Book Talk: Ana Lucia Araujo’s The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism
**This event is in-person at Humanities Quadrangle, 320 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511 RM 276 and virtually via Zoom
Ana Lucia Araujo (Professor of History, Howard University) in conversation with Cécile Fromont (Professor of History of Art, Yale University)
about Professor Araujo’s book, The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (Cambridge University Press, 2024)
Sponsored by the Yale University Department of the History of Art, Department of History, and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center
The Gift explores how objects of prestige contributed to cross-cultural exchanges between Africans and Europeans during the Atlantic slave trade. An eighteenth-century silver ceremonial sword, commissioned in the port of La Rochelle by French traders, was offered as a gift to an African commercial agent in the port of Cabinda (Kingdom of Ngoyo), in twenty-first century Angola. Slave traders carried this object from Cabinda to Abomey, the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey in twenty-first century’s Republic of Benin, from where French officers looted the item in the late nineteenth century. Drawing on a rich set of sources in French, English, and Portuguese, as well as artifacts housed in museums across Europe and the Americas, Ana Lucia Araujo illuminates how luxury objects impacted European–African relations, and how these economic, cultural, and social interactions paved the way for the European conquest and colonization of West Africa and West Central Africa.