Accepted Paper:

Mapping who you are: the use of geographical references in slave narrative in central Sudan in the 19th century  


Camille Lefebvre (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

Geographical references are a common feature of slave narratives from 19th century Central Sudan. Narration of self seems in this context intricately combined to a geographical frame. This paper will question this relation between geography, narrative of self and slavery.

Paper long abstract:

Stating your origin, describing the area you visited or listing the places where you have been taken or sold, appears to be a common feature of slave narratives collected in 19th century from people from central Sudan. If the interest of the collectors for the geography of this area introduces a bias, it doesn't change the fact that these slaves or ex-slaves remembered long lists of places and itineraries sometime several decades after having left the area. The memorization of geographical data and travel accounts are part of the oral practices in this area in 19th century, most of the time linked to professional practices. But in the case of slave narratives references to places and traveled routes seem to be part of a statement of whow you have been and whom you have become. This prominent feature of geographical information in these slave narratives call for an examination of the relation between geography, narrative of self and slavery in Central Soudan in 19th century.

Panel P161
Cultural productions in the context of slavery: slave narrative, narrative of the self and religious configurations