36. Sons of Africa: Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano

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Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano advance the goals of the abolitionist movement through a groundbreaking political treatise and an influential autobiography.



Further Reading

• T. Clarkson and Q.O. Cugoano, Essays on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, ed. M.-A. Smith (Peterborough: 2010).

• Q.O. Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery, ed. V. Carretta (New York: 1999).

• O. Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings, rev. ed., ed. V. Carretta (London: 2003).


• A. Bogues, Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals (New York: 2003), chapter 1.

• V. Carretta, "Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa? New Light on an Eighteenth-Century Question of Identity," Slavery and Abolition 20 (1999): 96-105.

• V. Carretta, Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man (New York: 2006).

• J. Gunn, "Creating a Paradox: Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and the Slave Trade's Violation of the Principles of Christianity, Reason, and Property Ownership," Journal of World History 21 (2010): 629-56.

• R. Hanley, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c. 1770-1830 (Cambridge: 2019).

• P. Henry, "Between Hume and Cugoano: Race, Ethnicity and Philosophical Entrapment," Journal of Speculative Philosophy 18 (2004): 129-48.

• M. Hoyle, Cugoano Against Slavery (Hertford: 2015).

• C. Jeffers, “Rights, Race, and the Beginnings of Modern Africana Philosophy,” in P.C. Taylor, L.M. Alcoff, and L. Anderson (eds), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race (New York: 2017), 127-39.

• F.A. Nussbaum, "Being a Man: Olaudah Equiano," in V. Carretta and P. Gould (eds), Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic (Lexington: 2001), 54-71.

• K. Sandiford, Measuring the Moment: Strategies of Protest in Eighteenth-Century Afro-English Writing (Selinsgrove: 1988).

• R. Wheeler, ""Betrayed by Some of My Own Complexion": Cugoano, Abolition, and the Language of Racialism," in Genius in Bondage, 17-38.

• H. Woodard, African-British Writings in the Eighteenth Century: The Politics of Race and Reason (Westport: 1999).

In Our Time: Zong Massacre


AELTON LEONARD… on 12 May 2020

Problems with the file?

I can't hear this episode, is the problem with my notebook and my cell phone, or is there an issue in the file?

In reply to by AELTON LEONARD…

Peter Adamson on 12 May 2020

Audio file

It works ok for me; but it may not have been your end, sometimes individual episodes fail to load from our platform but then the problem goes away. Is it working for you now?

Thanks for listening! (When it works.)

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Aelton Barbosa on 14 May 2020

Unfortunately, not working

Unfortunately, not working yet. I'll listen first to the next episodes on Haitian Revolution intellectuals, and be back here in a few days then.

In reply to by Aelton Barbosa

Peter Adamson on 15 May 2020

Not working

Strange because it still works for me (also when I don't log in as a user). Maybe you just need to give it a few more seconds to load?

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Aelton Barbosa on 23 June 2020

Well, after more than a month

Well, after more than a month, I still can't hear or download the episode. Quite weird, since I've listened to hundreds of episodes here and didn't have this problem before.

It's solved, anyway: I asked a friend to try downloading and mail me the episode, what was done easily. So, it was either a problem with my wifi zone (since I couldn't acess the file from my phone, notebook or tablet) or a specific-file-acess-supressing-conspiracy around Goiania, Brazil (my friend lives in another Brazilian town).

Thanks for your fast and kind replies, Professor Adamson (sorry if mine took so long). And congratulations to you and Professor Chike Jeffers for this excellent series!

In reply to by Aelton Barbosa

Peter Adamson on 24 June 2020


Now that is weird. Glad you were able to hear it eventually and thanks for persevering!

matheus ferreira on 3 October 2020

can't load nor download episode

Hi, I've recently started watching the Africana Philosophy series (which is great by the way) and I actually found many episodes with loading problems. I solved that by downloading the zipped pack for the Precolonial section, but this is not available for the current section. I decided to post it, because I first saw someone else also complaining about it... Don't know what could be done. 

By the way, I'm also from Brazil, so I started suspecting on the conspiracy Aelton talked about lol

In reply to by matheus ferreira

Peter Adamson on 3 October 2020

Streaming problems

Hm, not sure what to recommend there because it does work fine for me (from Germany!). The podcast is also on iTunes and Spotify if that helps?

Incidentally tomorrow's episode is about Africana thought in late 19th c Brazil! I apologize in advance for my pronunciations.

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