Bonner on Frederick Douglass’s Compressed, Expanding World | @AAIHS

Christopher Bonner writes:

“As Douglass saw it, technological development enhanced political work. Steamships brought news from Europe in as few as fifteen days, which struck him as an immediate kind of knowledge that allowed a localized movement to exert a broad and seemingly instant influence. “A revolution now cannot be confined to the place or the people where it may commence, but flashes with lightning speed from heart to heart, from land to land, till it has traversed the globe.” News of France’s revolution moved “like a bolt of living thunder,” and cast “a ray of hope” into the dark corners of “American slave pens” inspiring the oppressed to join a struggle against tyranny in its diverse manifestations. Maritime technology, electric wiring, and print culture gave France’s revolution that broad power. Douglass’s own commentary made the revolution an Atlantic phenomenon, as he framed it as an attack on American slaveholders. “Thank God for the event! Slavery cannot always reign.”

We are living in the world Douglass invoked, defined by instantaneous communication, uncontainable ideas, and the complicated power of technology…”

Read the rest: Frederick Douglass’s Compressed, Expanding World | AAIHS

REVIEW: Johnson on STN’s 18th Century French Book Trade Database

“Europeans Purchasing a Slave Woman, late 18th cent.,” Guillaume Raynal, Histoire Philosophique et Politique . . . des Europeens dans les Deux Indes (Geneva, 1780), vol. 7, p. 377. (Copy at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University) Image Reference H005 as shown on, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

From The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe website:

The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project uses database technology to map the trade of the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), a celebrated Swiss publishing house that operated between 1769 and 1794.

As the STN sold the works of other publishers alongside its own editions, their archives can be considered a representative source for studying the history of the book trade and dissemination of ideas in the late Enlightenment.

Using state of the art database, web interface and GIS technology, the project provides a user-friendly resource for use by scholars, teachers and students of French literature and history, book history, the Enlightenment and bibliography more generally…

Continue reading “REVIEW: Johnson on STN’s 18th Century French Book Trade Database”

DIGITAL: Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive

Spanning nearly 5,000 years and documenting virtually all forms of media, the Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive is an unprecedented research project devoted to the systematic investigation of how people of African descent have been perceived and represented in art.

Started in 1960 by Jean and Dominique de Mänil in reaction to the continuing existence of segregation in the United States, the Archive contains photographs of approximately 30,000 works of art, each one of which is extensively documented and categorized by the Archive’s staff. For the first thirty years of the project’s existence, the project focused on the production of a prize-winning, four-volume series of generously illustrated books, The Image of the Black in Western Art.

Since moving to Harvard in 1994, the project is focused on the production of the final volume of The Image of the Black in Western Art and expanding access to the Archive itself (prior to its arrival at Harvard, the Archive was only available to scholars working on the published volumes). The Institute hosts conferences, fellowships for scholars, seminars, and exhibitions on issues raised by the Archive, including the African American Art Conference in 2004.

via Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive | W.E.B. Du Bois Institute.  A selection of documents are available online via ArtStor ($$)

CONF: Endangered Archives Workshop 2010

*Endangered Archives Workshop 2010
Harriet Tubman Institute, York University, Canada
Saturday, January 23 *

* *

With the explosive use of computers in recent decades, a growing number
of researchers have been involved in the preservation of endangered
archival documents through digital means. Accordingly, there are
researchers funded by various significant bodies currently working in
Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
and other parts of the world. The Endangered Archives Workshop will
bring together researchers to discuss their digital projects and
findings. The Workshop will provide a venue for participants to discuss
various issues that will enable aspiring and active researchers to
manage digital projects. Issues to be discussed include implementing
digital standards, preparing grant applications and purchasing digital
equipment and computer software. The Workshop ends with a session on
website development, public outreach and publishing options available to
researchers so that they may disclose their findings to various audiences.

The workshop will be held in 305 York Lanes, York University.

9:30-9:45 Welcome Remarks: Paul E. Lovejoy, Director, Harriet Tubman
Institute, York University

9:45-11:00* Session I*: Presentation of Digital Projects by Members of
the Organizing Committee

Mohammed Bashir Salau, “Northern Nigeria: Precolonial Documents
Preservation Scheme”

· Yacine Daddi Addoun, “Ibadi Private Libraries in the Mzab Heptapolis,

*· *Ismael Musah Montana, *”**Preservation of Endangered Historical
Records in the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) in
Tamale, Northern Ghana***

· Paul Lovejoy, “*Before the War, after the War: Preserving History in
Sierra Leone”***

· Mariza de Carvalho Soares, “Projeto Acervo Digital Angola-Brasil”

· Jane Landers, “/Ecclesiastical Sources and Historical Research on the
African diaspora in Brazil and Cuba”/

· Carlos Franco Liberato, “Endangered African diaspora Collections of
the State of Pará in the Amazon Region of Brazil”

*· *Pablo Gomez,* *”*Creating a Digital Archive of Afro-Colombian
History and Culture: Black Ecclesiastical, Governmental and Private
Records from the Chocó, Colombia”***

· Oscar Grandío Moragúez, “Digitisation of Endangered African diaspora
Collections at the Major Archives of the Province of Matanzas, Cuba”**

· Nadine Hunt, “Inventory of Archival Holdings in Jamaica”**

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-12:00 *Session II*: Presentation of Forthcoming Digital Projects
with Ismael Musah Montana

· Karen Needles, Director, “Lincoln Archives Digital Project”

