Set up in 1960 following the first conference of Indian Ocean archivists and historians, held in Antananarivo, the Indian Ocean International Historical Association (IHIOI) aims to promote historical studies and connected topics focusing on Indian Ocean countries.
The historian Prosper Eve, President of the AHIOI, initiated the Indian Ocean history week, as well as the Association of Friends of August Lacaussade. In 2018, in collaboration with the association and in the context of the celebration of the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, they organised a symposium entitled ‘Slavery, subject of History, challenge of memory.’
He considers it essential for there to be repeated commemorations of the abolition of slavery in France. It is essential to fight against oblivion and so that the ‘place of memory’ of abolition of slavery, and beyond, should not become a ‘place of amnesia’, where only oblivion occurs or has occurred, since their memory may appear disturbing, in the context of the current identity and memory issues.
Beyond the questions raised around memory, such a commemoration also has the objective of revealing, through research and historical studies, the various facets of the historical topic that is slavery and, beyond the national story, defining the traces of our history, through a process that is as scientific as possible.
Finally, the repetition of such a commemoration has a pedagogical purpose, aimed not only at the developing public of schoolchildren and university students, but also at citizens in general, confronted with the presence of the shadow of this crime against humanity in the collective imagination and in the society.
The conference brought together 22 specialists around four topics: the diverse forms of abolition, the hybrid nature of slavery in the Indian Ocean, the post-slavery transition and after slavery.