Workshop: Sugar and Slaves on its 50th Anniversary

Monday and Tuesday 28-29 June 2021

Co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania and the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PUBLICATION OF RICHARD S. DUNN’S SUGAR AND SLAVES: THE RISE OF THE PLANTER CLASS IN THE ENGLISH WEST INDIES, 1624-1713

The Wilberforce Institute is delighted to be co-hosting this major two-day workshop on Richard S. Dunn’s Sugar and Slaves with the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Established as the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies in 1978, and renamed in honour of its benefactor Robert L. McNeil, Jr., in 1998, the McNeil Center facilitates scholarly inquiry into the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before 1850, with a particular but by no means exclusive emphasis on the mid-Atlantic region.

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Dunn’s Sugar and Slaves, which has become one of the foundational books in the writing of Caribbean and Atlantic history. His highly evocative work opened up an entire field of study. Since its publication, historians have both deepened our understanding of subjects first developed in Dunn’s work and, inspired by his scholarship, have turned to new topics entirely. 

The workshop will be based around pre-circulated papers, which will be forwarded to you soon after 7 June if you have registered. For the provisional programme see below. 

For more information and to register for the workshop, please visit: 

http://mceas.org/dunn.shtml

Monday 28 June 2021

Please note that all times are Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5; BST-5)

10:00-10:15 AM     
Introduction and Welcome

Emma Hart and Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania

10:15-10:30 AM     
Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, I:

Hilary Beckles, University of the West Indies

10:30 AM-12:00 PM     
Session One The Environment:

Chair: Trevor Burnard, Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

Mary S. Draper, Midwestern State University
“Winds, Lived Geographies, and Empire Building in the Seventeenth-Century British Caribbean”
Justin Roberts, Dalhousie University
“‘Corruption of the Air’: Disease and Climate Change in the Rise of English Caribbean Slavery”
Jordan Smith, Widener University
“‘The Native Produce of this Island’: Processes of Invention in Early Barbados”

12:00-1:00 PM 
Lunch Break
 

1:00-2:00 PM
Session Two Other Contexts
:
Chair: Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania

Peter C. Mancall, University of Southern California
“The First Age of Revolution”
Michiel van Groesen, Leiden University
“The Anglo-Dutch Lake? Johannes de Laet and the Ideological Origins of the Dutch and English West Indies” 

Tuesday 29 June 2021

10:15-10:30 AM
Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, III
:
Nicholas Canny, National University of Ireland, Galway

10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Session Four Economies:
Chair: Emma Hart, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania

Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College
“`Plantation’ and the Rise of Capitalist Agriculture in the Early Seventeenth-Century Caribbean”
Teanu Reid, Yale University
“Financial Life in the Tropics”
Nuala Zahedieh, Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull
“The progress of `King Sugar’ in early English Jamaica” 

12:00-1:00 PM
Lunch Break


1:00-2:00 PM
Session 5 Slavery panel I: Origins

Chair: Alison Games, Georgetown University

Casey Schmitt, Cornell University
“‘They brought them from the Palenque’: Captivity and Smuggling in Jamaica, ca. 1660”
Holly Brewer, University of Maryland
“Not ‘Beyond the line’: Reconsidering Law, Power ad Empire in the origins of slavery in the Early English Empire”

2:00-2:30
Break

2:30-4:00 PM
Session 6 Slavery panel II: Runaways, Marronage

Chair: Sheryllynne Haggerty, Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

Clifton Sorrell, University of Texas
“‘Ne Plus Ultra’: The Maroons and the Contested Conquest and Geography of Early Jamaica–– 1655-1690”
Simon P. Newman, University of Wisconsin
“The Barbados Planter Class and the Normalization of Slavery and Resistance in Restoration London”
Linda Rupert, UNC Greensboro
“Intertwined Geographies of Marronage and Empire in the Seventeenth-Century Circum-Caribbean”

4:00-4:15 PM
Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, IV:

Roderick McDonald, Rider University

4:15-4:45 PM 
Wrap up, with remarks from Richard Dunn, University of Pennsylvania  

Richard S. Dunn, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania, with two of his editions of Sugar & Slaves

Unfree labour in the Angolan coffee economy, 1830-1960

Wilberforce Institute Webinar, Thursday 20 May 2021, 4PM – 6PM BST

Dr Jelmer Vos

Lecturer in Global History

University of Glasgow

jelmer.vos@glasgow.ac.uk

We hope you will join us for the last of our Wilberforce Institute Webinars for this academic year. On Thursday 20 May, at 4pm (BST), Dr Jelmer Vos of the University of Glasgow will share with us some of his latest research on the history of forced labour in Angola.

