Knowing when and where people came from within Africa, and when and where they went in diaspora, is a major research question affecting the history of the continent and the broader Atlantic world. My proposed solution is to initiate the process of creating the framework to standardize Africa’s geo-political history. Creating a broadly-accepted core of knowledge about the geographic, political and migratory history of Africa along a cartographic timeline will provide new insight, methods and solutions to research transformations to the continent, but also the origins of people absorbed into the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the history of the African diaspora. This talk will examine the current state of Digital Humanities in the discipline of African and African Diaspora History by focusing on approaches, strategies and challenges to integrating a proposed project called “West Africa Historical GIS” with the Liberated Africans Project, which will reconstruct widely dispersed archival evidence from a transnational collection of primary sources made by some of the world’s earliest international human rights courts.
These combined projects examine the enduring interest in the memory of slavery through evidence that allows rebuilding the life histories for tens of thousands of Liberated Africans throughout the Atlantic World. The long-term outcome will be a dynamic website to explore the history of antislavery and international human rights law, as well as the demography of the post-1807 trans-Atlantic slave trade, principally from the perspective of the Africans involved.
See below for a Storify recap of this Digital Dialogue, including live tweets and select resources referenced by Lovejoy during his talk.
Henry B. Lovejoy was awarded his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012. He completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia (2012-2014) and another Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas, Austin (2014-2015). He is currently a lecturer at McMaster University and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. He has published articles in The Journal of African History, Slavery & Abolition, Canadian Journal of African Studies, African Economic History, among other chapters in edited volumes. He expects his book project Slavery, Freedom and Empire: Juan Nepomuceno Prieto of the Lucumi Nation in Cuba during the Age of Revolution to be published in the “Envisioning Cuba” series with the University of North Carolina Press.