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York University
Toronto, Canada

Announces an International Conference Co-Sponsored by
The Department of History
The Nigerian Hinterland Project



October 12-15th, 2000

Principal Organizer:

Prof. José C. Curto, Dept. of History, York University

Organizing Committee:

Prof. Ivana Elbl, Dept. of History, Trent University

Prof. Gregory Guy, Dept. of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, York University

Ibrahim Hamza, PhD Student, Dept. of History, York University

Prof. Paul E. Lovejoy, Dept. of History, York University

Prof. David Trotman, Dept. of History, York University

Dr. Renée La France-Soulodre, Nigerian Hinterland Project, York University

Made Possible by Grants from the

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

  • Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal, Serviçao da Cooperaçao para o Desenvolvimento

  • Instituto Camžes e Fundaçao para a CÍincia e Tecnologia, Portugal, Programa Lusit’nia

  • Departamento da Cultura, Ministério das Relaçažes Exteriores, Brasil

  • Department of History, York University

And Additional Support from the

  • Nigerian Hinterland Project, York University

  • Vice-President Academic, York University

  • Dean of Arts, York University

  • Founders College, York University

  • African Studies Programme, York University

  • Consulado Geral de Portugal, Toronto, Canada


The conference aims to bring together most of the leading international authorities on the cultural, demographic, economic, linguistic, political, and religious connections between Brazil and Africa during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. As is well known among specialists, Brazil received more enslaved Africans than any other part of the Americas - ten times as many as North America, and more than all of the Caribbean and North America combined. A great majority of these enslaved Africans came from Angola and other parts of west-central Africa, including Kimbundu, Kikongo and Umbundu speakers, even though many of the enslaved also came from the far interior beyond the locations of the Mbundu, Kongo and Ovimbundu. Another large segment of the deported African population came from the Bight of Benin (the "Slave Coast"), and included, especially Gbe and Yoruba speakers, but also a sizeable Muslim population. The conference will discuss the major themes emerging from these connections: the South Atlantic slave trade, the making of African identities within and outside of Africa, the transmission of African cultures to Brazil, ethnicity and resistance in Brazil under slavery, from African to creoles in Brazil until the late nineteenth century, the Brazilian impact upon western and southeastern Africa, and comparative perspectives on enslaved Africans in Brazil, Spanish America, and the Caribbean. Over 35 leading experts and advanced graduate students from Canada, the United States, Brazil, Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean will present their most recent research on these themes. To close the conference, a workshop will see graduate students discuss the reconstruction of Africa-Americas-Africa interconnections during slavery from the perspective of their research agendas.

Until recently, the multiple dimensions of the connections between Africa and Brazil during slavery have been considered in a compartmentalized, isolated fashion. Scholars of the African impact upon Brazil have rarely interacted with those working on the Brazilian impact upon Africa. The purpose of "Enslaving Connections" is to examine in detail the multi-dimensions of this relationship in a holistic fashion. We propose a conference that is both truly trans-Atlantic, comparative, and inter-disciplinary: the West, West-Central, and South-Eastern regions in Africa, the captaincies (later provinces) of Bahia, Pernambuco, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and areas of Spanish America and the Caribbean will all come under scrutiny from the perspective of their inter-relations during the era of slavery. Scholars working on these connections are as widely scattered as are the research materials they are uncovering. Scholars, as the list of paper presenters indicates, come from North, Central and South America, Europe and Africa. Extensive research materials are located in Brazil, Angola, and Portugal, with smaller bodies of documentation located in other countries bordering the Atlantic: but these remain largely under-used because they are difficult to access. As such, this international conference provides a venue to break down the compartmentalization of knowledge, to share research materials and research results, as well as to foster international linkages between individuals and institutions working on the problematic of Africa-Americas-Africa interconnections during the era of slavery.

Return to Conferences

The Nigerian Hinterland Project: http://www.yorku.ca/nhp
Room 113 Vanier College, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3
Phone: (416) 736-2100 ex.30322, Fax: (416) 650-8173