Book cover for

American Mirror: The United States and Brazil in the Age of Emancipation

Roberto Saba in conversation with Manisha Sinha

Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 7:00 PM ET

Approx. 60 minutes

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In this program, Roberto Saba will discuss with Manisha Sinha his new book American Mirror: The United States and Brazil in the Age of Emancipation, which explores the methods through which antislavery reformers fostered capitalist development in a transnational context. From the 1850s to the 1880s, this coalition of Americans and Brazilians—which included diplomats, engineers, entrepreneurs, journalists, merchants, missionaries, planters, politicians, scientists, and students, among others—consolidated wage labor as the dominant production system in their countries. Saba argues that these reformers were not romantic humanitarians, but cosmopolitan modernizers who worked together to promote labor-saving machinery, new transportation technology, scientific management, and technical education. They successfully used such innovations to improve production and increase trade.

Headshot of Roberto SabaRoberto Saba is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Wesleyan University. He received his PhD in Transregional History from the University of Pennsylvania. Saba is the author of As Vozes da Nação: A Atividade Peticionária e a Política do Início do Segundo Reinado [The Voices of the Nation: Petitions and Politics in the Beginning of Brazil’s Second Reign] (São Paulo: Annablume, 2012). His recent book is American Mirror: The United States and Brazil in the Age of Emancipation (Princeton University Press, 2021). Saba approaches US History from transnational and comparative perspectives and his research focuses on capitalism, imperialism, and slavery. He held a Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in 2017.

Manisha SinhaManisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut and held the Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society in 2020. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University, where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft Prize. She taught at the University of Massachusetts for over twenty years, where she was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed on faculty. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (University of North Carolina Press, 2000), which was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015 and featured in the New York Times 1619 Project. Her multiple award winning second monograph The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition was long listed for the National Book Award for Non Fiction. It was named Editor’s Choice in The New York Times Book Review, book of the week by Times Higher Education to coincide with its UK publication, and one of three great History books of 2016 in Bloomberg News. A historian of the long nineteenth century, her research interests lie specifically in the transnational histories of slavery, abolition, and feminism and the history and legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

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