Image credit: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

The Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies is delighted to announce the relaunch of its Caribbean Studies Seminar Series for the academic year 2021/22. These seminars will actively promote intellectual engagement and knowledge exchange by providing scholars - including postgraduate students and early career researchers - with the opportunity to present their interdisciplinary, comparative and integrated research on the Caribbean.

The Warfare Origins of the Anti-Slave-Trade Legal Regime in the Atlantic World 

Speaker:Jake Subryan Richards (LSE)
Chair:Adom Philogene Heron (Goldsmiths)

This paper locates the origins of British anti-slave-trade laws and practices in the crucible of Atlantic warfare. Between 1805 and 1820, the Royal Navy patrolled West African and Caribbean waters and captured enemy slaving ships as prizes of war. British laws reclassified the enslaved captives from these ships as ‘liberated Africans’, and subjected these people to bonded apprenticeship in service of the warfare state. The financial profits from prize warfare motivated naval officers to look beyond the high seas for prospective captures. In the new era of peace from 1815, Britain’s courts declared such captures unlawful unless Atlantic polities agreed treaties to authorize them. Treaty negotiations sparked more conflict. Wartime violence and peacetime confrontation, rather than a shared vision of human rights, drove early anti-slave-trade law – and shaped the lives of tens of thousands of liberated Africans in the nineteenth century.

Jake Subryan Richards is assistant professor of international history at the LSE. His first book project analyses the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade as a violent legal regime. Richards has published articles in Past & Present and Comparative Studies in Society and History

Seminar Programme

12 October 
16 November
7 December

Organisers: Eve Hayes de Kalaf (IMLR) and Jack Webb (Manchester)

The Caribbean Studies Seminar Series is organised by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) in collaboration with Race, Roots and Resistance (University of Manchester)

All are welcome to attend this free seminar, which will be held online via Zoom at 16:00 GMT. You will need to register in advance to receive the online joining link. Please click on the Book Now button below to register.

Download guidance on participating in an online event (pdf)