The first coffee estates in Angola using enslaved workers emerged in the 1830s. African smallholders long remained the dominant producers of coffee in this Portuguese colony, but in the 1930s and especially after World War Two settler production based on a system of forced wage labour expanded dramatically, making Angola one of the largest producers of robusta coffee in the world. Forced labour became a prominent feature of colonial life in Angola, and eyewitnesses and historians have long debated the continuities between this form of labour coercion and proto-colonial slavery.

This paper intervenes in this literature with three propositions. First, Angola differed from other colonial coffee economies where foreign planters played a dominant role (Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Kenya) as the Portuguese government, despite fierce international pressures, was unwilling to withdraw their support from the settler economy. Second, forced labour resembled ‘modern slavery’ as described by Kevin Bales, in the sense that the system treated African farm labour as ‘disposable’. Third, despite this, its roots lay not so much in proto-colonial slavery, but rather in the equally old system of compulsory porterage. 

To sign up for this event please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6900012022283361804

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Southern Africa Information Group (Ottawa), and Komitee Zuidelijk Afrika (Amsterdam). Coffee for Canada Means Blood for Angola. Don’t Buy General Food. 1972.

Wilberforce Institute Postgraduate Open Evening

Thu, May 6, 2021 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM BST

If you haven’t yet thought about what you will do in September, take a look at our brand new taught Masters course on the subject of contemporary slavery and victimology to see what it could offer you. You will find details at:

https://www.hull.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught/contemporary-slavery-studies-and-critical-victimology-ma

To give you the opportunity to explore in more depth how our MA in Contemporary Slavery Studies and Critical Victimology can help you develop your professional and academic careers in this area of work, we are holding a virtual postgraduate open evening on Thursday 6 May at 6 pm (BST). To book your place click on the link below.

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/95111468670692880

At the event, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the MA in Contemporary Slavery Studies programme and ask any questions you might have about continuing or returning to study, how to apply, and your funding options.

In addition, you will be able to:

• Meet and speak to tutors involved in the delivery of the MA

• Hear from existing postgraduate students at the Wilberforce Institute and University of Hull

• Get all the details about the application process and how we support our postgraduate students at the Wilberforce Institute

‘Casually Lost’ and Commonly Stolen: Slave Stealing in American History

Wilberforce Institute Webinar, Thursday 22 April 2021, 4PM – 6PM BST

Dr Laura Sandy

Department of History,

University of Liverpool

l.sandy@liverpool.ac.uk

We hope you will join us for our next webinar on Thursday April 22 at our usual time of 4pm (BST). The speaker will be Dr Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of Slavery and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool. Dr Sandy studies the history of North America, the Atlantic World and slavery, and has undertaken archival research in every former slave state in the southern United States. She has looked at plantation management, resistance, free people of colour, voluntary enslavement, the theft of enslaved people and the laws of slavery. Her most recent work investigates the illegal trafficking of the enslaved in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and this will be the subject of her talk.

The practice of slave stealing spans the history of American slavery. The theft of human property was clearly a complicated crime and those involved in this ‘underground slave trade’ came from a variety of backgrounds and had an array of motives.  By uncovering these histories and integrating them into the broader narrative of slavery, Dr Sandy will provide fascinating new insights into the ‘peculiar institution’ and its evolution over time and space. More broadly, this research enhances our understanding of the multifaceted, internal and external challenges to slavery in the nineteenth century and leading up to the Civil War. Indeed, it argues that slave stealers shaped antebellum southern political thought and made a significant contribution to the rising sense of insecurity over the future of the institution, which led to the growth of sectionalism and the outbreak of war.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3037076929184758029

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Notice concerning a white man being put on trial, imprisoned, and branded on the hand with ‘SS’ for slave stealing

Reflections on a decade of anti-slavery efforts in the UK

Wilberforce Institute Webinar, Thursday 18 March 2021, 4pm GMT

Klara Skrivankova

Grants Manager for Trust for London.

