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. She was trained in Brazil, Canada, and France with a PhD in History and Social and Historical Anthropology (2007), a PhD in Art History (2004), an MA in History (1998), and a BA in Visual Arts (1995). Her past and present 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. She also 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. Her work was translated into German and Dutch as well.
A recipient of a Getty Residential Senior Scholar Grant, Professor Araujo was in residence 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 supported the research for her book The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2024). 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).
Since 2017, Professor Araujo is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO "Routes of Enslaved Peoples Project" (former Slave Route Project), and is also a member of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Scholarly Advisory Board. In 2019, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris VIII, France, and will be a research fellow of the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) in 2023. She serves on the Editorial Board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition and on the advisory board of the Memory Studies Association. In the recent past she served on the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review (the flagship journal of the American Historical Association from 2019 to 2023, the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association (2016-2020), and the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (2019-2022).
In 2023, Professor Araujo published The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism 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 sword 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 book Humans in Shackles: An Atlantic History of Slavery in the Americas will be published by the University of Chicago Press in October 2024. 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, resistance, and enslaved women at the center of this painful history.
A new revised and expanded edition of Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History, was published with Bloomsbury in November 2023. This book, whose first edition was published in 2017, is the first monograph to present a transnational narrative history of the demands of financial, material, and symbolic reparations for slavery and the Atlantic slave trade.
Her other recent books are:
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.
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.
Previous single-authored books include 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. Other single-authored books are 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).
Her current three book projects are The Power of Art: The World Black Artists Made in the Americas (under contract with Cambridge University Press), Global Slavery: A Visual History (under contract with Bloomsbury), and Oceans of Sorrow: The French Trade in Enslaved Africans (in preparation).
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 her work. Her opinion articles in English and Portuguese appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, 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.
She 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.
Since 2015, Professor Araujo has curated the hashtag #slaveryarchive on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and posts under this hashtag were aggregated on Tumblr until 2022. In 2023, Araujo created and launched the #Slaveryarchive Digital Initiative. Based on its own social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, the initiative now gives a permanent space to the #slaveryarchive posts. The #Slaveryarchive Digital Initiative is intended to educate the public about the history of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade and will also promote scholarship in this field via book talks on video, a podcast, book reviews, syllabi, and annual book lists.