"AFRICAN MUSLIMS IN BRAZIL AND LATIN AMERICA: AN ANTERIOR HISTORY"
Wednesday, February 3rd
Part of the Silsila Spring 2021 Lecture Series, Translations
12.30-12.45 Introduction, Finbarr Barry Flood, Silsila/NYU
12.45-1.15 Michael Gomez, NYU, "African Muslims in the New World: A Context"
1.15-1.45 Margarita Rosa, Princeton University, "African Muslims and the Du’as of the 1835 Slave Revolt"
1.45-2.30 Questions and Discussion
Title: African Muslims in the New World: A Context
Abstract: This talk is prefatory in nature and intended to provide context for the main presentation. With that said, it is an overview of the Muslim presence in the Americas through the nineteenth century. Depending upon the place and period, that presence could be significant and impactful. Largely associated with Africans, free and enslaved, Islam has long been in the Americas, going back to the days of Columbus.
Bio: Michael Gomez is currently Silver Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, and the director of NYU’s newly-established Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD), having served as the founding director of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) from its inception in 2000 to 2007. He is also series editor of the Cambridge Studies on the African Diaspora, Cambridge University Press. He has chaired the History departments at both NYU and Spelman College, and also served as President of UNESCO's International Scientific Committee for the Slave Route Project from 2009 to 2011. His first book, Pragmatism in the Age of Jihad: The Precolonial State of Bundu (Cambridge University Press, 1992), examines a Muslim polity in what is now eastern Senegal. The next publication, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (University of North Carolina Press, 1998), is concerned with questions of culture and race. The edited volume, Diasporic Africa: A Reader (New York University Press, 2006), is more fully involved with the idea of an African diaspora, as is Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora (Cambridge University Press, 2005; second edition late 2019). The monograph Black Crescent: African Muslims in the Americas (Cambridge University Press, 2005) examines how African Muslims negotiated their bondage and freedom throughout the Americas, integrating Islamic Africa into the analysis. Gomez’s most recent book, African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa (Princeton University Press, 2018), is a comprehensive study of polity and religion during the region’s iconic moment, and was awarded the 2019 African Studies Association’s Book Prize (formerly the Herskovits Book Award), and the 2019 American Historical Association’s Martin A. Klein Prize in African History. Gomez supports the struggles of African people worldwide.
Title: African Muslims and the Du’as of the 1835 Slave Revolt
Abstract: Enslaved Black Muslims in Brazil organized a revolt that is one of the best recorded in the history of the Black Atlantic. What is most astounding about this revolt, launched on the 27th night of Ramadan in 1835, is that it was organized in secret madrasas all across the state of Bahia. Throughout this presentation, Rosa will explore the du’as (supplications or prayers) they left behind and the legacy of struggle they carved out for generations to come.
Bio: Margarita Rosa is a scholar of slavery and a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. Her research is on the legal history of slavery and carcerality, through which she explores the precarious lives of enslaved and incarcerated women, in particular. Rosa works closely with Dr. Jennifer Morgan, Professor of History within the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis here at NYU. Rosa’s early doctoral research is on enslaved Muslims in Latin America, with an emphasis on the manuscripts and archival fragments left behind by enslaved Muslim scholars and their students. She currently holds the Jacobus Dissertation Fellowship at Princeton University.