Slavery, Lived Realities and Decolonising Forced Migration Histories – An interview with Asst. Prof. Portia Owusu

In this podcast Dr. Estella Carpi interviews Asst. Prof. Portia Owusu, author of ‘Spectres from the Past. Slavery and the Politics of ‘History’ in West African and African-American Literature.’

You can listen to the podcast below:

In their interview, Dr. Carpi and Asst. Prof. Owusu discuss how indigenous narratives and histories of slavery have been erased from the ‘grand narratives’ of traditional teaching of forced migration history and how, although erased, these histories and lived experiences of slavery are still evident in the inequalities and discrimination experienced in Black communities today. The discussion goes on to examine how African American and West African writers engaged with ideologies of Pan-Africanism and Black Internationalism and how concepts of race and racism are experienced differently by Black Americans and Black Africans. Lastly, Dr Carpi and Assistant Prof. Owusu reflect on how the positionality of academics can influence the ability of the academy to truly decolonise the production of knowledge.

A transcript of the interview is available here.


If you find this podcast of interest, the Southern Responses to Displacement project has been exploring similar themes. Read about how the project aims to centralise the experiences and perspectives of refugees’ from Syria and how they conceptualise Southern-led humanitarian responses here and here. You can also access the recommended reading below:

Carpi, E. (2020) No one wants to be the “Global North”?  On being a researcher across the North and the South.

Carpi, E. (2018) Humanitarianism and Postcoloniality:  A Look at Academic Texts

Carpi, E. (2018) Teaching Humanitarianism:  The Need for a More Responsive Framework:   

Carpi, E. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2020) “A Sociology of Knowledge on Humanitarianism and Displacement: The cases of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey,” in Salvatore, A., Hanafi, S. and Obuse, K. (edsThe Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East,Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. (2020 online edition; 2021 print edition) (An abridged version of this chapter will be available online soon)

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2020) Recentering the South in Studies of Migration

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2019) Exploring refugees’ conceptualisations of Southern-led humanitarianism

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2019) Histories and spaces of Southern-led responses to displacement

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Southern Responses to Displacement: Background and introduction to our mini blog series. 

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Pan-Arabism

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) Refugee-Refugee Humanitarianism

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. & Daley, P. (2018) Conceptualising the global South and South–South encounters

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. & Fiori, J. (2020) Migration, Humanitarianism, and the Politics of Knowledge – An Interview with Juliano Fiori

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: