Dr. Njoroge M. Njoroge, Associate Professor of History, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, will give a talk exploring the history of the Atlantic slave trade to Brazil and the African cultures preserved, created and transformed across the Middle Passage from 12:30-1:50 p.m., Wednesday, March 7 in the ʻUluʻulu Exhibition Area.
Njoroge’s talk coincides with a NEH on the Road exhibit being displayed at the James & Abigail Campbell Library that delves into rich cultural contributions made by Africans to the art, music, dance, religion, and other facets of life in the Northeast of Brazil. The exhibit, “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints,” is the first NEH on the Road showcase to be hosted in Hawaiʻi and is distributed throughout the library’s first and second floors.
Dr. Njoroge’s research focuses on the music and politics of the African Diaspora in the Caribbean, as well as Marxism and critical theory. Brazil has the dubious distinction of having the largest African-descended population outside of the African continent. The African antecedents, necessary transformations and survival of diverse African cultures are rooted in the performative cultures of the enslaved and their descendants. By turning our attention to the art, music and religion of Afro-Brazil we can begin to get a glimpse of this rich historical tapestry. Samba, the music of the historically enslaved and contemporary disenfranchised continues to speak this history.
Njoroge is also an author, having written “Chocolate Surrealism: Music, Movement, Memory and History in the Circum-Caribbean,” which was published by the University of Mississippi Press (2016). He also has written several articles on music, blackness on contemporary culture; and organized and edited a volume of the journal Biography dedicated to new scholarship on Malcolm X (entitled: “He the One We All Knew”); and edited a issue of the journal American Quarterly dedicated to the work of the recently deceased scholar of settler colonialism, Patrick Wolfe. He is currently working on a book-length manuscript: Rethinking Whitey: Descartes, Hegel, Marx & the Making and Un-Making of the Third World.