by Katarina Schwarz, PhD candidate, Queens University Belfast
Universities have always revered history as a source of knowledge for the future; a grand narrative of lessons to be taken into the present to enrich our understanding of our origins, make better decisions in the present, and continue progress for the future. It is therefore no surprise that people care enough about the way that history is treated in these institutions to spark broad debates, controversy, and an international movement. From South Africa, to the United Kingdom, to the United States, students (as well as members of staff) are rallying for a radical adjustment in the way that people interact with the “glorious” history of their institutions. Whether or not it is true that Rhodes Must Fall, a conversation about his proposed demise is now unavoidable.
In November 2016, the Antislavery Usable Past project will team up with the Utrecht Network to deliver a five-day interdisciplinary PhD School focused on antislavery and trafficking.
This new collection of essays brings together localised case studies of Britain’s history and memory of its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and slavery. These essays, ranging in focus from eighteenth-century Liverpool to twenty-first-century rural Cambridgeshire, from racist ideologues to Methodist preachers, examine how transatlantic slavery impacted on, and continues to impact, people and places across Britain.
The new publication features the work of Kate Donington and John Oldfield. It will be published in September 2016 by Liverpool University Press. See the flyer for further information and details about the pre-publication discount.
The two-part BBC programme Britain’s Forgotten Slave-Owners has won the BAFTA TV award for 2016 in the ‘Specialist factual’ category. The programme, presented by David Olusoga and broadcast in July 2015, featured the research of Katie Donington and the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project.
Katie Donington will be presenting ‘Local roots / global routes: the legacies of slavery in Hackney’ with Toyin Agebtu, Lucy Capes, Kristy Warren and Emma Winch on 1 July at the Radical Histories / Histories of Radicalism conference and festival, held at Queen Mary, University of London.
Mary Wills will be presenting ‘Identifying a usable past for tackling modern slavery: heritage, memory and activism’ at the After Slavery? Labour and Migration in the Post-Emancipation World conference at the University of Leeds, 27-28 June 2016. Registration for the conference is free but pre-booking is required.
By guest contributors Matthew Mason (Brigham Young University, Utah) and Stacey Robertson (Central Washington University), Co-Directors, Historians Against Slavery
Beginning in the era of the American Revolution, and even with the Quakers before that, the abolition movement was a transatlantic phenomenon. Whether in the era of Anthony Benezet and Granville Sharp or of William Lloyd Garrison and Thomas Fowell Buxton, abolitionists found that differences in the political cultures in Britain and America posed opportunities as well as challenges for the cause. Following in their footsteps, in recent months Historians Against Slavery (HAS) has been examining ways of expanding and organizing our activities in the United Kingdom.