Our research

You can view a list of individual People associated with the CSIS. This page provides an overview of just some of the clusters of activity and interest reflected in our research and activities.

Historical Forms of Slavery

Francophone Studies of Slavery and Revolution

Liverpool is one of the foremost clusters of scholars, in the UK and internationally, researching Haitian and Francophone studies.  Professor Charles Forsdick has worked on representations of Toussaint Louverture and slavery in French literature, and has undertaken a new study of C.L.R. James's The Black Jacobins. He is mentor for Dr Kate Hodgson's British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship on 'Haiti and the international politics of antislavery'. Their colleague Dr Kate Marsh has researched indentured labour and Indian migration to the French Antilles, following the formal abolition of slavery in 1848, as part of her wider investigation of colonial France.

Slavery in North America

The University of Liverpool has a strong record of research in the history of American slavery, in large part thanks to Dr Michael Tadman, now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow following his retirement from the department of History. We are currently home to a major new research project on the history of medicine in the antebellum south, led by Dr Stephen Kenny, which touches on disturbing evidence of human experimentation and racial science. PhD students working in this field include , who is studying evidence of sexual exploitation in the US South.

Slavery, Britain and the British Empire

As the former 'capital of the slave trade', Liverpool is an appropriate home to study British slavery and its abolition.  Dr Keith Mason undertook a new study of Caribbean slavery in comparative context, and he recently published an article in the William and Mary Quarterly on absentee ownership and the concept of 'key slaves'. Our co-director, Dr Richard Huzzey published a first on Victorian anti-slavery and its links to imperial expansion, and he is now researching the abolitionist campaigns of 1787-1838. PhD students working in this field include Jack Webb who is studying the spectre of Haiti in nineteenth-century British culture.

Slavery and the History of Africa

The head of the History department and former CSIS co-director, Dr Dmitri van den Bersselaar,  has written on the intersections of race, slavery and imperialism in representing African personhood, as well as collaborating with colleagues at National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool to present the city's West African connections to the public. He particularly welcomes proposals from potential doctoral candidates with an Africanist interest in slavery and the slave trade, since their supervision draw on the expertise of Professor Robin Law, Honorary Research Professor in the department of History.

Contemporary Forms of Slavery

At a time when the international community is disturbed by the development of new forms of unfree labour and the UK Government is formulating a Modern Slavery Bill, CSIS researchers are at the forefront of scholarly research and policy debate. Dr Alex Balch,  a lecturer in Politics, is leading a major new EU-funded research project on human trafficking. His collaborators include CSIS Fellow and PhD student Glynn Rankin, a former Chief Crown Prosecutor, who brings to our Centre a wealth of international contacts in the legal community and experience prosecuting the first-ever labour trafficking offense in the UK.

Commemoration and Legacies of Slavery

Because the Centre is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and National Museums Liverpool, our members have taken a strong interest in the commemoration of slavery. Dr. Richard Benjamin, co-director, is Head of the International Slavery Museum, leading the third phase of its development. Professor Alan Rice (University of Central Lancashire), an external member of our management board, is a leading expert on the study of memorialisation and the author of Creating Memorials, Building Identities, published in 2010 as part of the Liverpool Studies in International Slavery series.

Dr. Lucienne Loh's work on post-colonial literature and theory engages with slavery in the works of early Black British writers and their contemporary heirs, such as David Dabydeen and Caryl Phillips. Professor Charles Forsdick  has written on postcolonial legacies of slavery in France, in the Guardian as well as scholarly publications, while Dr Kate Hodgson co-edited the volume Slavery, Heritage, Memory: National Representations and Global Legacies. Amongst PhD students participating in our research community, Wendy Asquith explores the legacies of slavery and empire in Haitian art, thanks to a Collaborative Doctoral Award with Tate Liverpool.

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