The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism, by Ana Lucia Araujo – BOOK LAUNCH

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Date / time: 14 December, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Cambridge University Press Bookshop

The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism, by Ana Lucia Araujo - BOOK LAUNCH


Join us at the bookshop on the evening of Thursday, 14th December, when we’ll be joined by Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University, Washington DC), who will be discussing her new book – The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism – with Toby Green (Department of History, King’s College London)

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Advance praise:

‘A remarkable counternarrative told through the history of material objects troubles what we know about commodification in West and West Central Africa. The Gift brilliantly reframes the best thinking on circulation at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the expansive tapestry woven by Ana Lucia Araujo, readers will discern new ways of seeing and thinking about cultural objects and the elaboration of power in the Atlantic World. A rewarding and necessary book.’

Herman Bennett, author of African Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty and Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic

‘A brilliant fusion of social and art history, this gem of a book dazzles with scholarly depth. A testament to dual training, an exquisite narrative captivates, enlightens, and transcends conventional boundaries. A truly enriching, must-read gift.’

Roquinaldo Ferreira, author of Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil during the Era of the Slave Trade

‘Following the itinerary and many lives of a silver knife, gifted and re-gifted across the commercial, familial, and political networks linking France to west and west-central Africa in the 18th and 19th century, Araujo crafts a productively speculative account that gives new depths to our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade.’

Cécile Fromont, author of Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola

‘In tracing a ceremonial silver sword and its meanings from France to Central and West Africa and back to Europe, this creative and nuanced book sheds light on gift-giving in the Atlantic slave trade, French connections to multiple African regions, and the depredations of colonial invaders. As it reminds us, material objects have stories to tell!’

Lisa Lindsay, author of Atlantic Bonds: A Nineteenth Century Odyssey from America to Africa

About the speakers

Ana Lucia Araujo is a historian of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade, and authored or edited fifteen books on these topics, including Reparations for Slavery: A Transnational and Comparative History (Bloomsbury, 2017, 2023). A Professor in the Department of History of Howard University in Washington DC, United States, she is currently a research fellow at the Museum of World Cultures in Amsterdam. Among others, she is also a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Routes of Enslaved Peoples Project (former Slave Route Project), the editorial board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition.

Toby Green is a historian of inequality with a specific focus on West Africa during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and on neocolonialism. He is the author of a number of books, including The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa, 1300-1589 (Cambridge University Press), A Fistful of Shells (Chicago University Press, 2019), and most recently The Covid Consensus (C. Hurst & co.). He is a professor at King’s College, London, and chairs the British Academy’s committee for publishing sources on African history. He has organised conferences in collaboration with colleagues that have taken place in Angola, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.