Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%


‘To fully understand why the shadow of slavery haunts us today, we must confront the flawed way that it ended.’ This premise guides the third book of Kris Manjapra, a Bahamian of African and Indian descent and history professor at Massachusetts’s Tufts University. As Manjapra invites us to see, the ‘voids’ in his family’s history reflect the pernicious afterlife of five hundred years of Atlantic slavery; his loss just one of its manifold legacies.

... (read more)

Melbourne’s Moreland City Council recently agreed to adopt a new name, after petitioning by Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung community leaders and prominent local non-Indigenous representatives. The petitioners argued that the name ‘Moreland’, adopted in 1839 by Scottish settler Farquhar McCrae, derived from a Jamaican slave plantation. Renaming the council was an opportunity to bring about greater awareness of both the global legacies of enslavement and the history of Indigenous dispossession. In this week’s episode, Samuel Watts reflects on the politics of memorialisation and its impact on public conceptions of history.

... (read more)

There is something pleasurable about a good American history book. I recall reading David Hackett Fischer's Paul Revere's Ride (1994) on a train journey from Boston to Washington. I read it not because I was teaching about Paul Revere, but because it was a fine work, true to a tradition in which, as Fischer put it, books 'are a sequence of stories, with hig ...

Until about twenty years ago, historians of colonial North America were writing about it as ‘this strange New World’. Whether because of distance or a native frontier, inflated (or skewed) visions, J. Hector St John de Crèvecoeur’s new man, the American, was thought to have been born on an unknown and therefore malleable physical and institutional landscape. Everything could, as it were, begin from scratch – and that’s the way the Americans wanted it. Today, historians have repositioned the colonies within the seventeenth – and eighteenth – century Atlantic World. In these studies, North American colonials simply lived English, Dutch and French lives overseas. It was not just that they replicated the home country’s customs and institutions in Philadelphia, Charleston or Montreal: that we’ve known. They used an available Atlantic World: black slaves ran to British ships on the Atlantic and served as sailors; New England merchants travelled to the Caribbean; Dutch New Netherlanders as assiduously carried on business with Amsterdam wholesalers as with retailers on Manhattan Island; British soldiers stationed on the African coast found themselves shipped to South Carolina.

... (read more)