The Intra-American Slave Trade Database: Potential and Limitations

Encina Commons archway
Thu May 26th 2022, 10:00 - 11:00am
Event Sponsor
Stanford Global Studies

Stanford Global Studies presents:

REFRAMING ENSLAVED PASTS SERIES (part of Stanford Global Studies Research Workshops Program)

Reframing enslaved pasts” series plan to discuss critical data practices around enslaved pasts, focusing on the methods and choices that underlie digital data projects.


Workshop 5: The Intra-American Slave Trade Database: Potential and Limitations 

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About the Speakers

GREGORY O’MALLEY (Associate Professor of History|University of California, Santa Cruz)
ALEX BORUCKI (Associate Professor of History|University of California, Irvine)

About the Talk

The Intra-American Slave Trade Database launched online in 2019 as a new feature on the Slave Voyages website, which has been home to the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database since 2008. Including a major expansion added in 2022, the Intra-American database, contains records of more than 27,000 maritime voyages that moved hundreds of thousands of enslaved people between ports in the Americas, mostly in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The database has profound implications for understanding how patterns in the intra-American slave trade shaped the African diaspora, investigating enslaved people’s experiences of the trade itself, and assessing the profits gained at the expense of enslaved people’s freedom and suffering. Yet there are also significant limits to data-driven approaches, and both Borucki and O’Malley advocate and practice a mixing of quantitative methodologies with other approaches. 

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