Week 1

T- Introduction and Understanding History

R- Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade & Africa

Readings: Saidiya Hartman “Tribe of the Middle Passage” and excerpt_The_Interesting Life_of_Olaudah_Equiano, 29-63.

1.What is the plot of Equiano’s ‘Interesting Narrative’?

2. Before Equiano was captured, what do we learn about his people?  How does he identify himself?  How did he understand “race”?  Did “race” play a role in the capture of Africans for the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

3. Using Equiano’s story, what do we learn about slavery in Africa?  How does Equiano interact with his slave masters?  How does Equiano understand his racial, ethnic, or national identity as compared to his masters in Africa?

4. What does Equiano think when he sees ‘white people’ for the first time?  What does his experience tell us about ‘race’ and slavery and the slave trade in Africa?

“The Tribe of the Middle Passage”

•How might this chapter inform you of  (some) African Americans’ relationship with the Africa, particularly W. Africa?
•What does Hartman’s chapter suggest about African Americans’ sense of “inheritance”? And how is this different than the traditional US narrative as a “Nation of Immigrants”?