Search

Life after Slavery: Slave Histories in the Global Era, 1750-1900

Researchers

Dr Jelmer Vos (University of Glasgow)Dr Christine Whyte (University of Glasgow)Dr Andrew McKillop (University of Glasgow)Dr Dries LynaProf. Jan KokDr Coen van Galen

Time frame

June 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020

Project description

When and wherever systems of slavery existed, enslaved people struggled to be free. This project brings together a unique team of scholars from Glasgow and Nijmegen to examine what happened when enslaved people achieved their emancipation. What did freedom from slavery look like in colonial societies that were profoundly unequal?

Working across Dutch, British and Portuguese imperial spaces between 1750 and 1900, participants in this project use Big Data to study the lives of enslaved people who were either legally emancipated or snatched their freedom through flight. From maroon communities in the Caribbean to the forced resettlement of emancipated slaves in European colonies in Africa and the emancipation of slaves in segregated colonial port cities in Asia, enslaved people encountered ‘freedom’ in very different ways. How people achieved and experienced the transition from slavery to freedom has had profound consequences for their descendants. This project specifically emphasises the importance of family relations as a historical theme, as the forced separation of families and kin was one of the most traumatic moments in the experience of enslavement, while the ability to forge and enjoy family relations was a key objective for many emancipated slaves. In this project, researchers share and discuss their existing datasets to uncover similarities and differences in the life experience of emancipated slaves across different European empires, aiming to push the boundaries of slavery studies by integrating Big Data and family history.

The project will result in a range of academic outputs, including joint paper presentations at the European Social Science History Conference and an international workshop at Radboud University, leading to the publication of a special issue of an international peer-reviewed journal. More significantly, the project will lay a foundation for increased collaboration between the Radboud University and the University of Glasgow on writing joint grant proposals and curriculum development, as well as a new international research network.

William Blake drew this picture based on the stories of John Gabriel Stedman. He is responsible for revealing shocking images of slavery and slave life to European countries.

William Blake drew this picture based on the stories of John Gabriel Stedman. He is responsible for revealing shocking images of slavery and slave life to European countries.

Keywords

Manumitted slaves, emancipation, family relations, big data

Results

E-Workshop “Life After Slavery” (December 7 & 8, 2020). The online workshop Life after Slavery took place as part of this project. Information about this workshop, including the program and the abstracts of the lectures, can be found by following the link below:

Financier

Radboud- Glasgow Collaboration Fund

Partner

University of Glasgow

Contact

Dries Lyna,  dries.lyna@ru.nl