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The Middle Passage Viewed from Africa: Scenes from the Francosphere

Thursday Lecture Series

dateOctober 20, 2022 timeThursday, 12:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University locationVirtual Event
  • Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Heading of the Emancipation Proclamation for French Colonial Senegal

The Society of Fellows hosts the Thursday Lecture Series (TLS), which runs regularly throughout the academic year. The Fall Semester TLS, our Fellows present their own work, chaired by Columbia faculty.

"The Middle Passage Viewed from Africa: Scenes from the Francosphere"

Lecture by A. Véronique Charles
Chaired by Hiba Bou Akar

From the 1848 emancipation proclamation written for French colonial Senegal to metropolitan literature about the region published a century later, this talk proposes seemingly counterintuitive modes of inquiry into the past of slavery in its institutionalized iteration. This form of slavery is typified by the oceanic journey of slave ships departing from the West African literal, a journey alternatively known as the Middle Passage. The imperial records and novels that frame this talk recall the dual processes imposed on the enslaved subject at the advent of Atlantic slavery, namely racialization and what Aimé Césaire termed “chosification” (thingification). And yet, these very objects of study trouble the necessity of westward displacement via the Middle Passage to enact said processes upon the enslaved subject. This talk will reckon with such a critical tension.

This event also will be recorded. By being electronically present, you consent to the SOF/Heyman using such video for promotional purposes.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.