Ana Lucia Araujo, PhD, FRHistS, is a Professor of History. A social and cultural historian, her transnational and comparative research explores the history and the memory of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery and their present social and cultural legacies. Her research interests include reparations for slavery, as well as public memory, heritage, visual culture, and the material culture of slavery. She wrote and extensively published on these themes in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Her work was translated into German and Dutch as well. She lectures and presents her work in these languages in the United States and other countries including Brazil, Argentina, England, France, South Africa, the Republic of Benin, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
Professor Araujo was awarded a Getty Residential Senior Scholar Grant at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA, US from January to June 2023. She was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute of Advanced Study (funding provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation), Princeton, NJ in Spring 2022. She also received the Franklin Research Grant of the American Philosophical Society (2021/22). The fellowship and the grants are supporting research for her book project The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (under contract with Cambridge University Press). Her research was also supported by various other agencies in Brazil, and Canada, including the Fonds de recherche Société et Culture (Canada), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Brazil), and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, Brazil).
She is also a member of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Scholarly Advisory Board.
In 2019, Professor Araujo was a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris VIII, France. In 2017, she joined the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition and a member of the advisory board of the Memory Studies Association. She was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association (2016-2020) and of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (2019-2022).
Professor Araujo just finished writing the book manuscript Humans in Shackles: An Atlantic History of Slavery in the Americas (under contract with the University of Chicago Press). The book is a hemispheric and narrative history of slavery in the Americas. An academic trade book for general readers Humans in Shackles places Brazil (the country that imported the largest number of enslaved Africans in the Americas), the African continent, and enslaved women at the center of this painful history. She is also working on an academic book manuscript titled The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (under contract with Cambridge University Press). Relying on her previous work that examined gift exchanges between rulers of Portugal and Dahomey, this book explores how European-made luxurious artifacts, including goods that incorporate formal and symbolic elements found in West African and West Central African artifacts, shaped the interactions between Africans and Europeans during the era of the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism. To tell this story, she follows the trajectory of a ceremonial knife given by a French ship captain to a local agent of the Kingdom of Ngoyo on the Loango coast, which later was found in Dahomey, from where it was looted by the French troops at the end of the nineteenth century.
Her recent book Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past (Bloomsbury, 2020) relies on examples from West Africa, Brazil, the United States, France, and England to explore how different modalities of memory (collective, public, cultural, official) shape the ways slavery is memorialized in various societies where slavery existed or that participated in the Atlantic slave trade. She shows that the current debates around slavery are more than simple attempts to come to terms with the past, but rather reveal how the memory of slavery is racialized and framed by white supremacy.
Her other recent book Museums and Atlantic Slavery (part of the Museums in Focus series) was published by Routledge in April 2021. Exploring how slavery, the Atlantic slave trade, and enslaved people are represented through words, visual images, artifacts, and audiovisual materials in museums in Europe and the Americas, the book will help readers to recognize how depictions of human bondage in museums and exhibitions often fail to challenge racism and white supremacy inherited from the period of slavery.
Her previous book Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History is the first monograph to present a narrative history of the demands of financial, material, and symbolic reparations for slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. It explores a myriad of written primary sources in several languages, including abolitionist pamphlets, parliamentary debates, petitions by former slaves, newspaper articles, congressional bills, as well as public discourses by black activists and politicians in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The various chapters examine the multiple dimensions of the demands of reparations, including the period of slavery, the emancipation era, the post-abolition period, and the present. Professor Araujo is preparing a revised and expanded edition of this book, under contract with Bloomsbury.
Her other single-authored are Brazil Through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics (2015), which is a revised and expanded English version of her book Romantisme tropical (2008). A Portuguese version of this book, translated by her, was published by the press of the University of São Paulo, as Romantismo tropical: Um pintor francês nos trópicos in 2017, Shadows of the Slave Past: Memory, Heritage and Slavery (2014), and Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic (2010). She also edited or co-edited African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic (2015), Politics of Memory: Making Slavery Visible in the Public Space (2012), Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Interactions, Identities and Images (2011), and Living History: Encountering the Memory of the Heirs of Slavery (2009). She co-edited Crossing Memories: Slavery and African Diaspora with Paul E. Lovejoy and Mariana P. Candido (2011).
Professor Araujo conducted fieldwork and archival research in Brazil, the Republic of Benin, Canada, France, England, Belgium, and the United States. Engaging with the public is an important dimension of Professor Araujo's work. Her opinion articles in English and Portuguese appeared in the Washington Post, Newsweek, History News Network, Intercept Brasil, and the Brazilian magazine Ciência Hoje. Her work has been featured in several media outlets in the United States, Portugal, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France, and the Netherlands.
Professor Araujo is willing to supervise M.A theses and Ph.D. dissertations focusing on the history of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery, memory and heritage of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade, material culture, and visual culture of slavery, reparations for slavery, and the history of the African diaspora in the Americas, especially Brazil and its connections with West Africa.
An overview of her work can be found on her personal website.