How did the Atlantic World bring so many different peoples and cultures together? How did this large intermixing of people and cultures impact the development of colonial America?
Kevin Dawson, an Associate Professor of History at the University of California-Merced and author of Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora, joins us to explore answers to these questions with an investigation of the African Diaspora and African and African American aquatic culture.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Kevin Dawson, an Associate Professor of History at the University of California-Merced and author of Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora, joins us to explore African and African American aquatic culture and how different aspects of that culture impacted the growth and development of colonial America.
During our investigation, Kevin reveals information about the African Diaspora and how it brought African peoples to the Americas and the Caribbean; Why it’s important to view people as working, living, and operating on both land AND water; And, the ways in which water featured into the lives of Africans and African Americans and how their water cultures impacted the development of colonial America.
What You’ll Discover
- The African Diaspora
- The African Diaspora by the numbers
- Impacts of the African Diaspora
- African aquatic culture
- Importance of viewing people as working, living, and operating on both land and water
- How water featured into African and African American lives and culture
- The roles of gender and age in African aquatic culture
- The relationship of Europeans and Euro-American colonists with water
- Ways African and African Americans used aquatic skills and knowledge to advantage
- Shipwreck diving and divers
- African and African American canoe cultures and traditions
- The myth Native Americans introduced Africans to canoes
- African canoe culture in early North America
- How African and African American aquatic culture impacted the American institution of slavery
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Omohundro Institute
- Institute for Thomas Paine Studies
- Follow the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies on Twitter (@TheITPS)
- Episode 104: Andrew Lipman, The Saltwater Frontier: Europeans & Native Americans on the Northeastern Coast
- Bonus: Lonnie Bunch, History & Historians in the Public
- Episode 166: Freedom and the American Revolution
- Episode 174: Thomas Apel, Yellow Fever in the Early American Republic
- Episode 200: Everyday Life in Early America
- Episode 206: Katharine Gerbner, Christian Slavery
In your opinion, what might have happened if Africans had not brought their deep aquatic culture and powerful aquatic skills to North America? How would the history of early America be different?
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