By Katharina Schramm

African american citizens and others within the African diaspora have more and more “come domestic” to Africa to go to the websites at which their ancestors have been enslaved and shipped. during this nuanced research of homecoming, Katharina Schramm analyzes how a shared rhetoric of the (Pan-)African kinfolk is produced between African hosts and Diasporan returnees and while contested in perform. She examines the various interpretations and appropriations of vital websites (e.g. the slave forts), occasions (e.g. Emancipation Day) and discourses (e.g. repatriation) in Ghana to spotlight those dynamics. From this, she develops her notions of diaspora, domestic, homecoming, reminiscence and id that replicate the complexity and a number of reverberations of those cultural encounters past the field of roots tourism.

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I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. €. (It) is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me. (Ellison 1999 [1947]: 7; my emphasis) Here, Ellison takes up W. E. B. Du Bois’s dictum of “double consciousness” and turns it upside down. Du Bois had characterized the dilemma of American Blacks as a “sense of always looking at oneself through the eyes of others” (1996b [1903]: 102).

Weisbord observed, the connection of the diaspora to the continent has been, and continues to be, “a complex and multifaceted conduit” (1973: 7). In the following historical excursion I attempt to throw some light on the ambivalent role of Africa that has characterized the Pan-African project from the beginnings. In addition, I uncover some of the basic ideas that have formed the framework of the Pan-African project and that can still be said to Â�determine the Pan-African rhetoric as employed in the homecoming-discourse in Ghana today.

Much of the literature on Gorée has focused on this tension between fact and fiction, authenticity and authentification, as well as on the dynamics of racialized positionalities and historical representation in a more general sense. Undoubtedly, the materiality of the Maison des Esclaves and its Door of No Return plays a crucial role in its evocative power (de Jong 2009), as does the elevation of Maison des Esclaves to World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1978. Similarly to the Ghanaian slave forts, which received World Heritage status a year later, the House of Slaves serves as tangible evidence that the slave trade actually happened.

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