Fugitive Modernities

Kisama and the Politics of Freedom

Book Pages: 280 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: December 2018

Author: Jessica A. Krug

Subjects
African Studies

During the early seventeenth century, Kisama emerged in West Central Africa (present-day Angola) as communities and an identity for those fleeing expanding states and the violence of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The fugitives mounted effective resistance to European colonialism despite—or because of—the absence of centralized authority or a common language. In Fugitive Modernities Jessica A. Krug offers a continent- and century-spanning narrative exploring Kisama's intellectual, political, and social histories. Those who became Kisama forged a transnational reputation for resistance, and by refusing to organize their society around warrior identities, they created viable social and political lives beyond the bounds of states and the ruthless market economy of slavery. Krug follows the idea of Kisama to the Americas, where fugitives in the New Kingdom of Grenada (present-day Colombia) and Brazil used it as a means of articulating politics in fugitive slave communities. By tracing the movement of African ideas, rather than African bodies, Krug models new methods for grappling with politics and the past, while showing how the history of Kisama and its legacy as a global symbol of resistance that has evaded state capture offers essential lessons for those working to build new and just societies.

Praise

"It is rare these days to see a historian write the history of early and precolonial Africa (a term less apt for Angola than many other areas) from an African perspective. Krug has achieved this goal well in Fugitive Modernities. Her willingness to see Kisama not just as resistant to Portuguese colonialism, but also how it struggled with internal contradictions and challenges shows the value of looking at Africa from the inside out. That she is able to do so with the dearth of documentation she has shows the importance of orientation in undertaking a project like the study of Kisama." — International Journal of African Historical Studies

Fugitive Modernities has a lot to offer. The reflections on the nature of colonialism, its implications for historical periodization, and its insights into the history of Kisama, Limón, and Palmares are valuable and based on a wide range of sources.”

Africa Today

“This intellectual history of Kisama is impressive in its breadth of research where Krug follows an anti-authoritarian ideology through multiple languages in Africa and the Americas. Her book will enable scholars to re-conceptualize how Africans influenced the Black Atlantic socially, politically, and intellectually. . . . Her departure from the conventions of diasporic studies will resonate with scholars interested in understanding the long-lasting intellectual influences of fugitives in both Africa and the Americas.”

Journal of African History

“Krug’s most original argument is that the frameworks of American maroon communities were constructed first in Africa, where flight from the forces of enslavement was commonplace prior to the Atlantic crossing. For historians of West Central Africa, Krug’s trenchant critique of statist bias in the existing historiography provides much food for thought. And Krug’s broader historiographical approach, to move beyond Eurocentric concepts to ideas derived from African languages, powerfully critiques how colonial ideas continue to shape dominant historical discourses.”

HAHR

"One of the challenges Krug faces as a historian is finding information in colonial archives about peoples who successfully maintained an autonomy outside the colonial orbit and who themselves never wrote about their experiences. In spite of these challenges, Krug’s exhaustive reading of published primary sources and archival research—the author consulted archives on three continents—uncovered significant material. . . . One of the book’s arguments is that fugitive modernities—whether in the sixteenth or in the twenty-first century—threaten statist ontologies and offer an alternative paradigm." — American Historical Review

"Fugitive Modernities provides an important contribution to the literature on the history of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Although there has been significant research published on the trade from West Central Africa in recent years, this is the first monograph in the English language to focus on Kisama based on research conducted in archives in Angola, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain. It enriches historians’ view of the traffic by showing that as that activity spread, a variety of new political ideologies emerged along the way. . . . Fugitive Modernities is a valuable and intellectually engaging contribution to the literature. It promises to stimulate interesting discussions in courses on the history of early and modern Africa as well as in courses on the history of the African diaspora, slavery, and the transatlantic slave trade." — Slavery & Abolition

"Krug’s Fugitive Modernities is captivating and ground-breaking. In it, readers will hear and sense her authorial voice that masterfully highlights new possibilities for thinking about community building, black fugitivity, and the movement of African ideas, rather than bodies. Never once taking for granted nor conceiving superficially resistance, Krug has written a book that constitutes a paradigm shift in how we think of intellectual history, of concepts of the Black Atlantic, and of the political ideas that traversed continents with black bodies." — Colonial Latin American Review

"Krug’s Fugitive Modernities is captivating and ground-breaking. In it, readers will hear and sense her authorial voice that masterfully highlights new possibilities for thinking about community building, black fugitivity, and the movement of African ideas, rather than bodies. Never once taking for granted nor conceiving superficially resistance, Krug has written a book that constitutes a paradigm shift in how we think of intellectual history, of concepts of the Black Atlantic, and of the political ideas that traversed continents with black bodies." — Nicholas R. Jones, Colonial Latin American Review

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Open Access

Fall2020 Online Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jessica A. Krug is Associate Professor of History at George Washington University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Note on Cartography  xi
List of Archives and Abbreviations  xiii
Introduction. Fugitive Modernities: Chronotope, Epistemology, and Subjectivity  1
1. Kafuxi Ambari and the People without State's History: Forging Kisama Reputations, c. 1580-1630  31
2."They Publicize to the Neighboring Nations That the Arms of Your Majesty Do Not Conquer": Fugitive Politics and Legitimacy, c. 1620-55  58
3. "The Husbands Having First Laid Down Their Lives in Their Defense": Gender, Food, and Politics in the War of 1655-58  86
4. (Mis)Taken Identities: Kisama and the Politics of Naming in the Palenque Limón, New Kingdom of Grenada, c. 1570-1634  111
5. Fugitive Angola: Toward a New History of Palmares  146
6. "The Ashes of Revolutionary Fires Burn Hot": Brazilian and Angolan Nationalism and the "Colonial" and "Postcolonial" Life of the Kisama Meme, c. 1700-Present  164
Conclusion. Fugitive Modernities in the Neoliberal Afterlife of the Nation-State  187
Notes  195
Bibliography  241
Index  257
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0154-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0119-5
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