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Belonging in Africa: Frederik Svane and Christian Protten on the Gold Coast in the Eighteenth Century

  • Gunvor Simonsen

The idea that the African Atlantic world was populated by Atlantic Creoles who crossed cultural divides with relative ease is appealing, and it lends itself well to studies of identity formation that highlight the talents and opportunities that emerged from processes of cultural blending. Yet an examination of how travelling Africans ascribed meaning to their spatial and emotional groundings underlines that creolization in the African Atlantic was less smooth than suggested by the figure of the Atlantic Creole. For Frederik Svane and Christian Protten, two Euro-African men born on the Gold Coast in the early eighteenth century, Creole conditions resulted in identity practices that ranged from the complete rejection of African culture to a celebration and redefinition of the significance of African origins in the Atlantic world.

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Gunvor Simonsen is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Copenhagen. She would like to thank the anonymous peer reviewers as well as her collegues Sniff Andersen Nexø and Ulrik Langen at Copenhagen University and Pernille Ipsen at University of Wisconsin-Madison for their comments to earlier drafts of the article.

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