Conversations: The African Diaspora in the Caribbean
Associate Professor, History
University of South Carolina
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Time and Location
12:00pm, 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI
Pre-Colonial African history and Colonial Caribbean history were intimately linked by the bonded laborers that connected the two regions through building the Atlantic plantation complex. The Caribbean region imported more than three million enslaved Africans from the 16th to the 19th Century. While scholars have long recognized these economic, cultural, and social connections, putting these two fields of study—African Studies and Caribbean Studies–into a more direct dialogue has proved challenging. Framing analysis through the study of the African Diaspora, however, reveals convergences not only in the experience of the enslaved, but also the historical record that can be used to construct the histories of the two regions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Matt D. Childs is an Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolin. He is the author of The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle against Atlantic Slavery (2006), which was a finalist for the 2007 Frederick Douglass Book Prize and translated and published in Cuba in 2012. He has co-edited with Toyin Falola The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World (2005) and The Changing Worlds of Atlantic Africa: Essay in Honor or Robin Law (2009). And with Jorge Canizares-Esguerra and James Sidbury The Urban Black Atlantic during the Era of the Slave Trade.
James H. Sweet is Vilas-Jartz Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin, where he is also chair of the History department. He received his undergraduate and MA training at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and completed his PhD at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Sweet’s research and teaching interests range broadly across the history of Africa and the African diaspora. His book, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770 (2003) won the American Historical Association’s Wesley Logan prize for the best book on the history of the African diaspora in 2004. It was also a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize, awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University. His Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (2011) won the American Historical Association’s James A. Rawley prize for the best book in Atlantic history and most recently the 2012 Frederick Douglass Prize. Sweet is also the author of more than a dozen journal and book articles, as well as a co-edited volume (with Tejumola Olaniyan, UW English) entitled, The African Diaspora and the Disciplines (2010). He sits on editorial boards of three scholarly journals and is a book series editor at the University of Wisconsin Press. In addition to his scholarly work, Sweet has served as a consultant for the National Geographic Society, The History Channel, Kunhardt McGee Productions (PBS), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Mapungubwe Institute, and the Black Economic Empowerment Commission in South Africa.