Common Threads: Cloth, Color, and the Slave Trade in Early Modern Kongo and Angola
date: February 13, 2018
location: Villa La Pietra

Charting the origins and significance of the use of two types of specifically colored cloth in west central Africa, this lecture investigates visual, material, and social change in that region during the era of the slave trade. White uniforms worn by Christian church leaders and blue and white imported textiles, it argues, are two key examples that reveal how the inhabitants of the closely related regions of Kongo, Angola, and Loango welcomed and managed the novelties their sustained cross-cultural relations with Europeans and engagement in the slave trade ushered between the sixteenth and the nineteenth century. It reveals profound links between religion, power, and the slave trade and their bearing on central Africa from the early modern period to the eve of the colonial era.

Organized with the Acton Lectures.

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