work examines from a transnational perspective the history of the demands of reparations for slavery and the slave trade in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. I show that the demands of reparations for slavery are not new. They have a long and transnational history.
Currently, I am a Professor of History at the historically black Howard University in the capital of the United States, Washington DC. In the last fifteen years, I have authored and edited over eleven books and published nearly fifty articles and chapters on these themes. I have lectured in English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, France, England, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.
I am a member of the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review. In 2017, I was honored to join the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. In addition, I am a member of the Editorial Board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition, the Editorial Review Board of the African Studies Review, and the Editorial Board of Black Perspectives. I am also the editor of the book series Slavery: Past and Present, by Cambria Press.
I serve on the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association, the most important association of Brazilian studies in the world. Recently, I was elected as a member of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora for the period of 2019-2025.
My other published books include Brazil Through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics (2015) is a revised, updated, and expanded English version of my book Romantisme tropical (2008). I also published Shadows of the Slave Past: Memory, Heritage and Slavery (2014), Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic (2010).
I edited multiple books: African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World (2015), Politics of Memory: Making Slavery Visible in the Public Space (2012), Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Interactions, Identities (2011), and Living History: Encountering the Memory of the Heirs of Slavery (2009). I also co-edited the volume Crossing Memories: Slavery and African Diaspora (2011).
Engaging with the public is an important dimension of my work. My opinion articles in English and Portuguese appeared in the Washington Post, Newsweek, History News Network, Intercept Brasil, and the Brazilian magazine Ciência Hoje. My work has been featured in several media outlets in the United States, Portugal, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. I am active on Twitter and Tumblr, where I created and maintain the hashtag #slaveryarchive in order to follow news and initiatives related to the study of Atlantic slavery in the past and the present. I also created the website A Historian’s Views: Digital Humanities and Arts in the Age of Presentism to share comments on my scholarship, and current events related to history and memory and slavery.