Bio

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.

Born and raised in Brazil, I completed a BA in Fine Arts in 1995 (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul) and an MA in History of Brazil in 1997 (Pontíficia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul). Trained as a historian and as an art historian, I obtained a PhD in Art History in 2004 (Université Laval, Canada) and a PhD in History and Social and Historical Anthropology (Université Laval and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) in 2007.

I just finished a book manuscript titled Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging with the Pastscheduled for publication in Fall 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 element 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, 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.

I am at the initial stages of a project examining the history of demands of restitution of African heritage (artworks and a variety of artifacts) to museums in Europe and the United States, by focusing on artifacts that embody the connections between the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism.

New book

My book Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History is published !

Reviews:

“This is a book I’ve been waiting for – a timely and overdue account of the centuries-long cry for reparations, written by a gifted historian of transatlantic slavery. Ana Lucia Araujo has brought valuable context, perspective, and learning to one of the urgent issues of our time.”  Marcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History, University of Pittsburgh, United States, and author of The Slave Ship: A Human History (2008)

Ana Lucia Araujo’s book on slavery reparations movements reaches across time and space. She considers enslavement, emancipation, and the continued refusal of every single slave-owning society in the Atlantic world-the USA, Britain, France, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain, especially to address the centuries of theft that made them wealthy and built the modern global political economy. Professor Araujo’s erudition is unbounded, and her clear, readable prose will make this book an important and useful addition to the toolkits of academics, students, and activists.”  Edward E. Baptist, Professor of History, Cornell University, United States, and author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2016)

“The trans-Atlantic debate about reparations for slavery has long needed a serious historical explanation. Now, in Ana Lucia Araujo’s book, we have the answer. This original, sweeping study, grounded in meticulous research, explains how and why reparations have become so pressing a modern-day issue. It is essential reading for everyone concerned – whatever their viewpoint.”  James Walvin, Professor of History Emeritus, University of York, UK and author of The Zong: A Massacre, the Law and the End of Slavery (2011)