A Theatre of Memory for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle and Its Museum

  • Neelima Jeychandran
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


This paper examines how colonial fortresses in coastal Ghana and the museums inside them function as memoryscapes where narratives of the pasts are represented and reproduced in the context of the exhibition space. Although small in area, museums within the former “slave castles” play a crucial role in recounting the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and in visualizing the fraught past in the present. These museums present the narrative of capture, confinement and enforced transportation of native Africans to plantations in the Americas through a range of displays. Treating the colonial fortresses and museums as theatres of memory, I discuss how such spaces function as realms of memory for visitors, especially for the African diaspora. By examining the transformation of Cape Coast Castle as a lieux de mémoire and commodified “heritage”, I show how pasts are repurposed, reinvented and choreographed by various agencies and actors.


Cape Coast Castle trans-Atlantic Slave Trade African Diaspora exhibitionExhibition United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neelima Jeychandran
    • 1
  1. 1.DavisUSA

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