SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Designing Histories of Slavery in the Database Age

Prof. Vincent Brown
Prof Vincent Brown

Date: 28 October 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 28 October 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

Multimedia scholarship invites reconsideration of how history has been, could be, and should be represented.  By wrestling creatively and collectively with the difficult archival problems presented by social history of slavery, I hope to chart new pathways for pondering history’s most painful and vexing subjects.  This presentation considers three graphic histories of slavery— a web-based animation of Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, a cartographic narrative of the Jamaican slave revolt of 1760-61, and a web-based archive of enslaved family lineages in Jamaica and Virginia — that illustrate how the archive of slavery is more than the records bequeathed to us by the past; the archive also includes the tools we use to explore it, the vision that allows us to see its traces, and the design decisions that communicate our sense of history’s possibilities.

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Prof Vincent Brown Designing Histories of Slavery in the Database Age

About the Speaker

Multi-media historian Vincent Brown is Charles Warren Professor of History, Professor of African and African-American Studies, and Director of the History Design Studio at Harvard University.  His research, writing, teaching, and other creative endeavors are focused on the political dimensions of cultural practice in the African Diaspora, with a particular emphasis on the early modern Atlantic world.  A native of Southern California, he was educated at the University of California, San Diego, and received his PhD in History from Duke University, where he also trained in the theory and craft of film and video making.  He has been the recipient of the Mellon New Directions fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim fellowship, and the National Humanities Center fellowship in the United States.

Brown is the author of numerous articles and reviews in scholarly journals, he is Principal Investigator and Curator for the animated thematic map Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761: A Cartographic Narrative (2013), and he was Producer and Director of Research for the television documentary Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness (2009), recipient of the 2009 John E. O’Connor Film Award of the American Historical Association, awarded Best Documentary at both the 2009 Hollywood Black Film Festival and the 2009 Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, and broadcast nationally on season 11 of the PBS series Independent Lens. His first book, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (2008), was co-winner of the 2009 Merle Curti Award and received the 2009 James A. Rawley Prize and the 2008-09 Louis Gottschalk Prize.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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