On January 29, 2024, Yvette Christiansë, Claire Tow Professor of Africana Studies and English Literature, lectured on the narratives of liberated Africans and post-slavery between 1806 and 1886 at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany.

During her talk, Christiansë read from one of the historical documents she studies to unearth the voices of liberated African slaves in the 19th century, many of whom were brought to so-called safe havens only to be forced into apprenticeships or sent to work on plantations across the British Empire as indentured laborers. The surviving historical documents from this period often omit the voices of liberated Africans, but Christiansë’s close analysis provides valuable insight into their lives and experiences. The document she read at Leuphana centered on Maria, a liberated African woman whose story was recorded by the British authorities who intercepted the ship on which she was being transported. The officials heavily altered Maria’s account, and Christiansë devoted her talk to gleaning as much information as possible from Maria’s censored words.

On March 7, 2024, Professor Christiansë will give another reading at Leuphana, alongside Professor Rosalind Morris, as part of their participation in the Leuphana Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) community outreach initiative.