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Rethinking the Public Sphere: Part 1 – Race and the Promise of Participation

Please join the Humanities Center on October 24 and 25 for two events with Professor Ana-Lucia Araujo (Howard University, Department of History) as part of the Center’s 2019-20 speaker series: Rethinking the Public Sphere: Part 1 – Race and the Promise of Participation.

Public Lecture

“Museums and Slavery: Engaging the Past and the Present in the Public


Ana-Lucia Araujo (Howard University, Department of History)




4:00 Thursday October 24, 2019 @ Smathers Library 100

How have museums engaged the debates about human atrocities? This lecture explores the development of permanent exhibitions and museums dedicated in part or entirely to address the problem of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in England, France and the United States, by examining the cases of the Nantes History Museum, Museum of Aquitaine, the International Slavery Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I contend that the official memory of slavery is shaped by other modalities of memory (collective, cultural, and public) but in various nations it also depends on government involvement in publicly and privately funded initiatives. Therefore, although official, these memories are not static. They remain dynamic like the societies where they emerge. The inclusion of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in the museum exposes the nuanced approaches through which each country engages with its own black and white communities. It also reveals how each nation deals with its regional, national, and international pasts, where racism and white supremacy persist.

Ana Lucia Araujo is a social and cultural historian. Her work explores the history and the memory of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery and their social and cultural legacies. In the last fifteen years, she authored and edited over ten books, including Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (2017). Her next book Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past will be published in 2020. She is a member of the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review and a member of the editorial board of the journal Slavery and Abolition. In 2017, she joined the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. Currently she is a full professor in the Department of History of the historically black Howard University in Washington DC.

This public lecture is free and open to the public.

Academic Seminar

Battles of Public Memory

Ana-Lucia Araujo (Howard University, Department of History)

11:45am-1:40pm, Friday October 25, 2019 @ Keene-Flint 05 (History Department Conference Room)

This seminar will discuss “Battles of Public Memory,” chapter 3 of Ana Lucia Araujo’s book manuscript Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past. In this chapter, Araujo argues that public memory is a political and racialized mode of engagement with the slave past. Analyzing examples from England and the United States, she explains how activists, associations, individual citizens, and sometimes academics occupy the public sphere to demand public powers to give visibility to slavery in the public space. These demands certainly addressed the need of recognizing the deep involvement of Britain and the United States in the slave trade and slavery. Yet, in due course, these social actors exposed the pervasiveness of white supremacy, deeply embedded in the urban landscapes of these societies, by also fighting the persistence of racism and racial inequalities.

This academic seminar is open to UF faculty, graduate students, and enrolled advanced undergraduate students.

Please RSVP with any dietary restrictions by October 23rd to: An email reply confirming your participation will include a draft of the chapter under discussion.

Speaker Series Information

These events are organized by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere with support from the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, George A. Smathers Libraries, Office of Research, UF International Center, Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), Bob Graham Center for Public Service, Department of Political Science, Center for African Studies, Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, Center for Latin American Studies, African American Studies Program, School of Art and Art History, Department of Philosophy, Samuel Procter Oral History Program, Department of History, UF Chief Diversity Officer, Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities (Jack Davis), Hyatt and Cici Brown Chair of History (Sean Adams)

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