F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

Brandice Walker

Research Project/OAR:
Re-writing or Telling the Story from an Original Point of View
Many of the attitudes expressed on Indigenous and/or traditional African belief systems have been shaped by the accounts of biased and ignorant (of the peoples colonized) documentations. These poor accounts have been challenged throughout time, yet, there still remain misconceptions, falsehoods, misunderstandings, and other sentiments that have been left by the way in which traditional belief systems have been documentedin particular, the original way and lens from which they were documented. Some of the goals of this project are to:
  • Provide a database of customs, traditions, theories and practical usage for African spiritual traditions that were brought to the Americas;
  • Offer a matrix-style compilation of the information for easy cross-referencing by country and language;
  • Give the voice of authority on these various belief systems back to the people from which it was taken. Seek out elders, families, communities who have visibly continued traditional practices without practicing Christianity or Catholicism;
  • Explore the challenges posed by syncretized practices in the Americas in trying to complete the previous task; and
  • Compare the original (colonial) documentation with that of the re-compilation and show where errors have been made and how to go about re-teaching the subject by those qualified to speak on the matter.
It is evident that this project will be collaborative. The project would require participation from Africa and the African diaspora in the Americas.  Organization methods will need to be established, however some of the categories (which will also help in utilizing the completed project) may include present-day country, language, the African peoples who originally practiced them, and/or whether the religion was syncretized. There are many parties for whom this project could be beneficial, and it would be designed for use in a variety of contexts both inside and outside of academia. However, I see this more as a pedagogical tool to give younger generations of Black peoples an(other) opportunity and technological resource to learn their history and culture from a more, if not the most, appropriate sources.


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