Portrait of Ana Lucia Araujo

Ana Lucia Araujo is an American social and cultural historian writing transnational and comparative history. Her work explores the history of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade and their present-day legacies, including the long history of demands of reparations for slavery and colonialism. She is interested in the memory, heritage, and visual culture of slavery. She writes, speaks, and publishes in English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish and her work has been translated into German and Dutch.

Currently, Araujo is a Full Professor of History at the historically black Howard University in the capital of the United States, Washington DC.

In 2022, she was awarded a Getty Residential Senior Scholar Grant and is spending the first semester of 2023 at the Getty Research Institute, in Los Angeles, CA. She also received other prestigious fellowships. 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). These fellowships and grants have supported the research for her book project The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism.

Araujo is a current member of the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review, the flagship journal of the American Historical Association. 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.

Araujo’s work has been internationally recognized. In 2019, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris VIII, France. Since 2017, she is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition, and a member of the advisory board of the Memory Studies Association. Previously, she was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association (2016-2020) and a member of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (2019-2022).

Araujo has authored and edited over thirteen books and published more than fifty articles and chapters on these themes. She also has lectured in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, France, England, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa. 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. The second revised and expanded edition of this book will be published by Bloomsbury in November 2023.

Araujo has two books coming out soon: The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism will be out with Cambridge University Press in 2024. The book 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. She 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 will be also published by University of Chicago Press in 2024. This trade academic book is a hemispheric and narrative history of slavery in the Americas. Intended for general readers, the book 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.

Araujo has three other projects in progress: The Power of Art: The World Black Artists Made in the Americas, Global Slavery: A Visual History, and Between two Oceans: France and the Trade in Enslaved Africans.

Engaging with the public is an important dimension of Araujo’s work. Her opinion articles 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.