Tuesday 12 Nov 2019, Lecture Room 2 (8 Mill Lane), 11:00-13:00.
This open forum is an extension of Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa’s Undergraduate Sociology paper “SOC 11: Race, Racism and Ethnicity”. The event is supported by Decolonise Sociology and will be led by Prof Manuel Barcia from the University of Leeds.
While Universities across the world have been taking steps to investigate their connections to the slave trade, Prof Barcia argues that these efforts should go beyond the headline issue.
In an article for HuffPost UK, he said: “The issue here is that the slave trade is but one aspect of a potential dark past that could have also included any kind of involvement in colonial wars, drug trafficking.”
“While the slave trade remains high on the agenda, colonialism and imperialism more broadly are aspects of this past that need to be addressed sooner or later.”
To prepare for this open forum and inform the discussion, attendees are encouraged to read around these issues in addition to drawing from their own experience. The articles below have been selected by Prof Barcia and Dr Figueroa and are “recommended readings” for this session.
News articles for discussion:
- Cambridge & Historical Legacies of Slavery (This site). Dr Arathi Sriprakash argues that a fuller recognition of Cambridge’s history has the potential to reframe institutional responses to ‘Equality and Diversity’ – away from being a matter of ‘benevolent inclusion’ and towards a matter of reparative justice.
- Slavery and Universities: ‘We Can’t Atone, But We Can Recognise’ (UT). New research centres include the Glasgow–Caribbean Centre for Development Research (University of Glasgow, University of the West Indies) and the Centre for the Studies of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership ( University College London).
- Cambridge university to study how it profited from colonial slavery (Guardian). Two full-time post-doctoral researchers based in the university’s Centre of African Studies will conduct the inquiry to uncover the university’s historical links with the slave trade.
- Cambridge’s slavery inquiry will raise more questions than it answers (Spectator). An 800-year-old university will be found to parallel the moral failings of the nation with which it has been so intimately connected, as a conduit and bastion of institutional power.
- Cambridge University Is Investigating Its Links To Slavery – What Exactly Does That Mean? (HuffPost). HuffPost UK spoke to historians Dr Andrea Livesey and Dr Manuel Barcia, to attempt to answer some of these questions.
- Sixteen colleges to cooperate with Legacies of Slavery Inquiry (Varsity). Sixteen colleges have confirmed that their archives will be open to the inquiry, with four of these colleges announcing plans to undertake their own independent research.
- Cambridge University college bell removed over slavery link (BBC). A spokesperson for St Catharine’s College said the bell “most likely” came from a slave plantation.
- Glasgow University’s ‘bold’ move to pay back slave trade profits (BBC). Glasgow University has agreed to raise and spend £20m in reparations after discovering it benefited by millions of pounds from the slave trade.
- Bristol University to confront its links with the slave trade (Guardian). A new academic role will investigate its history after estimates that 85% of original funding came from slavery.
- UK’s first black female history professor to research Bristol’s slavery links (Guardian). Olivette Otele says she wants to ‘facilitate dialogue that needs to take place’ at University of Bristol.
- New Role: Taking an Unblinking Look at a University’s Past (CHE). Historian Lynn Rainville has been assigned to create a museum dedicated to the Washington and Lee University’s history, including its connections with slavery.
- Stuart Waiton: Saying sorry for slavery traps us in the past (Herald). A colleague of mine raised an eyebrow and suggested this could be thought of as a politically correct form of ambulance chasing.
- Down with the decolonisation movement (Spiked). These newly announced projects may be dressed up in the language of scholarship, but their goal is not an intellectual pursuit of truth but positive media coverage, a continued supply of bright young students and a new round of donations from alumni keen to assuage their guilt by association.
You can find more information about the Cambridge Legacies of Slavery Inquiry on their website.