NEALE COLLOQUIUM 2012: EMANCIPATION, SLAVE-OWNERSHIP AND THE REMAKING OF THE BRITISH IMPERIAL WORLD. Old Refectory, Main Building, University College London, March 30-31 2012.
The colloquium aims to present the findings of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project and engage with current work exploring the importance of slavery and slave-ownership in the re-making of the British imperial world after abolition in 1833.
Whilst the 2007 bicentenary of the end of the slave trade inaugurated an explosion of popular interest in Britain’s role in the slavery business, much is still unknown about the significance of slavery to the formation of modern imperial Britain. Yet in 1833, abolition was heralded as evidence of Britain’s claim to be “the” modern global power, its commitment to representative government in Britain, free labour, the rule of law, and a benevolent imperial mission all aspects of a national identity rooted in notions of freedom and liberty. This conference will bring together historians from Britain, the US and the Caribbean to discuss the legacies of slavery and slave-ownership.
There will be five panel sessions, readings and a roundtable across Friday 30th and Saturday 31st March. The colloquium will begin with an introduction to the LBS project, which has been investigating what happened to the 20 million pounds of compensation money paid to British slave owners after 1833, and mark the launch of the online Legacies of British Slave-ownership Encyclopaedia. Questions we then hope to address through the following panels include: what was the character of the British imperial state in the wake of 1833? What happened to the merchants and planters who had been central to the West Indian economy and to the culture they had elaborated? What new forms of unfree labour emerged across the British Empire? How can academic historians connect with the museums, family and local historians who have made critical contributions to the understanding of slavery and its legacies? What are the issues around history, reparations and restitution in the present?
The panel sessions are as follows:
The imperial state
Formations of capital: beyond "merchants" and "planters"
From slavery to indenture
Public histories, family histories
Reparations, restitution and the historian.
Ben Mechen/Rachel Lang
Legacies of British Slave-ownership
Department of History
University College London
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