JCB Fellow's Talk: Jody Benjamin

September 13, 2017 - 4:00pm

Jody Benjamin (University of California-Riverside), Ruth and Lincoln Ekstrom Fellow

"The Texture of Change: Cloth, Commerce and History in West Africa, 1700-1850"

Historical change in western Africa during the 18th century is largely viewed in terms of the Atlantic slave trade and its impact. Proposing a global historical framework as an alternative, this talk focuses on textile trade and consumption in a broad region from Senegal to Sierra Leone, emphasizing a multi-centric perspective that accounts for dynamics internal to Africa and the impact of African consumers on actors as far away as Europe, Rhode Island and Calcutta, India. This talk shows how documents at the John Carter Brown library illuminate the impact of a regional African indigo cloth economy to wider commercial exchanges, that of India as a source of textiles desired by African merchants, and that of the Indian Ocean generally to West African and Atlantic networks.


The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30 p.m.