We hope you will join us for our next webinar on Thursday March 18 at our usual time of 4pm (GMT). The speaker will be Klara Skrivankova, now working as Grants Manager for Trust for London. Before joining the Trust, Klara worked for Anti-Slavery International and acted as an expert advisor to the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She has also served on the boards of two United Nations Trust Funds and advised international bodies, including the Council of Europe. She currently serves on the boards of PIN UK, Hibiscus Initiatives and the Association of Charitable Foundations, and is involved with initiatives around international anti-trafficking and business and human rights. Recognised as an expert on human trafficking and forced labour in the UK and internationally, Klara has been working in the field since 2000.

Klara had planned to come up to the Wilberforce Institute last year, but her talk had to be put on hold because of the Covid-19 epidemic. We are delighted she has been able to reschedule.

Klara’s talk, entitled, ‘On the road to eradication: Reflections on a decade of anti-slavery efforts in the UK’, will consider how the UK’s response to modern slavery has changed over the past ten years, both from a broader international perspective and from the perspective of people’s everyday lives in communities around the country. She will discuss the impact of UK specific issues such Brexit, changes in immigration regulations and the economic impact of Covid-19, and place them alongside international developments in law and policy and the broader global problems of Covid-19 and climate change.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1710408397181010960

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

What’s going on at the Wilberforce Institute?

Wilberforce Institute Webinar, Thursday 11 February 2021, 4pm GMT

On February 11 at 4pm GMT we hold our regular ‘What’s going on at the Wilberforce Institute?’ slot, this year by webinar, when we showcase the work of our PhD students. This year we welcome back Craig Barlow, now with his doctorate completed: he successfully defended his thesis in April last year. Craig will talk on ‘Criminal Exploitation and the Statutory Defence: Putting Theory into Practice’. Since he completed his thesis, entitled ‘Child Criminal Exploitation: A New Systemic Model to Improve Professional Assessment, Investigation and Intervention’, the model he devised has been applied to case analysis and the development of expert evidence in both the criminal and family justice systems, in relation to modern slavery, and in the wider context of the general safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. His presentation will describe and explain this approach in the context of trafficking for criminal exploitation and the statutory defence for victims of criminal exploitation under Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Our three newest PhD students, Isabel Arce Zelada, Mavuto K. Banda and Jen Nghishitende, who make up the ‘Living with Modern Slavery’ cluster, will follow, giving us insights into their research so far. All three joined us in Autumn last year, despite experiencing a number of problems as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic. They have done incredibly well in difficult circumstances and have now begun to put their own stamp on their projects.

Isabel will talk first about ‘Asylum as Violence in UK Courts’.

Her project looks at the process of asylum within the liminal state of being outside of the nation-state as a person seeking asylum. By acknowledging that we live under a grand narrative of human rights that are tied to nations the liminal space of leaving a nation-state to seek refuge somewhere else exposes a state of being in which no nation-state is kept responsible for the enforcement of an individual’s human rights. How does this affect subjectification?

The asylum process is heavily reliant on the narrative of the person seeking asylum, however, it also scrutinises the narrative from the initial interview and throughout the court hearing. Whether the person is accepted as a refugee by the end of the process or not they will have experienced:

  1. being extracted from their previous nation to refer to them as an individual in the eyes of the court;
  2. being subjectified into categories already existing in the asylum narrative; and
  3. having their identity questioned by national or personal notions of what that identity should be.

Isabel is interested in the reality of going through a process of subjectification in which identities are disputed and asked to be proven throughout that process. And what are the experiences of those going through a process in which the subjectification into an asylum seeker and a refugee supersedes the personal subjectification of the person seeking asylum?

