Dr K.J. Fatah-Black (35) is an assistant professor at the Institute for History, Leiden University. He is receiving the 2016 Heineken Young Scientists Award for History for his study of Dutch formal and informal transatlantic trade in the Golden Age, especially the trade in slaves.
Karwan Fatah-Black studied history at the University of Amsterdam and received his doctorate from Leiden University in 2013. Slavery, smuggling and illegal trade are important themes in his work. For example, he helped calculate the profits gained by the Dutch from transporting and trading in African slaves. The outcomes were much higher than previously thought because he looked beyond official Dutch West India Company figures to include the extensive network of ‘informal trade’ that operated alongside it.
Fatah-Black is regarded as an expert on the history of slavery. He was awarded an NWO VENI grant to explore agency and empowerment among Surinamese slave families who cleared a path through slavery to freedom. He was also one of the founders of the Leiden Slavery Studies Association, which supports research on the role of slavery in general.
Karwan Fatah-Black is eager to engage in public discussion of the history of slavery. For example, he gives public lectures, makes media appearances, and is a quiz master at the Kwaku Festival in Amsterdam’s Bijlmer district and the Keti Koti (‘broken chains’) Festival, an annual celebration of the abolition of slavery in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
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