Portrait of Ana Lucia Araujo

Ana Lucia Araujo is an American social and cultural historian and art historian writing transnational and comparative history. Currently, she is a Full Professor of History at the historically black Howard University in Washington DC, United States. She was trained in Brazil, Canada, and France with a PhD in History and Social and Historical Anthropology (2007), a PhD in Art History (2004), an MA in History (1998), and a BA in Visual Arts (1995). Her CV is available here.

Araujo’s work explores the history of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade and their present-day legacies, including the long history of calls for reparations for slavery and colonialism. Her research also examines the memory, heritage, and visual culture of slavery. Araujo writes, speaks, and publishes in English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish and her work has been translated into German and Dutch. Her scholarship has been internationally recognized through fellowships, awards, and professional offices.

In 2023, Carnegie Corporation New York named Araujo “Great Immigrant, Great American,” an annual list honoring the contribution of naturalized citizens to democracy and America. A recipient of a Getty Residential Senior Scholar Grant, she spent the first semester of 2023 at the Getty Research Institute, in Los Angeles, CA. In Spring 2022, she was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute of Advanced Study (funding provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation), Princeton, NJ. She was also awarded the Franklin Research Grant of the American Philosophical Society (2021/22).

Araujo has two new books coming out soon:

The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (Cambridge University Press, 2024) will be available in Europe in November 2023 and in the United States in December 2023. The explores how European-made luxurious artifacts, including objects that incorporate formal and symbolic elements found in West African and West Central African artifacts, shaped the interactions between Africans and Europeans during the era of the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism. The book follows the trajectory of a ceremonial sword given by a French ship captain to a local agent of the Kingdom of Ngoyo on the Loango coast, which later was found in Dahomey, from where it was looted by the French troops at the end of the nineteenth century.

Her book Humans in Shackles: An Atlantic History of Slavery in the Americas (University of Chicago Press) will be published in September 2024. The book is a hemispheric and narrative history of slavery in the Americas. A trade academic book intended for general readers, Humans in Shackles places Brazil (the country that imported the largest number of enslaved Africans in the Americas), the African continent, slave resistance, and enslaved women at the center of this painful history.

Also a new revised and expanded edition of her book Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History will be published by Bloomsbury in November 2023.

Since 2017, Araujo has been a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO “Routes of Enslaved Peoples” Project (former Slave Route Project). She is also a member of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Scholarly Advisory Board and an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, London, UK.  In 2019, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris VIII, France, and will be a visiting fellow at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam in 2023. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition and of the advisory board of the Memory Studies Association. Previously, she served on the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review, the flagship journal of the American Historical Association(2019-2023), on the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association (2016-2020), and on the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (2019-2022).

Araujo has lectured in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, France, England, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa. An author and editor of over fifteen books, her recent books include Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past (Bloomsbury, 2020), named one of the “Best Black History Books” of 2020 by Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society and Museums and Atlantic Slavery (part of the Museums in Focus series) published by Routledge in April 2021. Her Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (2017) examines from a transnational perspective the long history of the demands of reparations for slavery and the slave trade in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. 

Currently, Araujo has three book projects in progress: The Power of Art: The World Black Artists Made in the Americas (under contract with Cambridge University Press), Global Slavery: A Visual History (under contract with Bloomsbury), and Oceans of Sorrow: The French Trade in Enslaved Africans (in preparation).

Engaging with the public is an important dimension of Araujo’s work. Her opinion articles and reviews in English and Portuguese appeared in Slate, the Washington Post, Newsweek, History News Network, Intercept Brasil, and the Brazilian magazine Ciência Hoje. Her work has been featured in several media outlets in the United States, Portugal, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. 

In 2023, Araujo created and launched the #Slaveryarchive Digital Initiative. Based on its own social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, the initiative now gives a permanent space to the #slaveryarchive posts. The #Slaveryarchive Digital Initiative is intended to educate the public about the history of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade and will also promote scholarship in this field via book talks on video, a podcast, book reviews, syllabi, and annual book lists.