Lecture Series at Yale Focuses on British Abolition of Slavery

The Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the British abolition of the slave trade in their Third Annual David Brion Davis Lecture Series, March 5–7.

Titled “Principles and Agents: The British Slave Trade and Its Abolition,” the lecture series will be delivered by P. David Richardson, director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and Professor of Economic History at the University of Hull.

The lectures will explore the relationship between broad socio-economic forces and historical actors and agencies in shaping both the rise of the British slave trade after 1640 and the factors that contributed to its ending in 1807. In this regard, it will pay tribute to David Brion Davis’ unique and exceptional contribution to historians’ understanding of how ideas, vested interests and individuals interacted to shape abolitionism. As the bicentenary year of Britain’s abolition of its slave trade, 2007 is a timely moment in which to re-examine some of these issues.

The following are dates, times, venues, titles and descriptions of each lecture:

“Growth and Expansion of the British Slave Trade, 1660–1807”
March 5, 4:30 p.m.
Mezzanine, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Wall and High streets
This lecture will look at how the British traffic in slaves became so large relative to that of other nations and why its enormous growth led the British to abolish it when they did.

“African Agency in the Slave Trade”
March 6, 4:30 p.m.
Linsly-Chittenden, Room 211, 63 High St.
This lecture will consider the role of Africans both as suppliers of slaves and as architects of resistance to enslavement, and how their resistance may have affected the rise of British abolitionism.

“Ideology, Politics and British Abolitionism, c.1780–1807”
March 7, 4:30 p.m.
Linsly-Chittenden, Room 211, 63 High St.
This lecture will focus on the Parliamentary debates over the slave trade and how such debates and their outcomes were influenced by enlightenment thought, contemporary events, extra-Parliamentary pressure groups and the skill of the parties involved in them.

The lecture series was established in 2005 to honor Davis, the Sterling Professor Emeritus of History and founder of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale and one of the world’s leading scholars of slavery and abolition in an international context. Each year, the Gilder Lehrman Center and Yale Press publish the lectures in book form.

For more information, contact Dana Schaffer at 203-432-9238 or send e-mail to dana.schaffer@yale.edu or visit the website.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345