Jen will talk next about her project, which investigates a related issue: ‘The Dignity and Rights of Women and Children Subjected to Modern Slavery in the United Kingdom’.

In recent years, the spotlight has been placed on the accounts of survivors of modern slavery – their tales of slavery and their eventual escape or rescue. As such, scant attention has been placed on what happens after slavery: how survivors go on with their lives and how they reintegrate into society with their rights and dignity intact. Jen’s research will investigate life after modern slavery in the United Kingdom, specifically focusing on women and children and how they attempt to move on with their lives after experiencing the ordeal of modern slavery, including the support available to them to achieve ‘normal’ lives.

Finally, Mavuto’s project comes at modern slavery from the opposite perspective, investigating how restrictions on modern slavery can work to make children more vulnerable to exploitation. His project is entitled ‘Evaluating child labour bans in Malawi’s agriculture’.

The United Nations and International Labour Organisation are promoting children’s rights and fighting against all forms of child labour around the globe through legal frameworks. Being one of the signatories to these greements, the Malawi Government has put in place policies and legal instruments to operationalise their international obligations on children’s rights and committed itself to combat child labour. This study aims at exploring the impact of banning under-18 year olds  from working in the commercial tea and tobacco estates in Malawi on youth and their families’ livelihoods.

To attend this free event, please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2567521691498653456

Wilberforce Institute Webinars, Spring 2021

Covid-19 may continue to restrict our opportunities to meet in person, but we hope you will join us in the coming weeks as we bring you a range of expert speakers with a wide variety of interests in our Spring season of webinar talks. Further details and confirmed titles will be available in due course, but for now we aim to introduce you to our experts and their interests. The talks will run from January until May.

Thursday January 28 2021, 4pm GMT

We begin on Thursday January 28 with Professor Sophie White, of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, who will talk about her latest book Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture/University of North Carolina Press, 2019) https://uncpress.org/book/9781469654041/voices-of-the-enslaved/

Voices of the Enslaved draws on an exceptional set of source material about slavery in French America: court cases in which the enslaved themselves testified. It has won no fewer than seven awards to date, including the prestigious Frederick Douglass Award 2020 for the best book published in English on slavery, resistance or abolition.

Professor White is a historian of early America with an interdisciplinary focus on cultural encounters between Europeans, Africans and Native Americans, and a commitment to Atlantic and global research perspectives. She is also the author of Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana (Penn Press/McNeil Center for Early American Studies, 2012), of over 10 articles and essays on slavery and race, is co-editor with Trevor Burnard of Hearing Enslaved Voices: African and Indian Slave Testimony in British and French America, 1700–1848 (Routledge, 2020), and is completing a digital humanities project on slave testimony as autobiography in collaboration with the Omohundro Institute.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3585260440312170766

***

Thursday February 11 2021, 4pm GMT

February sees our regular ‘What’s going on at the Wilberforce Institute?’ slot, when we showcase the work of some of our PhD students. This year we welcome back Craig Barlow, who successfully defended his thesis in April last year on the subject of ‘Child Criminal Exploitation: A new systematic model to improve professional assessment, investigation and intervention’. He will present a summary of his findings. Our three newest PhD students, Isabel Arce Zelada, Mavuto K. Banda and Jen Nghishitende, who make up the ‘Living with the consequences of slavery’ cluster, will draw the evening to a close with a brief discussion of their projects so far.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2567521691498653456

***

Thursday March 18 2021, 4pm GMT

In March we welcome Klara Skrivankova, formerly of Anti-Slavery International, who is now working as Grants Manager for Trust for London.

Recognised as an expert on human trafficking and forced labour in the UK and internationally, she has been working in the field since 2000. Klara will share her reflections on the UK’s response to modern slavery over the past ten years and consider how close we are to eradicating it.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1710408397181010960

***

Thursday April 22 2021, 4pm BST

For our April session we welcome Dr Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of Slavery and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool.

