For this chapter we will be looking at the terms by which “Africa” and its people get defined in Modernity. This issue of definition or classification cannot be divorced from the dynamics to which Gomez calls our attention below:
Race, class, and gender certainly existed as intertwined social and economic categories prior to the transatlantic trade, but they would acquire their distinctly contemporary significations with the transatlantic trade and slavery’s spread throughout the AmericasGomez, p. 63
As you read, I want you to take note of how you see above (race, class, and gender) take shape in the story of the African diaspora at the dawn of modernity.
I also want you to take a moment to consider the four key sites where enslavement and labor exploitation take hold in the rise of modernity. Provide a historical example (with page numbers) and three-sentence elaboration of the following:
- The cessation of Christian-Muslim conflict in Iberia and the Black sea region;
- The expansion of sugar cane cultivation;
- European maritime expansion;
- New World incursions.
Finally, I’d like you to take a look at this video on two terms–modernity and modernism–in light of art history. While the educator in the video draws a strict difference between the two.
Gomez might have us see the history of the African diaspora as complicating the break. Maybe they have more to do with each other than we might think. I’d like you to give some thought to how this might be the case after you read the chapter. You’re free to get your thoughts out however you’d like.