Week 2

W 2 Jan 23&25

T- No class, Watch: Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North

R- Readings: How to End the Slavery Blame-Game – The New York TimesWhen It Comes to the Slave Trade, All Guilt Is Not Equal When It Comes to the Slave Trade.


1.What is the plot of Equiano’s ‘Interesting Narrative’?

2. Before Equiano was captured, what do we learn about his people?  How does he identify himself?  How did he understand “race”?  Did “race” play a role in the capture of Africans for the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

3. Using Equiano’s story, what do we learn about slavery in Africa?  How does Equiano interact with his slave masters?  How does Equiano understand his racial, ethnic, or national identity as compared to his masters in Africa?

4. What does Equiano think when he sees ‘white people’ for the first time?  What does his experience tell us about ‘race’ and slavery and the slave trade in Africa?

Gates vs Gomez 

5. Apologies for Slavery? Is it too late? Unnecessary? Should the descendants of slaves receive reparations?

Traces of the Trade:
6. How is this story different than the one you generally learn about slavery and the slave trade?

Saidiya Hartman:

7. How might this chapter inform you of  (some) African Americans’ relationship with the Africa, particularly W. Africa?
8. What does Hartman’s chapter suggest about African Americans’ sense of “inheritance”? And how is this different than the traditional US narrative as a “Nation of Immigrants”?