The Historical Journal

Historiographical Reviews

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON SLAVERY AND EMANCIPATION IN THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN

CHRISTER PETLEYa1 c1

a1 University of Southampton

ABSTRACT

New approaches to British imperial history and the rise of Atlantic history have had a strong influence on historians specializing in the history of the British-colonized Caribbean during the era of slavery. Caribbean scholars have always stressed the importance of transatlantic and colonial connections, but these new perspectives have encouraged historians to rethink the ways that Caribbean colonies and the imperial metropole shaped one another and to reconsider the place of the Caribbean region within wider Atlantic and global contexts. Attention to transatlantic links has become especially important in new work on abolition and emancipation. Scholars have also focused more of their attention on white colonizing elites, looking in particular at colonial identities and at strategies of control. Meanwhile, recent calls for pan-Caribbean approaches to the history of the region are congruent with pleas for more detailed and nuanced understandings of the development of slave and post-slave societies, focusing on specifically Caribbean themes while setting these in their wider imperial, Atlantic, and global contexts.

(Online publication July 29 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Humanities (History), University of Southampton, Southhampton SO17 1BJ c.petley@soton.ac.uk