Seminar and Book Launch: Slaveholders in Jamaica

slaveholdersThe Caribbean Seminar Series of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies will host a seminar and book launch. Christer Petley’s Slaveholders in Jamaica: Colonial Society and Culture during the Era of Abolition (Pickering and Chatto: 2009) will be launched on October 28, 2009, at 5:00pm. The seminar will be led by Christer Petley (University of Southampton) and Professor Gad Heuman (University of Warwick) will present the book.  The launch and seminar will take place at The Court Room, Senate House (1st floor), Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

The Atlantic slave economy was crucial to Britain’s colonial enterprise during the eighteenth century but, after the 1780s, abolitionist campaigns helped to undermine the influence and power of British slaveholders. As inhabitants of the largest and most lucrative of the sugar islands in the British Empire, slaveholders in Jamaica found themselves at the centre of a transatlantic conflict over the future of slavery, facing vehement political opposition from reformers in the metropole and encountering new kinds of local challenges. Slaveholders in Jamaica combines social and cultural history to explore the composition, social relations and cultural attitudes of the Jamaican slaveholding class during this era. It looks at how white colonists tried to maintain control over Jamaican society and provides a detailed account of their violent and increasingly radical efforts to defend the advantages that they enjoyed as slaveholding white men.

This book is based on extensive research in British and Caribbean archives. It sheds valuable new light on the struggle for emancipation in the British Empire and on the slaveholders who tried to maintain and defend a system of exploitation that has cast an enduring shadow over the modern world.

For further queries contact the seminar convenors on or

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