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Epilogue Freedom’s Seekers Today It is time to free ourselves from all the authoritarian regimes and their ruling tyrants, it’s time to free people’s souls from slavery. —april 6 youth movement, 2011 Freedom’s Seekers has argued for the indispensability of comparative methodology for emancipation studies. More specifically, it demonstrates there were moments and people that were inherently transnational, and that their experiences and lives can therefore be best understood through comparative approaches. The key protagonists were self-emancipators, slave soldiers, black abolitionists, freedwomen, freed children, and freedom’s first generation, whose world was the nineteenth-century African Diaspora together with the Indian Ocean. This book demonstrates the utility of the comparative method to scholars, disciplines, and institutions interested in emancipation studies ; encourages Anglophone scholars to draw upon non-Anglophone studies of emancipation; and expands African Diaspora theory beyond slavery and homeland studies. In particular, I hope that my comparative methodology toward emancipation reveals more about the role and impact of Diaspora Africans and provides a recognizable and coherent set of parameters that prove as efficacious as comparative slave studies. We conclude with an extended comparison between the past and the present : freedom’s seekers in contemporary societies in the light of past struggles. Yesterday’s self-emancipators are today’s modern slaves seeking refuge in free soil. Modern nation-states continue to argue over cross-border movements and their potential impact. The United States and the United Kingdom are no less ambivalent in their welcoming of political asylum-seekers and economic refugees. Women and children remain central to household economies as they were in post-abolition societies. Domestic violence and sexual abuse of women and children continues to ravage many modern societies. Racial consciousness sparked by the Haitian Revolution and West Indies Emancipation has become a shadow of its former self in today’s world organized around modern nationstates , but international solidarity is far from moribund. Meanwhile, freedom’s 152 freedom’s seekers seekers’ latest generation on the global stage are Arab-speaking, share a Muslim faith, and seek to topple generational geriatric autocracies and patriarchal dynasties. If they succeed, they will transform a region and the world in ways pioneered by their nineteenth-century predecessors. Any discussion of today’s freedom seekers must begin with globalization. Trays of ink, together with countless hours of computer typing, have been devoted to its explication. Some argue that the last two decades have inaugurated a profound shift in the human condition in which everything has become interconnected, the nation-state is much less cohesive, everything is in flux, and representation and spectacle supersede material reality. Others reject this view altogether, claiming that globalization represents little more than the latest stage of a historical process of international capital, labor, and market flows that began five centuries earlier with the European colonization of the Americas and was enhanced two centuries ago with the advent of industrial capitalist economies and the making of modern nation-states and citizenship.1 The logical consequence has been American imperial hegemony in Afghanistan , Iraq, and elsewhere during the last decade as simply the most recent unleashing of the conventional dogs of war. The truth probably lies somewhere between the two: we are undoubtedly witnessing remarkable transformations, especially in science and technology , lightning-fast international movements of capital and information, and unprecedented levels of organization globally. Industrial manufacturing has expanded tremendously in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) over the last two decades. On the other hand, industrial capitalism continues in older states: nearly one-fifth of the labor force in the United States and the United Kingdom works in industry while one-quarter of French workers are in the industrial sector.2 The nation-state continues to operate as the defining political reality for most people, with South Sudan becoming the world’s youngest nation-state on July 9, 2011.3 Global power remains disproportionately in the hands of political and corporate elites in a select handful of Western nations , much like the 1890s. Just compare the seven current members of the G7, the world’s most powerful financial group—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States—with the leading colonizing nations a century ago—France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United States, United Kingdom.4 The spectacular economic growth of the People’s Republic of China since the late 1990s, however, along with the rise of Brazil, India, and Russia betokens some significant global shifts in the coming decades...


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