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Memories Of The Slave Trade Essay

1094 words - 5 pages

MEMORIES OF THE SLAVE TRADE (Rosalind Shaw)
“Memories of Slave Trade” challenges recurring claims that Africans felt and still feel no sense of moral obligation concerning the sale of slaves, Shaw traces memories of the slave trade in Temne-speaking communities in Sierra Leone. While the slave-trading past is infrequently recollected in explicit verbal accounts, it is frequently made vividly present in such structures as rogue spirits, ritual specialists' visions, and the symbolism of divination procedures.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork and archival exploration the author further contends that memories of the slave trade have molded experiences of colonialism and postcolonialism, and ...view middle of the document...

Memory is along these lines not contradictory to modernity (Nora 1989). Collected precolonial memories of the Atlantic slave exchange may be layered with memories of the colonial legitimate trade, as well as those of postcolonial civil war. Diverse historical encounters are subsequently sedimented in what she calls “palimpsest memories”. Since what happened later is inevitably molded by what happened before and understandings of what happened earlier in history are shaped by what happened thereafter, Shaw contends that memory pushes both advance and counter directionally in time (ibid.: 15).
Shaw makes the point that social and cultural practices that show up as “indigenous” and “bonafide” were actually forged in the long experience with Europe. Taking her prompt from prior deal with witchcraft (Geschiere 1997), she contends that from the earliest starting point capitalist modernity took plural forms in distinctive parts of the Atlantic world. In this entrepreneur framework depicted by the trade of human life for wealth and power divination is a manifestation of practical memory that reviews these exchanges. To illustrate this point, regular vignette is put forth: As a white British woman in a former British colony, she anticipated that will be connected with colonialism. At the point when speaking with a diviner who was to reveal to her cowrie shell divination, the seer let her know that she had an association with these articles and their forces: "You individuals are the managers of cowries", she said. "There is no compelling reason to show you" (ibid.: 43).Of course, the soothsayer was right about the historical connection between Europeans and cowries, which were brought from the Indian Ocean to West Africa to serve as currency in the slave trade.  This portrays that Shaw’s initiation into divination thus involved a revisiting of the slave trade.
The slave trade was fundamental in this locale. Right when English merchants supplanted the Portuguese in the eighteenth century, between 4,000 and 6,000 slaves were dispatched from Sierra Leone consistently. Despite the fact that Temne-speaking communities probably participated as middlemen in the Mande dominated slave trade, they too lived its consequences: the learning that bodies could become commodities through raiding rendered terror a taken-for-granted aspect of everyday life. Shaw contends that the scene has subsequently disguised dread and overlooked as history by enunciating the fact that History is sedimented in a memoryscape.
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