Unfree memoriesUnfree Memories: Slavery and Materiality in the Atlantic World


Friday, February 22, 2019



Alexander Library, Fourth Floor, Scholarly Communications Center, Teleconference Lecture Hall

This one-day conference will re-examine the material remains of Atlantic slavery, focusing on new interpretations of archeological finds, transnational lines of communication, and the role of the digital humanities in producing knowledge. The conference will have three main themes: the challenge of interpreting difficult histories, creating transnational contexts for interpretation, and the memorialization of the material remains of slavery.


10:00AM Coffee

10:20 Introduction to the Day

10:30 Lúcio Menezes Ferreira “Archaeology Also Dances: African Diaspora and Spiritual Practices at Beef Jerky Plantations in Southern Brazil”

11:15 Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann “Materializing Resistance"

12:00 to 2:00PM Lunch break. Lunch will be provided for audience members, participants, and guests. Location: outside the lecture hall.

1:00 to 2:00PM Scarlet and Black tour of the Rutgers College Avenue Campus (optional)

2:00 Jillian E. Galle “The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery: A Case Study in Open Data and Collaboration in the Field of Archaeology”

2:45 Tea and Coffee break

3:00 Antoinette Jackson “Shattering Slave Life Portrayals: Michelle Obama’s Very American Story and the Challenge of Interpreting Difficult Histories”

3:45 Panel Discussion (led by Rui Gomes Coelho)

4:30 Reception


Contact Person for Logistics:  Carla Yanni This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Roster of Participants

Lucio Menezes Ferreira, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil


Ferreira is an archaeologist who works in the Brazilian/Uruguayan border, where he studies late colonial period and 19th century slavery and works with African-descent communities. He earned his Ph.D. in Cultural History at the Campinas State University in 2007. Since 2008 he is Professor of Archaeology at the Department of Anthropology of Federal University of Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He is also researcher at the Brazilian National Council of Scientific Research (Cap) and currently a visiting fellow at the University of Harvard and at the University of Illinois.

Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann, Hampshire College


Engmann is an archaeologist whose research interests include archaeological ethnography in Ghana, Islamic Material Culture, African Art/Material Culture, Slavery, African Diaspora, Colonial Photography, Public Archaeology, and Cultural Heritage, Museums and Development. Engmann received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Hampshire College and the director of the Christianborg Archaeological Heritage Project in Ghana.

Jillian E. Galle, Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation


Galle is a digital humanities expert who works on plantation slavery, African diaspora, and gender in the United States. She is interested in the application of digital technologies to archaeological research. Galle obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in 2006 and is currently the project director of the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Antoinette Jackson, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida


Jackson is a cultural anthropologist who works on the relationship between heritage and tourism, with a focus on African American and African diasporic culture in the United States and the Caribbean. Recent research includes heritage interpretation and race construction in antebellum plantations of the American south. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida, Gainesville in 2007 and is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida.