The Persistence of Memory: Remembering slavery in Liverpool, ‘slaving capital of the world’ - Dr Jessica Moody

5:30pm - 8:00pm / Tuesday 10th May 2022
Type: Lecture / Category: Research / Series: Centre for the Study of International Slavery
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Liverpool was the largest European slave-trading port city in Europe. Home to the oldest, continuously settled communities of African descent in the country, the trade in enslaved people and subsequent economic, social and cultural impacts of the systems of enslavement in the Americas had a vast impact on the city as it did the whole of Britain and much of Europe. The question of how this difficult and contentious chapter has been remembered in Liverpool is the focus of the book The Persistence of Memory: Remembering slavery in Liverpool, ‘slaving capital of the world’ published by Liverpool University Press in 2020. This talk introduces the book’s main arguments and themes, exploring why looking at Liverpool’s history of its public memory of enslavement – going back to the beginning of the 19th century and mapping change over time up to the 21st century - can reveal the ways in which memory has persisted; changing and being changed, but also surprisingly familiar and resilient in other ways. Liverpool has had more permanent forms of commemoration, public history and memorialisation in relation to enslavement than any other former slave-trading port city. At a time when statues to enslavers are being pulled down and public memorialisation of empire is being questioned, many places are looking to Liverpool and its more pronounced memorial culture. This talk, and this book, shows that there is a much longer history to the struggle over memory to be told which stretches back over two centuries.
You can buy the book in advance here. You will also be able to buy copies on the night and get them signed by Jessica

About our Speaker:
Dr Jessica Moody is Senior Lecturer in Public History at the University of Bristol. She has previously worked for the Universities of Portsmouth and York, and for National Museums Liverpool. Her research considers the public memory of difficult pasts especially transatlantic enslavement and she has published on Bristol’s historic memory of enslavement and on country houses in Britain. She is currently working on dance, memorialisation and decolonial approaches to memory as a co-investigator on the UKRI funded Citizen Science Project Decolonising Memory: Digital Bodies in Movement (a strand of the larger Citizens Researching Together project, PI Professor Olivette Otele).