Dr Sandy’s work has involved archival research in every former slave state in the southern United States looking at slavery, plantation management, resistance, free people of colour, voluntary enslavement, the theft of enslaved people and the laws of slavery. Her most recent work investigates the illegal trafficking of the enslaved in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

***

Thursday May 20 2021, 4pm BST

In our final webinar of the Spring in May we welcome Dr Jelmer Vos, Lecturer in Global History at the University of Glasgow. His research interests focus on Angola, the Atlantic slave trade, and commodity history in Africa.

Dr Vos was part of the team that developed the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, and he acted as consultant on the project to establish historical connections between ABN AMRO, a Dutch bank, and slavery in the Atlantic world.  His current book looks at the role of Angola in the global coffee economy, examining how Angolan robusta coffee became a global commodity, and how western demand for this product affected the lives of the Africans who produced it.

An Abolitionist’s Diaries: Rethinking William Wilberforce

Professor John Coffey

University of Leicester

Join us on Thursday 10 December 4-6PM GMT for our latest Wilberforce Institute Webinar. 

William Wilberforce kept diaries between 1779 and the year of his death, 1833. Altogether, they ran to over a million words, though some volumes are no longer extant – the total word count of the surviving diaries is c. 825,000 words. Most are held in Oxford  at the Bodleian Library, though the largest volume (c.150,000 words) is in Wilberforce House Museum. The abolitionist’s sons reproduced c.100,000 words from the diaries in the 1838 biography of their father, and historians have rarely ventured beyond these extracts to the original manuscripts, written in Wilberforce’s sometimes indecipherable hand. The Wilberforce Diaries Project is preparing the first scholarly edition for Oxford University Press, and in this seminar John Coffey will be introducing the manuscripts and asking how the diaries might reshape our understanding of Wilberforce and British abolitionism.

Professor Coffey’s research has focused on various facets of Anglophone Protestant culture. He has a particular expertise in seventeenth-century Puritanism and the English Revolution and has published widely in this area. His most recent book is Exodus and Liberation: Deliverance Politics from John Calvin to Martin Luther King Jr. (Oxford University Press, 2013).

To register for this free event, please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4614890404820629008

Excerpt from Wilberforce’s diary for 1788

The Yellow Demon of Fever

Professor Manuel Barcia

Chair of Global History

University of Leeds

Join us on Thursday 12 November 4-6PM GMT for our latest Wilberforce Institute Webinar. In this webinar Professor Manuel Barcia, Chair of Global History at the University of Leeds, will talk about the subject of his new book, The Yellow Demon of Fever: Fighting Disease in the Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade. Professor Barcia’s expertise in slavery is wide ranging, from piracy to medical history, and he has published monographs on slave rebellion, the Great African Slave Revolt of 1825 and slave soldiers in the Atlantic World to great critical acclaim. The Yellow Demon of Fever, published earlier this year, is a pathbreaking history of how participants in the slave trade influenced the growth and dissemination of medical knowledge in the nineteenth century.

To register for this free event, please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8143266098419797005

Rethinking British Anti-Slavery

The Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture

Wilberforce Institute Webinar, Thursday 15 October 2020, 4-6PM BST

Professor Catherine Hall

Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History

University College London

John Oldfield

Professor of Slavery and Emancipation

Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

Join us on Thursday 15 October at 4pm for our annual Alderman Sydney Smith Lecture. This year Professor John Oldfield, former Director of the Wilberforce Institute, is joined by Professor Catherine Hall, Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London, and principal investigator of the Legacies of British Slave Ownership Project.  Professor Oldfield, a specialist in the history of abolition, will reconsider British Anti-Slavery, and Professor Hall will offer a response. As we draw ever nearer to 2033 and the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean, Professor Oldfield argues that there is a pressing need to re-evaluate British anti-slavery. In his lecture, he will map out some of the challenges facing scholars and practitioners, drawing particular attention to recent historiographical trends in the UK and the USA. ‘Distilling all of this work emphasises the need for a more “integrated” history of British anti-slavery that not only takes into account black agency but also pro-slavery ideology and culture, transatlanticism and the wider world outside Westminster.’

To register for this free event, please click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4356875706984109582