What Dan Kilbride did on His Extended Summer Vacation
How did Americans in the middle part of the 19th century, before the age of imperialism, view Africa and its people? This is the question that Prof. Daniel Kilbride has been exploring this fall semester. What did Americans know — or rather what did they think they knew? How did they attain that information (or misinformation), and what did they do with what they learned? According to Prof. Kilbride, many of these ideas were explored within the British context in the book The Image of Africa, by Phillip D Curtin. However, this topic has not been explored within American historiography. He is excited to be working on something not only new and original to a greater academic conversation, but also something that is new for him. With the help of newly digitized sources, Dr. Kilbride has been able to read primary sources that he would not have had easy access to 10 to 20 years ago. Now he can read documents from early American missionaries to Africa and articles from the monthly magazine of the American Colonization Society (ACS). These primary sources are essential to his comparative study of how these two groups wrote about Africans. In the future, Prof. Kilbride wishes to explore how early American explorers wrote about Africa as another comparison to the missionaries and the ACS. He hopes that a book will the final outcome to this interesting research project.