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. https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/222657/factsheet/en
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.