Annual International Lecture 2012: Whose Histories? Slave Owners' Stories of the Slave Trade and Slavery
- Date: Wednesday 2 May 2012, 17:15 –
- Location: Business School Western LT (G.01)
- Cost: Free
'Whose Histories? Slave Owners' Stories of the Slave Trade and Slavery' was the Annual International Lecture 2012 from the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Leeds.
'Whose Histories? Slave Owners' Stories of the Slave Trade and Slavery' was the Annual International Lecture 2012 from the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Leeds. It was given by Catherine Hall, Professor of Social and Cultura History at University College London (UCL).
Based on the Legacies of British Slave Ownership project currently underway at UCL, the paper addressed the long-neglected question of the place of slavery in British social, political and cultural life. Using the census of British slave-owners that was compiled at abolition (owners were entitled to compensation as their erstwhile 'property' were emancipated), the Legacies project promises to unearth in full and complex detail, the varied after-lives of slavery in Britain.
Alongside colleagues Nick Draper (working on economic legacies) and Keith McClelland (researching political legacies), Professor Hall has been focusing on the cultural lives of slave owners before and after abolition. In her ICPS lecture, she focused on three literary-minded slave owners, Theodora Lynch, Frederick Marryat and Charles Kingsley, all of whom played a major part in shaping popular attitudes towards race, empire and the Caribbean.
Taking each in turn, Professor Hall outlined the discursive significance of their fictional and non-fictional work. In the writings of Lynch, for example, the pernicious, degrading nature of slavery was displaced by a nostalgic, halcyon vision that placed benevolent whites alongside loyal, contented blacks. Frederick Marryat and Charles Kingsley wrote in another register altogether, steeped in a masculine adventurism that served to reinstate the authority and justice of an archetypal white man in command.