Manuel Barcia

Manuel Barcia


I studied History at undergraduate level at the University of Havana. I then took a Masters in Comparative History and a PhD in History at the University of Essex. After concluding my PhD I went on to teach at the universities of Essex and Nottingham before coming to Leeds in 2006.

My research focuses on the history of slavery, the slave trade and global imperialism in the nineteenth-century. I am also a contributor to The Washington PostThe Huffington Post, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and Al Jazeera in English.

In 2014 I was awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhume Prize in History, given every year to researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. I have been a non-resident fellow at the Hutchins Center's Afro-Latin American Institute (Harvard University) and a visiting fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (Yale University).

I am currently working on a new project that will examine western policies to suppress ‘piracy’ in the nineteenth century across the world.

Authored Books 

  • Pirate Imperialism: Civilization, Abolition, Trade and the Global Suppression of Maritime Raiding, 1825-1870 (under contract with Yale University Press)
  • Wage-Earning Slaves: Coartación in Nineteenth-Century Cuba [with Claudia Varella] (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2020). 
  • The Yellow Demon of Fever: Fighting Disease in the Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020). [Winner of the 2020 Paul E. Lovejoy Prize for the best scholarly work on the field of Slavery Studies]
  • West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807–1844 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). 
  • The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012).
  • Seeds of Insurrection: Domination and Slave Resistance on Cuban Plantations (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

Edited and co-edited books

  • New Approaches to Comparative Abolition in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans [with Jesus Sanjurjo] (London and New York: Routledge, 2023)

Articles and Book chapters (selected)

  • ‘The Breath of Destruction’: Yellow Fever Epidemics and the Abolition Campaign in West Africa, 1828–1830,’ Journal of Global History 8, no. 1 (2023): 60–82.
  • ‘White Cannibalism in the Illegal Slave Trade: The Peculiar Case of the Schooner Arrogante in 1837’, New West Indian Guide 96, nos. 1–2 (2022): 1–28.
  • ‘Into the Future: A Historiographical Overview of Atlantic History in the Twenty First Century’, Atlantic Studies 19, no. 2 (2022): 181-199.
  • ‘From Revolution to Recognition: Haiti’s Place in the Post-1804 Atlantic World’, The American Historical Review 125, no. 3 (2020): 899–905.
  • “‘Commanders in the Diaspora’: West African Warfare in Colonial Cuba and the Issue of Leadership,” in Aisha Finch and Fannie Rushing, eds., Breaking the Chains, Forging the Nation: The Afro-Cuban Fight for Freedom and Equality, 1812–1912 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019), 33–51.
  • “‘Weapons from their Land’: Arming Strategies and Practices among West African Soldiers in Early Nineteenth-Century Bahia and Cuba’, Slavery & Abolition 39, no. 3 (2018): 479–496.
  • ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship as strategies for success among Cuban-based firms in the late years of the transatlantic slave trade’ (with Effie Kesidou), Business History 60, no. 4 (2018): 542–561. 
  • “‘To Kill all Whites’: The Ethics of African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba, 1807-1844,” Journal of African Military History 1, no. 1 (2017): 72–92. 
  • ‘Going Back Home: Slave Suicide in Nineteenth-Century Cuba’, Millars: Espai I Histria 42, no. 1 (2017): 49–73.
  • ‘Cuba in and after 2016: Some Initial Reflections’, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 26, no. 1 (2017): 3–5. 
  • “‘Fully Capable of any Iniquity’: The Atlantic Human Trafficking Network of the Zangroniz Family,” The Americas 73, no. 3 (2016): 303–324.
  • ‘Powerful Subjects: The Duplicity of Slave Owners in Nineteenth-Century Cuba’, International Journal of Cuban Studies 7, no. 1 (2015): 99–112.
  • ‘West African Islam in Colonial Cuba’, Slavery & Abolition 35, no. 2 (2014): 292–305.
  • ‘An Atlantic Islamic Revolution: Dan Fodio’s Jihd and Slave Rebellion in Bahia and Cuba, 1804-844’, Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage 2, no.1 (2013): 6–18.
  • ‘Un coloso sobre la arena: Definiendo el camino hacia la plantacin esclavista en Cuba, 1792-1825’, Revista de Indias 71, no. 251 (2011): 53–76.
  • ‘Cuba’, [co-authored with Matt D. Childs], in Mark Smith and Robert Paquette, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 90–110.
  • ‘El Conde de Villanueva y la alternativa de la Cuba Grande: una aproximacin a la labor de Claudio Martnez de Pinillos al frente de la Intendencia de Hacienda de la isla de Cuba, 1825–1851’, in Ma. Dolores Gonzlez-Ripoll and Izaskun lvarez Cuartero, eds., Francisco de Arango y la invencin de la Cuba azucarera (Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 2009), 289–300.
  • ‘Rebeliones de esclavos, rebeliones de ‘libres de color’: una comparacin entre Baha y la Habana-Matanzas, 1795–1844’, in Jos A. Piqueras, ed., Trabajo libre y coactivo en sociedades de plantacin (Madrid: Siglo XXI, 2009), 345–368. 
  • ‘Locking Horns with the Northern Empire: Anti-American Imperialism at the Conference of 1966 in Havana’, The Journal of Transatlantic Studies 7, no. 3 (2009): 208–217.
  • ‘A Not-so-Common Wind: Slave Revolts in the Age of Revolutions in Cuba and Brazil’, Review: The Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center 31, no. 2 (2008): 169–194.
  • ‘Middle Passage Afflictions in the Work of Francisco Barrera y Domingo: Literature, Politics and Disease’, in Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Paul E. Lovejoy and David V. Trotman, eds., African and Trans-Atlantic Memories: Literary and Aesthetic Manifestations of Diaspora and History (Trenton and Asmara: Africa World Press, 2008), 53–64.
  • ‘Les Epines de la Truite: Les juntes anti-franaises de La Havane en 1809’, Nuevo Mundo-Mundos Nuevos 8 (2008)
  • ‘Havana’, ‘Sierra Leone’, and ‘Suicide’, in Toyin Falola and Amanda Warnock, eds., Encyclopaedia of the Middle Passage: Greenwood Milestones in African American History (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007), 208–210, 344–345, and 363–364.
  • ‘Sugar, Slavery, and Bourgeoisie: The Emergence of the Cuban Sugar Industry’, in Ulbe Bosma, Juan Giusti-Cordero, and G. Roger Knight, eds., Sugarlandia Revisited: Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas (Oxford and New York: Berghahn, 2007), 145–158.
  • ‘Fighting with the Enemy’s Weapons: The Usage of the Colonial Legal Framework by Nineteenth Cuban Slaves’, Atlantic Studies 3, no. 2 (2006): 159–181.
  • ‘Exorcising the Storm: Revisiting the Origins of the Repression of the Conspiracy of La Escalera in Cuba’, Colonial Latin America Historical Review 15, no. 3 (2006): 311–326.
  • ‘Revolts amongst Enslaved Africans in Nineteenth-Century Cuba: A New Look to an Old Problem’, The Journal of Caribbean History 39, no. 2 (2005): 173–200.

