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Critical Race Conversations /

Critical Race Conversations: Reading, Writing, and Teaching Black Life and Anti-Black Violence in the Early Modern World

Organized by Jessica Marie Johnson, who is joined by Cécile Fromont

Originally recorded on March 18, 2021

Program Overview

Black life was central and vital to the early modern world. Anti-Black violence simultaneously and indelibly marked global interactions in this time and place. In this “Critical Race Conversation,” Drs. Johnson and Fromont will discuss what it means to center the African continent in our study of the “early modern”; they will consider how to grapple with and overcome the invisibility and disavowal of Black life in the early modern archive; they will share how students respond to these topics and what kinds of conversations this study engenders in both undergraduate and graduate classrooms.

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About the Speakers

This session is organized by Dr. Jessica Marie Johnson, an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the Johns Hopkins University. Johnson is a historian of Atlantic slavery and the Atlantic African diaspora. She is the author of Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). She is co-editor with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University) of Black Code: A Special Issue of the Black Scholar (2017), a collection of work exploring the field of Black Code Studies. As a historian, Johnson researches black diasporic freedom struggles from slavery to emancipation. As a digital humanist, Johnson explores ways digital and social media disseminate and create historical narratives, in particular, comparative histories of slavery and people of African descent.

Dr. Cécile Fromont is an Associate Professor in the History of Art Department at Yale University. Her writing and teaching focuses on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America and on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World. Her first book, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (University of North Carolina Press 2014) received a number of prizes, including the 2017 Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial Arnold Rubin Outstanding Book Award, the 2015 American Academy of Religion Best First Book in the History of Religions, and the 2015 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions. In 2020-2021, she is a fellow at the Paris Institute for Advanced Studies.