JCB Fellow's Talk: Matthew Wyman-McCarthy

April 26, 2017 - 4:00pm

Matthew Wyman-McCarthy (Columbia University), Barbara S. Mosbacher Fellow

"Constructing the Colonial “Other”: British Depictions of West Indian Slave Owners"

In the final decades of the eighteenth century, misgivings about the British Atlantic slave system coalesced into an organized antislavery movement. As part of their campaign to convince the public of the need for reform, abolitionists portrayed West Indian planters as possessing lower moral and cultural standards than their metropolitan counterparts. Using sources from the JCB, this talk shows how depictions of slave owners formed a major axis of dispute in the debate over the future of slavery in the British Atlantic. In so doing, it highlights how slaveholding generated anxieties about British identity and the resiliency of the British character on the frontiers of empire.

The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30 p.m.