Black Inter-American Mobilities and Autobiography in the Age of Revolutions (1760-1860)

EU Horizon 2020 Research Project

The Research Project

From September 2019 to August 2020, Research Fellow Astrid Haas is working at IBAR on her project: “Black Inter-American Mobilities and Autobiography in the Age of Revolutions (1760-1860).” The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 834975.

This interdisciplinary project explores the ways transnational autobiographies by black authors address different forms of black mobility in the Americas during the Age of Revolutions and its aftermath until the onset of the US American Civil War (1760-1860). During that time, large parts of the Americas gained their independence from the European colonial powers. Simultaneously, black-authored narrative texts emerged in the region. Among them, autobiographies played a key role as vehicles of asserting black selfhood and participation in societal discourses. In her project, Astrid studies the four major types of black life narratives of the period: slave narratives, Indian captivity narratives, memoirs of Christian missionaries, and memoirs-as-travelogues. In all of them different form of (im)mobility played a defining role in shaping black identities and experiences.

This research project is the first of its kind to comparatively study transnational black autobiographies from across the Americas in the Age of Revolutions. At the core of Astrid’s work is a literary text analysis of selected black autobiographies from the period.Her specific focus is on the (voluntary or enforced) spatial, socio-cultural, and narrative mobilities of black people, as they are expressed in this text corpus. Astrid will communicate and disseminate her research through public lectures, academic presentations, and a series of journal articles, to be subsequentially extended into the first comprehensive monograph on the subject.


Astrid began preparatory research on the project in 2016. She has given / will be giving the following public lectures and conference presentations on her research:

Invited Public Lectures:

  • UPCOMING: Haas, Astrid. “Black InterÁmerican Mobilities and Autobiography in the Age of Revolutions (1760-1860).” Lecture Series In Conversation, English and Creative Writing, School of Humanities and the Social Sciences, Uniersity of Central Lancashire, 11/12/2019.

Conference Presentations:

  • Haas, Astrid. “Inter-American Mobility, Abolitionist Mobilization, and Black Empowerment in the Interesting Narrative of Mahommah Baquaqua.” 2nd Conference of the Network Black Americas: Black Power: Cultural and Political Movements in the Black Americas. Bielefeld University, 18-19/10/2018.
  • Haas, Astrid. “Black, Muslim, Brazilian, Slave? Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua’s Interesting Narrative and Its Challenges to Latinidad in the 21st” 36th International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association. International Convention Center, Barcelona, 26/5/2018.
  • Haas, Astrid. “Writing Back from Indian Country: Forms of Mobility and Resistance in The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth,” 5th Conference of the In­ternational Association of Inter-American Studies: Reinventing the Social: Movements and Narratives of Resistance, Dissension, and Reconciliation in the Americas. University of Coim­bra, Portugal, 22-24/3/2018.
  • Haas, Astrid. “Briton Hammon’s Narrative of Indian Captivity.” 12th Biennial Conference of the Collegium for African American Research: Diasporic Encounters, Subjectivities in Transit: Race, Gender, Religion and Sexualities in the African Diasporas, University of Málaga, Spain, 13/6/2017.
  • Haas, Astrid. “Black Inter-American Mobilities and Life Narratives in the Age of Revolutions.” 1st Conference of the Network Black Americas: Entangled Black Americas, Universität Bielefeld, 20/1/2017.
  • Haas, Astrid. “Black Rights and Mobilities in African American Narratives of Indian Captivity.” 4. Tagung der In­ternational Association of Inter-American Studies: Human Rights in the Ame­ricas, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, 4/10/2016.
  • Haas, Astrid. Haas, Astrid. “John Marrant’s Narrative of Indian Captivity.” 10th Conference of the Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas: Cultural Palimpsests: Ethnic Watermarks, Surfacing Histories, University of Warsaw, Poland, 23/6/2016.