Reconfiguring African trade beads: the most beautiful, bountiful and marginalised sculptural legacy to have survived the middle passage

Wood, Marcus (2016) Reconfiguring African trade beads: the most beautiful, bountiful and marginalised sculptural legacy to have survived the middle passage. In: Bernier, Celeste-Marie and Durkin, Hannah (eds.) Visualising slavery: art across the African diaspora. Liverpool studies in international slavery, 9 (9). Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, pp. 248-273. ISBN 9781781382677

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Abstract

The greatest cultural historian of beads Lydia Sciama dramatically instructs us that: ‘One cannot over-emphasise the importance of glass beads in the European colonization of a vast portion of the inhabited world.’ True words, and yet beads have been and continue to be shamefully and wilfully neglected within international slavery studies. Beads, whether of African, Asian or European manufacture remain peripheral, scarcely studied and hardly seen, let alone recognised as a unifying cultural entity within slavery studies, and indeed within the officially sanctioned sites for the memory of slavery. This chapter teaches us that how a culture now moves around beads and memory can tell you a lot about its creative health, its perceptual vigour, its aesthetic virtue, its artistic democracy, and its ability to understand slave aesthetics and art.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Africa brazil trade beads suncretic religion
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Gender Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0491 British West Africa
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0491 British West Africa > DT0507 Ashanti Empire
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0491 British West Africa > DT0509.97 Ghana (Gold Coast)
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0491 British West Africa > DT0515 Nigeria
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0491 British West Africa > DT0516 Sierra Leone
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0561 Cameroon (Cameroun, Kamerun)
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0591 Portuguese-speaking West Africa
D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast > DT0591 Portuguese-speaking West Africa > DT0613.42 Guinea-Bissau. Portuguese Guinea
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F2201 South America
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F2201 South America > F2501 Brazil
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts > NK1648 Religious art
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Depositing User: Marcus Wood
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 09:26
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2017 09:26
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67099
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