Dubois is the Marcello Lotti Professor of History and Romance Studies at Duke University. He is a world-renowned expert on the Haitian Revolution, the French Empire, and the Enlightenment in a global perspective. His most recent manuscript, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, (featured in the New York Times Review of Books) studies independent Haiti and focuses on the historical roots of contemporary society. Professor Dubois is also the founder of the popular Soccer Politics Blog (http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/author/wcwp/) and co-founder of the Haiti Lab at Duke University (http://www.fhi.duke.edu/labs/haiti-lab ).
Dubois’s lecture will argue that today, the banjo’s sound is synonymous with country, folk, and bluegrass. For many, it’s the quintessential American instrument. Yet its origin, he reveals, lies in Africa, in various instruments featuring skin drum heads and gourd bodies. His lecture proposes that the banjo offers a powerful way to understand the broader processes of exchange, crossings, and creolization in the Atlantic World and the Americas. By listening and watching the banjo, we get a different perspective on the idea of "America," one that emphasizes the ways in which our culture has been shaped by constant crossings between Africa, the Caribbean, and North America over the past centuries.
What is the Atlantic World?
Since the post-war period, historians have acknowledged that one of the most fruitful means to understand the history of the Americas, Europe, and Africa, is to study their intrinsic connections with one another, prevalent since the 16th century. The field of Atlantic World history studies the circulation of people, objects, and ideas between these three areas, and the Atlantic Ocean which connects them.
What is the Atlantic World History program?
Aimed at talented and qualified students from around the world, the NEW Atlantic World concentration of the History M.A. at East Carolina University offers training in a variety of related fields across a range of temporal specializations, with interdisciplinary options also available. The program qualifies its graduates to pursue PhDs in the Atlantic World, and potentially in numerous subfields, such as European, American, Caribbean, African, and Latin American history, International Relations, and African & African American Studies. The Atlantic World history concentration at ECU also provides training in academic and practical skills tailored to meet the needs of teachers, public servants, and business leaders operating in a trans-Atlantic and global environment.
The lecture is free and open to the public. It opens the Atlantic World Speaker Series at ECU. A following set of lectures, by Drs Julia Gaffield and Jeremy Popkin, will be held in November on the theme “The French in Haiti after 1804.”
For more information about the lecture, and the Atlantic World History program at ECU, please contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Anoush Terjanian, Department of History, East Carolina University, TerjanianA@ecu.edu, 252.328.6093