Please join us for a virtual discussion with the author, chaired by Vincent Brown (Harvard University).
Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 12:00pm EDT / 17:00 GMT
The British Empire, in sentimental myth, was more just and more fair than its rivals. And yet, the "British liberty" the empire promised to its subjects was built with enslaved labor in the colonies.
Slave Empire is a history of how British imperial political economy—as well as ideas of “freedom” and free labor—were shaped by mass enslavement, especially in the Caribbean. The book also shows how the leaders of the British antislavery movement helped transform an eighteenth-century empire of brutal exploitation into a Victorian empire committed to "civilization”—a justification for exploitation in its own right, but also an ideal of social relations, a model of economic development, a set of moving goalposts, and ultimately a weapon.