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African Americans and others in the African diaspora have increasingly “come home” to Africa to visit the sites at which their ancestors were enslaved and shipped. In this nuanced analysis of homecoming, Katharina Schramm analyzes how a shared rhetoric of the (Pan-)African family is produced among African hosts and Diasporan returnees and at the same time contested in practice. She examines the varying interpretations and appropriations of significant sites (e.g. the slave forts), events (e.g. Emancipation Day) and discourses (e.g. repatriation) in Ghana to highlight these dynamics. From this, she develops her notions of diaspora, home, homecoming, memory and identity that reflect the complexity and multiple reverberations of these cultural encounters beyond the sphere of roots tourism.
About the Author
Katharina Schramm is a lecturer in anthropology at the Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the Free University in Berlin. She has written a number of articles on issues of tourism, memory and race. She is co-editor of Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission (Berghahn, 2009). Her current research focuses on the interface between diaspora-identity, new genetics and citizenship.
"The greatest strength of the monograph is the thorough historical framework Schramm assembles, which would be of interest to any researcher of the African diaspora, identity, and issues of community engagement. Her thorough analysis produces insightful connections drawn between the sensorial experience of the Cape Coast Castle before its restoration and the debates surrounding the 'whitewashing controversy' which serve to highlight the multiple nature of authenticity." - Liza Gijanto, Journal of Anthropological Research