· Anna St. Onge, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, York
University, “/I published my paper//: now what?/ The Final Step Towards
the Preservation of Research Materials for Posterity”

· Meley Mulugetta Bezzabeh, York University, “Identifying Endangered
Manuscript Collections in the Enderta and Säharti Regions of Tigray
(Ethiopia) and Digitizing the Entire Library of the Church of Kidanä
Mehrät in the Town of Mekelle”

· Jane Landers, Vanderbilt University, “St. Augustine Project”

12:00-12:30 *Session III*: Administrative Matters with Carlos Algandona

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:15 *Session IV*: Technological Equipment with Carlos Franco
Liberato and Pablo Gomez

2:15-3:15 *Session IV*: Pilot versus Major Digital Project with Oscar
Grandío Moragúez and Mariza de Carvalho Soares

3:15-3:30 Coffee Break

3:30-4:00 *Session V*: Cataloguing and Metadata Update with Yacine Daddi
Addoun and Nadine Hunt

4:00-5:00 *Session VI*: Website Development, Public Outreach and
Publishing with Jane Landers, Paul Lovejoy and Mohammed Bashir Salau

· Mariza de Carvalho Soares, Universidade Federal Fluminense,
“Ecclesiastical Sources in Slave Societies: Brazil”

· Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec, Université Sherbrook, “Histoires d’Esclaves
dans le monde atlantique français”

5:00-5:30: Rump Session/Discussion and closing remarks

Please RSVP by sending an e-mail to Asif Mohammed <>.

_Workshop Organizing Committee:
_Yacine Daddi-Addoun
<;, York

Pablo Gomez
Vanderbilt University
Oscar Grandío Moragúez
York University

Ismael Musah Montana
Northern Illinois University

Nadine Hunt <;,
York University
Carlos Franco Liberato
<;, York
University and Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil* *

Jane G. Landers <;,
Vanderbilt University

Paul E. Lovejoy
<;, York
Mohammed Bashir Salau
University of Mississippi

Mariza de Carvalho Soares
<;, Universidade
Federal Fluminense

CONF: First International Conference on African Digital Libraries & Archives

July 1-3, 2009

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

From the website:

Africa as a continent is lagging far behind in the global drive to build digital libraries and archives. As a continent, it has not engaged in any significant discussions and dialogue on strategy and policy for preserving and accessing its resources in digital form. There is urgency to these policy discussions as major digital initiatives involving African content are currently being undertaken by non-African organisations without widely accepted protocol and agreement on issues of ownership of intellectual property rights, local African access rights, and long term sustainability. The aim of the conference is to: bring together key African and international stakeholders to discuss critical policy issues and explore approaches and challenges facing Africa in relation to the digitisation of African resources; and promote ways of strengthening, coordinating and forging stronger links between African digitisation initiatives, networks, projects and policies.

For more information contact

Resource: Aluka, the Digital Library of Scholarly Resources from and about Africa

Aluka is an international, collaborative initiative building a digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa. Today there are three collections that are made available to educational, research, and cultural institutions around the world. In 2008, Aluka became part of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization building trusted digital archives for scholarship. JSTOR makes available archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.  Aluka and the JSTOR archives are freely available in Africa.

Follow the Aluka blog here.

New Podcast: Africa Past & Present

The Africa Past & Present podcast is hosted by Michigan State University historians Peter Alegi and Peter Limb and is produced by MATRIX – The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online at MSU. Listen and subscribe to the fortnightly “Africa Past and Present” podcast at:

A new episode of Africa Past & Present – the podcast about history, culture, and politics in Africa – is now available at: In this episodes first segment, Peter Alegi reports on the exciting conclusion of the 2008 African Nations Cup in Ghana.

In the second segment, South African media scholar Sean Jacobs (University of Michigan) discusses his blog Leo Africanus (, and shares his insights on the relationship between media and democracy in Africa.

(Courtesy: H-Africa @

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Online

From the website:

Over 34,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1527 and 1866 that have been identified and verified to have actually occurred make up the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. Records of the voyages have been found in multiple archival sources which are listed in a variable in the dataset. These records provide details about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes. The database enables users to search for information about a particular voyage or group of voyages and it provides full interactive capability to analyze the data and report results in the form of statistical tables, graphs, maps, or on a timeline. In addition to information in the database itself, specific voyages are linked to images and to copies of primary sources in the “Resources” section, and “Educational materials” like lesson-plans are linked in turn to relevant voyages in the main database. Users are encouraged to compare findings from the main database with “Estimates” in the first section. The latter are somewhat higher because they represent an attempt to take into account the number of slaves on voyages for which information is lacking or not yet included in the main database.

The the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database is an invaluable resource for anyone doing research on the Atlantic African diaspora.

The website is still incomplete. There are empty links where crucial pages on methodology, authors, and lesson plans will be. There also don’t appear to be any author credits available yet. The Cambridge version for the CD-ROM is only a touch better, describing the CD-ROM “a data set compiled by respected historians and draws on the archival work of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, English, and French scholars” without mentioning a single one anywhere on their site. To actually know that this is phenomenal work of David Eltis, David Richardson, Stephen Behrendt and Herbert Klein (and many research assistants) or that the project was sponsored by the W. E. B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University, requires some Google searching.

All that said, that this extensive database is now accessible online, not just on CD-ROM, is very exciting.

Visit the website (hopefully completed soon) here.

[Update:  The site should be completed and open to the public; the above link is working fine.  Thank you for the emails and comments of concern!]