The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism

12 December 2023 - 15:30 — 12 December 2023 - 17:00

On 12 December Ana Lucia Araujo will talk about The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism. 

Her latest book explores the meanings, uses, and tortuous trajectory of one single eighteenth-century silver ceremonial sword fabricated in La Rochelle during the era of the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism. The object was given by French slave traders from La Rochelle to a West Central African agent in the port of Cabinda in 1777, on the Loango coast. Curiously, more than one century later, this very same item was looted from Abomey, the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey, during the Second Franco-Dahomean War that made Dahomey a colony of France. As Araujo interrogates the several hypotheses explaining how this object traveled several hundred miles to reach Abomey, she also discusses how the history of the exchanges established in the context of the Atlantic slave trade and the rise of European colonial rule were imprinted on this object.

12 December 2023
Time: 15:30 – 17:00 (with drinks)
Place: Cruquiusweg 31,  Amsterdam
Entrance: Free of charge, but please register via

Ana Lucia Araujo
is a social and cultural historian writing transnational and comparative history. Currently, she is a Full Professor of History at the historically black Howard University in Washington DC, United States. She was trained in Brazil, Canada, and France with a PhD in History and Social and Historical Anthropology (2007), a PhD in Art History (2004), an MA in History (1998), and a BA in Visual Arts (1995). Araujo’s work explores the history of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade and their present-day legacies, including the long history of calls for reparations for slavery and colonialism. Her research also examines the memory, heritage, and visual culture of slavery. Araujo writes, speaks, and publishes in English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish and her work has been translated into German and Dutch. Her scholarship has been internationally recognized through fellowships, awards, and professional offices.

Mariana De Campos Françozo
 is an Associate Professor of Museum Studies at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. Her research stands at the intersection of anthropology and history and focuses on the collection and circulation of indigenous objects and knowledge from Brazil to Europe, with special emphasis on the early modern period.

Karwan Fatah-Black is Assistent Professor at the department of Social and Economic History of Leiden University. He is expert in Dutch Colonial History. The early modern Atlantic world is the context for his study of the transformational effects of globalization on society. He studies the history of slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic world, and is interested in the afterlives of this history. 

The Gift