Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Amherst College
Website URL
Slavery, Transatlantic Slave Trade, African Diaspora, Colonial Brazil, Imperial Brazil, Pre-colonial West Africa, Atlantic World, Cultural History, History of Capitalism, Labor History, Maritime History, Gender, Race
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Mary E. Hicks is currently an assistant professor of Black Studies and Latin American History at Amherst College (Massachusetts) where she specializes in the history of the African Diaspora, the transatlantic slave trade, histories of race, gender and sexuality, and slavery in the Americas. Her current research centers the experience of the black seamen who made up the primary maritime labor force in the Atlantic world’s third most active slave trading port: Salvador da Bahia. Uncovering unique sociocultural dynamics of Salvador, and elucidating the connections between transatlantic slaving commerce and broader processes of acculturation, intellectual exchange, and the accumulation and circulation of material wealth between the Bight of Benin and Bahia, her book manuscript, Captive Cosmopolitans:Black Mariners and the World of South Atlantic Slavery, 1721-1835 (under contract with The Omohundro Institute for University of North Carolina Press) is based on her prize-winning dissertation completed in 2015. Prof. Hicks has previously served as Hutchins Center, Jefferson and Ford Fellow.

Recent Publications

“Financing the Luso-Atlantic Slave Trade: Collective Investment Practices from Portugal to Brazil, 1500-1840,” Journal of Global Slavery 2:3 (2017), 273-309.

“Transatlantic Threads of meaning: West African Textile entrepreneurship in Salvador da Bahia, 1770- 1870,” Slavery & Abolition (September 2020)

“João de Oliveira’s Atlantic World: Mobility and Dislocation in Eighteenth-Century Brazil and the Bight of Benin,” in The Many Faces of Slavery: New Perspectives on Slave Ownership and Experiences in the Americas Eds. Lawrence Aje and Catherine Armstrong, (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2019)

Manuscripts in Progress:

“Blood and Hair: Barbers, Sangradores and the West African Corporeal Imagination in Salvador da Bahia, 1770-1870,” invited contribution for Medicine and Healing in the Age of Slavery (under review, Louisiana State University Press)

“West Africa’s Maritime Middlemen,” in 400 Souls, Eds. Keisha N. Blain and Ibram X. Kendi (Basic Books), under review

“Teias transatlânticas de significado: comércio de têxtil da África Ocidental em Salvador da Bahia, 1770-1870,” invited contribution for Poder e dinheiro na era do tráfico: laços econômicos entre África e Brasil além da escravatura, Eds. Toby Green and João José Reis, reprinted with the permission of Slavery & Abolition, under review

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Africa, Latin America, Spain
Expertise by Chronology
17th century, 18th century, 19th century, Early Modern
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Colonialism, Environment, Gender, Labor, Law, Material Culture, Medicine, Race, Rebellion & Revolution, Sexuality, Slavery, Urban History, Women