Editorial Work

External Positions

  • Yale University Gilder Lehrman Center. Affiliated scholar
  • Bonn University Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies. Affiliated Researcher
  • Edinburgh University Centre for Global History. Affiliated staff
  • Yale University Gilder Lehrman Center Visiting Fellow (2017)
  • Harvard University Hutchins Center Non-residential Fellow (2016–2017) 
  • Fellow. Royal Historical Society
  • Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE). University of Hull. Honorary Fellow
  • Advisory Board. Atlantic Slave Database Network

PhD Supervision

  • Dr Francisco Tudela (2009–2013), Cuba’s Love Affair with Violence: 1940s Revolutionary Groups.
  • Dr Jose Diaz Rodriguez (2009–2013), Revisiting Empire: The Poetics and Politics of Contemporary Spanish Representations of the Philippines.
  • Dr Jennifer L. Nelson (2011–2015), Emancipados in the Atlantic World:  The Courts of Mixed Commission in Havana and Rio de Janeiro 1819–1845.
  • Dr Joanna Allan (2013–2017), Gender and Resistance in Spanish-Speaking Africa.
  • Dr Jesus Sanjurjo (2014–2018) Liberalism, Slavery and the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the Hispanic World: British Influence in the Construction of Spanish anti-Slave Trade Discourses.
  • Dr Claudia Rogers (2014–2018) Encountering Difference in the Age of Discovery: Understanding Indigenous Perceptions of Europeans.
  • Dr Lloyd Belton (2018–2022) The Inter-American Sphere of Abolition.
  • Rawan Mohamed (2019–Present) The abolition of the slave trade in the Sudan, 1814–1889.
  • Freddie Coombes (2019–Present) Cultures of Exile and the Political Kingdom: Migration, Memory and Nation-Building in Senegal, 1940–80.
  • Alex Ward (2022-Present) The “Second Middle Passage”: British Abolitionism and the Emigration Journeys from St Helena to the British West Indies (1840-60)
  • Emilee Dale (2022-Present) Religion and Rebellions of Enslaved Peoples in the British Caribbean

Areas of supervision for possible Postgraduate Research students

  • Global history
  • Latin American history
  • Caribbean history
  • Atlantic history
  • African Diasporas
  • Slave Trade
  • Slavery and resistance
  • Abolition
  • Piracy
  • Empire
  • Colonialism


  • Dean of Global Development
  • Pro Dean International, Arts, Humanities and Cultures

Research interests

  • Slave Trade
  • Slavery
  • Resistance and abolition
  • Piracy
  • Latin American history
  • Caribbean history
  • Atlantic history
  • African and African Diaspora history
  • Global history
  • Medical history
  • Empire and Colonialism

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>