The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean


Director: Diane Seligsohn and Richard Rein
Country: USA
Year: 2007-2008
Running Time: 26 min.
Language: English and French

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka introduces this pilot episode of an educational documentary series aimed at filling in the gaps in the history of the African slave trades. Through a mosaic composed of excerpts from interviews with world-renowned historians, readings from literary sources and archival images, this episode traces the earliest documented history of enslavement and deportation of people from the East Coast of Africa up the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean. The film looks at the economic forces driving the development of this trade in human beings and the racial attitudes that existed in the medieval Arab world towards those of East African origin. Emphasis is put on one of the earliest known revolts of enslaved Africans, the Zanj Rebellion, which took place in what is currently Iraq during the 9th century CE.

About the Director

Diane Seligsohn

dianesBiography: Ms. Seligsohn is an educator at the Centre de Formation des Journalistes (CFJ), Sciences-Po, Paris, the Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (IRIS) and the University of Paris-Ouest-Nanterre, where she is completing  a doctoral dissertation on American media coverage of sub-Saharan Africa from 1989-2009. Ms. Seligsohn is the Vice President of the French non-profit association Mémoire des Traites des Esclaves, which produces materials and organizes activities to inform students and the general public on the lesser-known aspects of the various slave trades. Ms Seligsohn  worked for many years as a journalist, contributing reports to Radio France International, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and other international media outlets. She has traveled to seventeen African countries to do reporting and journalism training of African journalists. Ms Seligsohn was Head of Media Relations for two years at the French doctors organization Médecins du Monde and Head of Information at the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers, currently known as WAN (World Association of Newspapers). She holds a BA degree in English Literature from McGill University, Canada, and a MA in Comparative Literature from New York University.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean (2008)

The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean (2007-08)