History and emotions. The presentation of the House of Slaves on Gorée Island, Senegal

By Martin Mourre


This article focuses on a critical place in the memory of slavery, the House of Slaves on Gorée Island in Senegal. While there are now several studies on a globalized representation of the Atlantic slave trade, focusing on such a space helps us to understand how this historical memory is linked to certain emotions. In the first part, thanks to several ethnographic observations, we highlight how certain architectural features of the House are presented. In the second part, we analyze how such a memory of slavery must be understood through a history of these representations on another scale: UNESCO, Senegalese national heritage policies, visits by personalities, and so on. Finally, the main hypothesis developed is that the discourse that unfolds in the House of Slaves works because it emphasizes the suffering of African populations reduced to slavery much more than the responsibility of slavers.


  • Emotions
  • Historical Memory
  • Gorée Island
  • Slavery
  • Senegal
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info