Of Armchair Activists and "Good Germans". The Spread of Anti-Slavery Sentiment in the German Territories, 1770-1815

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Wednesday 30th November 2016 / Venue: Seminar Room 6 Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Centre for the Study of International Slavery
  • Admission: Free admission. For more information and to register, please contact Dr Alex Balch at A.R.Balch@liverpool.ac.uk
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This talk assesses the impact of the Atlantic abolitionist movement on the so-called ‘Atlantic Hinterland’ by investigating the German territories. It examines the occurrence of a variety of anti-slavery activities in the Holy Roman Empire which illustrate the so far overlooked role of German opponents of slavery in the transnational abolitionist movement. On the one hand, these individuals critically reflected on their own involvement in the Atlantic slave system and tried to mobilize their countrymen by adapting an array of different practices of protest to the specific German context. On the other hand, they established new connections with well-known British and French activists to obtain information or to support the movement. Thus, this talk proposes that even though there was no institutionalized abolitionist movement in the German-speaking realm around 1800 individual opponents of slavery nontheless contributed to the transnational abolitionist discourse in a meaningful manner.

Sarah Lentz is a research and teaching assistant at the University of Bremen, Germany, and is writing a dissertation on German opponents of slavery and the abolitionist movement in the Atlantic world, c. 1770-1858. Due to a fellowship award by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) she is currently based at the University of Liverpool. She previously studied history at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and was awarded a full scholarship to continue her studies at Smith College, Massachusetts, where she earned a Diploma in American Studies.