The Invisible People: Exploring the History of Mauritania's Hratin

Friday, December 6

Time: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Location: Schermerhorn Ext. 963

The Hratin are generally thought of as freed slaves or their descendants, although not all Hratin think of themselves this way. Today a resurgence of political activity by self-styled 'abolitionists' is giving visibility to hratin that is not at all consistent with their historical role in society but is nonetheless an important moment in the evolution of their identity. In this seminar presentation and discussion, Prof. Ann McDougall will address the writing of Hratin history as a methodological case study in the dynamics of identity construction. What does it mean to write about a past that is itself constantly changing to create a new present? As an historian how does one prevent one's research being shaped by or becoming part of, that dynamic? Or should these be concerns at all? In the process, she will introduce you to the complex and multi-faceted people called hratin who have long been the largely invisible catalyst to Mauritanian social development.  

Admission is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served and guests are encouraged to bring their own lunches to the seminar.

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