Routes of Remembrance
Refashioning the Slave Trade in Ghana
Routes of Remembrance tackles these questions by analyzing the slave trade’s absence from public versions of coastal Ghanaian family and community histories, its troubled presentation in the country’s classrooms and nationalist narratives, and its elaboration by the transnational tourism industry. Bayo Holsey discovers that in the past, African involvement in the slave trade was used by Europeans to denigrate local residents, and this stigma continues to shape the way Ghanaians imagine their historical past. Today, however, due to international attention and the curiosity of young Ghanaians, the slave trade has at last entered the public sphere, transforming it from a stigmatizing history to one that holds the potential to contest global inequalities.
Holsey’s study will be crucial to anyone involved in the global debate over how the slave trade endures in history and in memory.
“Routes of Remembrance sets a new benchmark for studies of the slave trade in African and African-American memory. In an insightful ethnography of a major site of diaspora tourism, Holsey reveals the complexity of Ghanaian silences concerning the slave trade, ‘routes’ these through a contested history of European and African-American narratives, and presents a fascinating account of how a new generation reworks this history to create a new diasporic vision.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fascinating book. Indeed, it is rare to find such a sensitive account of how people deal with painful memories of the past and the complex social forces that dictate the shape and form that those memories of the past take.”