The Coromantee War: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt
Prof. Vincent Brown (Harvard)
Prof. Vincent Brown’s Muhlenberg lecture “The Coromantee War: Charting the Course of an Atlantic Slave Revolt” (May 30, 6.30 pm) will address the environmental and spatial history of militancy in the early modern Atlantic world. Enslaved Africans from the Gold Coast, known widely as “Coromantees,” staged a dramatic series of conspiracies and revolts in the seventeenth and eighteenth-century Americas. The Jamaican revolt of 1760-1761, commonly called Tacky’s Revolt, was among the largest and most consequential.
Historians of colonial slavery have been careful to show the impact of events and decisions made in Europe on patterns of New World development, but, with a few notable exceptions, we have a much weaker understanding of how African social, political, and military history has shaped the Atlantic world. The scholarship that exists in this area has focused primarily on cultural continuities between Africans and African Americans, and much less on the influence of specific social trends and political events. By examining the 1760-61 Jamaican revolt in the context of a series of insurrections between 1675 and 1775, The Coromantee War will show how events in Africa reverberated through the Atlantic, thereby joining African, European, and American history.
Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies, is a multi-media historian with a keen interest in the political implications of cultural practice. He directs the History Design Studio and teaches courses in Atlantic history, African diaspora studies, and the history of slavery. Brown is the author of The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2008) and producer of an audiovisual documentary about the anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens. He is currently writing a book about African diasporic warfare in the Americas.