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  • Cited by 78
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2012
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
African Studies (121)

Book description

This book argues that Angola and Brazil were connected, not separated, by the Atlantic Ocean. Roquinaldo Ferreira focuses on the cultural, religious and social impacts of the slave trade on Angola. Reconstructing biographies of Africans and merchants, he demonstrates how cross-cultural trade, identity formation, religious ties and resistance to slaving were central to the formation of the Atlantic world. By adding to our knowledge of the slaving process, the book powerfully illustrates how Atlantic slaving transformed key African institutions, such as local regimes of forced labor that predated and coexisted with Atlantic slaving and made them fundamental features of the Atlantic world's social fabric.


‘With great historical imagination, Ferreira resurrects detailed stories of individuals who were integrally tied to the largest branch of the Atlantic slave trade. In so doing, he shows the limitations of analytical categories that historians have applied in slave studies. The world Ferreira describes was one in which commoners and elites alike constantly reshaped social and cultural identities to fit particular circumstances. His innovative ‘microhistorical’ approach charts a new direction for Atlantic history.’

Walter Hawthorne - Michigan State University and author of From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600–1830

‘Despite its Atlantic dimension, this is not a conventional tale of two continents that influenced each other, but rather a narrative of how influence came about through interconnection, the latter being itself a subject of analysis and narrative. The immense drama and trauma of such relations, I believe, become more apparent and more human once it is seen from the perspective of personal experiences, of individual lives that can guide the author (and the reader) in a voyage through the worlds of enslavement, slavery, colonial sociabilities, commerce, and political, juridical, and religious practices. I think that Ferreira’s book is a path-breaking, learned, and compelling study of life in the South Atlantic.’

João José Reis - Universidade Federal de Bahia (UFBA), Brazil and author of Death Is a Festival: Funeral Rites and Popular Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Brazil

‘Assiduously researched, Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World is a fascinating account of the economic, social, and cultural ties binding Angola and Brazil during the era of the slave trade. Ferreira demonstrates in intimate detail the human stories that bridged the South Atlantic, rendering Angola and Brazil a single, contiguous, geographical region. This groundbreaking effort reframes our understandings of Atlantic history, emphasizing south/south cultural fluidity and centering Africa as a crucial impetus for broad historical change.’

James H. Sweet - University of Wisconsin

'… a groundbreaking historical study … a remarkable contribution to improving our understanding not only of Angola and the slave trade, but also Africa, the South Atlantic, and the Lusophone world at large.'

Fernando Arenas Source: Research in African Literatures

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