Mansa Musa in an Age of West African Expansion
The fourteenth-century pilgrimage to Mecca of the Malian ruler Mansa Musa is one of the most celebrated of all time, given the fabulous level of wealth it displayed. The pilgrimage is also connected to one of the most breathtaking epics associated with medieval West Africa—the transatlantic voyage of thousands of vessels. What is the precise connection between these events, and what does their telling reveal about political and cultural life within the empire of Mali and during West Africa’s “golden age”? This master class will consider the forensics required to answer such a query.
Michael A. Gomez, Silver Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, founded the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora and served as president of UNESCO’s International Scientific Committee for the Slave Route Project. He is editor of the Cambridge Studies on the African Diaspora and the author of several books, including Pragmatism in the Age of Jihad: The Precolonial State of Bundu, and more recently, African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa. Gomez is an ardent scholar and supporter of the struggles of people of African descent worldwide.