Monday, July 30, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Frances Smith Foster and Clay Carson to Share Gittler Prize
Oct. 26, 2011FacebookTwitterPrintEmailShare
An Emory University authority on African American family life and slavery narratives and a Stanford University expert on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will share Brandeis University’s third Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize for outstanding and lasting contributions to racial, ethnic and religious relations.
Emory Professor Emerita Frances Smith Foster has published more than a dozen books and numerous articles, many of which pioneered research and challenged existing ideas. A fellow of the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project at Brandeis, she will meet with members of the campus community, receive the prize and deliver her prize lecture on Nov. 28 and 29.
Stanford historian Clayborne Carson is the director of the King Papers Project, which has produced six volumes of a comprehensive edition of King’s speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications and unpublished writings. He will visit campus to receive his prize and deliver a lecture on Feb. 13 and 14…
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A fascinating, unsettling look at a slave’s life
“The African American Odyssey of John Kizell: A South Carolina Slave Returns to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland,” by Kevin G. Lowther, University of South Carolina Press, 300 pages, $39.95.
This year’s 150th anniversary commemoration of the Civil War has naturally focused on race, and has brought forth a number of biographies of slaves in mid-19th century America.
Of course slavery in North America had a long history prior to that wrenching conflict, including a nationally identifying moment when the social and political dynamics were remarkably complex.
Despite popular impressions of Patriots marching in unison to throw off British rule, our Revolution was very much an internal conflict, as Tories who favored the status quo comprised as much as one-third of the colonial population.
That is the setting for Kevin G. Lowther’s fascinating biography of John Kizell, a West African who experienced slavery on two continents during a time of shattering economic and political change.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Review: Race and Slavery in the Middle East (2010) edited by Terrance Waltz and Kenneth Cuno. The American University Press in Cairo, Cairo, New York
“This momentous study in the histories of black Africans in nineteenth century Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Mediterranean is compelling in passages. It is also, at times, oddly disengaged. Editors Terrance Walz and Kenneth Cuno, respectively the authors of Trade Between Egypt and Bilad Al-Sudan, 1700-1820, and The Pasha’s Peasants: Land, Society and Economy in Lower Egypt, construe a marked difference in construct between institutionalised plantation slavery in the Americas and the domestic slavery — wet-nurses and eunuchs of the harems — so prevalent in Ottoman North Africa and the Middle East. The latter’s slaves fall into a category that in the United States was once pejoratively dismissed as “House Niggers”. Blacks in North Africa and the Middle East were musicians and magicians, fortune-tellers and soldiers of fortune.
Yet there is no escaping the fact that in numerous contemporary colloquial Arabic dialects the word for “blacks” and “slaves” is simultaneously both interchangeable and indistinguishable. The term “abd” is at once “slave” and “a black person” in contemporary Middle Eastern Arabic dialects. “A near-consensus is apparent among the contributors on the popular association of Africans’ colour and origin — here perceived ‘blackness’ and sub-Saharan origin — with servile status. This obviously was a consequence of the large proportion of slaves who were trans-Saharan Africans.”
The linguistic connotation differs somewhat in North Africa where a curious consciousness in the deep recesses of the collective memory of North African peoples harks back to a time when blacks were the primeval precedence and preeminence. Egyptians might refer to blacks pejoratively as “barabra” — barbarians, but never as an “abd” — slave. The preferred term, curiously both pejorative and endearing is “samara” — darkie…”
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