Two 2011-2012 Internationales Geisteswissenschaftliches Kolleg (IGK) Fellows at the Humboldt University of Berlin are developing projects related to slavery in Africa and the Americas. From the website:
Martin Klein is professor emeritus from the University of Toronto, where he taught African history. For most of the last forty years he has been doing research on the history of slavery and the slave trade within Africa. His most recent projects have been research into African sources for the history of slavery and the slave trade and efforts to look at slavery in a broad comparative perspective.
His project at the International Research Center involves a comparative study of slavery in West Africa. He intends to start with two questions – first, the different forms of slavery that emerged in the cities and factories that serviced the slave trade and the commodity trade that succeeded it; and second, the way the struggle for the control of labor after start of the emancipation process influenced the life options of former slaves.
Henrique Espada Lima is professor in the Department of History at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil), where he teaches, supervises and conducts research on historiography and contemporary labor history. His first schooling was in psychology and he has a Masters degree in literature (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 1993) and a doctorate in history (Universidade de Campinas, 1999). He has done research in the areas of contemporary historiography and micro-history as well as labor history, focusing on the lives of ex-slaves in nineteenth-century Brazil. He was coordinator of the Brazilian Academic Network of Labor Historians from 2007 to 2010.
His project at the International Research Center will focus on reconstructing the trajectories of individuals, families and groups of freed African slave workers and their descendants in a southern Brazilian locality – the Island of Santa Catarina – by delving into notarial and parochial records as well as judicial records (civil and criminal) and postmortem inventories. His research will examine and reconstruct these trajectories, focusing on the numerous strategies employed by these men and women in order to free themselves from slavery and assign meaning and content to the “freedom” they achieved. Special attention will be paid to the generational transits and the various labor and freedom arrangements as viewed through the lifecycles of individuals and families. The period covered by the research goes from approximately 1830 to 1900, focusing on the Brazilian slave system’s long-term process of disaggregation as well as on the first decade after emancipation, which came about in 1888. Finally, inspired by a growing scholarship in the field of labor history that proceeds from a global and transnational perspective and employing a micro-historical approach, his research will discuss a wide array of questions that focus on the blurred boundaries between “slavery” and “freedom”.
The International Research Center (IGK) “conducts research into work with a special focus on work as a concept and on its performativity.” Read more about the center here and fellows here.