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Biography

Érika Melek Delgado is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Her research and publications focus on African history and African childhood History, with attention to Liberated African children in Africa and diasporas. She is the Principal Investigator of the project “Historical African Childhoods” (HAC Project) and the Director of the Freedom Narratives Project, both of which focus on historical biographies of African people. She is also a director in Walk With Web Inc., a corporation that creates and maintains digital data, archives and platforms. Formerly she had a two-year post as Postdoctoral Fellow at The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University, Canada. As a postdoc fellow, she was awarded grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She holds a PhD in History from the University of Worcester and an MPhil in Comparative History from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) – Brazil. She also coordinates projects related to the digitalization of sources from Sierra Leone Public Archives funded by the British Library Endangered Archives Programme. She also teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Research interests and Phd supervision 

West Africa History History of Childhood in Africa and Diaspora Atlantic Slavery Connections between the precolonial, and the colonial state in Africa Trans-Saharan and Trans-Atlantic Diasporas.

  • West Africa History
  • History of Childhood in Africa and Diaspora
  • Atlantic Slavery
  • Connections between the precolonial, and the colonial state in Africa
  • Trans-Saharan and Trans-Atlantic Diasporas

Teaching 

Teaching is focused on Modern Africa and Diaspora History.

Expertise and public engagement

Dr Melek Delgado is involved directly with two Digital Humanities projects. She is the Principal Investigator of Historical African Childhoods (HAC Project) and Director of the Freedom Narratives Project (FN Project – freedomnarratives.org). In FN and HAC projects, she works on developing databases, digital methodology, best practices, controlled vocabularies, coordination of the Research Assistants, and maintaining the relationship with project collaborators. HAC project, which is not yet online, aims to achieve new and innovative mechanisms for displaying the diverse definitions of children and childhood, to present biographies and historical experiences of African children. Both digital databases are open source and user-friendly and rely on linked data to generate an inter-relational digital archive that users can exploit in innovative ways to search for information on African enslaved people. The audience is academics, teachers and the wider public.

She is also part of the Board of Directors of Walk With Web Inc. focusing on the database’s development, archival methods and ethics.

Selected publications

  • Melek Delgado, E., ‘Freedom Narratives: The West African Person as the Central Focus for a Digital Humanities Database’, History in Africa, 48 (2021), pp. 35-59. - Melek Delgado, E., ‘Liberated African “Children” in Sierra Leone: colonial classifications of “child” and “childhood”, 1808-1819’, in Liberated Africans and the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1807-1896, eds. Henry B. Lovejoy and Richard Anderson, Rochester: University of Rochester Press (2020).
  • Melek Delgado, E., Santos, Telma G., Borba, Nina Maria de M., ‘Os Livros de Batismo e a Arte de Burlar a Legislação de Proibição do Tráfico Internacional de Escravizados: uma Análise da Documentação Batismal Dentro de um Projeto de História Digital’, Revista Direito Público, Brasília, Volume 19, n. 101, (Jan./Mar. 2022), 126-150. - Melek Delgado, E., Chadha, Kartikay., Lovejoy, E. Paul., ‘Freedom Narratives of West Africans from the Era of Slavery’, in Regenerated Identities – Documenting African Lives, edited by Paul E. Lovejoy, Henry Lovejoy, Erika Melek Delgado, Kartikay Chadha (eds), Trenton: Africa World Press (2022).
  • Melek Delgado, E., ‘Identidades em trânsito: o caso dos africanos livres na primeira colônia britânica da África Ocidental’ [Identities in Transit: The Case of Liberated Africans in West Africa's First British Colony], Revista de Ciências Humanas, 14, 2 (2014), pp. 356-372.
  • Melek Delgado, E., ‘As Narrativas Evangelizadoras da Niger Expedition: Uma análise comparativa dos discursos de Missionários da Expedição Britânica ao Rio Niger, 1841’ [The Evangelizing Narratives of the Niger Expedition: A Comparative Analysis of the Missionaries' Speeches of the British Expedition to the Niger River, 1841], Transversos, 4, 4 (2015), pp. 57-78.
  • Co-author Book Regenerated Identities – Documenting African Lives, edited by Paul E. Lovejoy, Henry Lovejoy, Erika Melek Delgado, Kartikay Chadha (eds), Trenton: Africa World Press (2022).