This panel will discuss how a variety of African and European social actors who participated in commercial and cultural transactions during the era of the Atlantic slave trade exchanged artifacts regarded as luxury goods during their interactions on the coasts of West Africa and West Central Africa as well as in Europe and the Americas. The papers discuss the material, financial, and symbolic significance of these artifacts for the actors involved in these exchanges. For example, European and American merchants provided local African rulers and officials with what they called “gifts” even though in various occasions such presents could be regarded as a form of tribute. African rulers also gave gifts to European rulers and traders. These presents included not only luxury goods, but also human beings. By discussing these cultural and economic exchanges, this panel seeks to understand how the different social actors who very often moved among the three continents involved in the Atlantic slave trade conceived the meanings of these objects.

Send your proposal containing a title and an abstract (maximum 200 words) should be submitted to Ana Lucia Araujo at aaraujo[at]howard.edu by Friday, March 6, 2020. Participants must also pre-register for the African Studies Association Annual Meeting by March 15, 2020.