Ireland, Slavery, Anti-Slavery, Empire Conference

Nini Rodgers’ Ireland, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 1612-1865 (2007) demonstrated that slavery has had ‘a dramatic impact both on the Irish who emigrated across the Atlantic and upon the economy at home’. As significantly, for black abolitionists, Ireland occupied an important site both as a place of literal freedom and as a vehicle through which complex questions of race, equality, empire and political subjectivity might be explored. This symposium offers the opportunity to further these discussions, and also to open debate on sometimes neglected relationships between Ireland and Latin America, Africa and India, and on the related complexities, ambivalences and contradictions that the context of empire introduces to discussions of slavery and anti-slavery more broadly.

Date: 24-25 October 2013

Venue: UCD Humanities Institute

The draft programme for the conference can be found here.

To register for this conference, please email the conference organisers:,,,

This event is supported by UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies, UCD Humanities Institute and the School of English, Drama and Film, UCD.

Keynote Speakers:

Nini Rodgers was educated at Queen’s University Belfast and taught history there until her retirement in 2005. She is currently an honorary research fellow in the School of History and Anthropology. She has published extensively on the Irish in the Caribbean and on gender history (eighteenth to twentieth century). Her publications include the seminal Ireland, Slavery and Anti-Slavery (Palgrave Macmillan,2007); Equiano and Anti-slavery in Eighteenth-Century Belfast (Belfast, 2000); ‘The Anglo-Abyssinian Expedition of 1867-1868: Disraeli’s Imperialism or James Murray’s war?’ in Harold E. Raugh jnr. (ed.) The British Army 1815–1914 (Ashgate, 2005), the International Library of Military History, series editor Jeremy Black; ‘Richard Robert Madden : an Irish anti-slavery activist in the Americas,’ in Oonagh Walsh (ed.) Ireland Abroad, Politics and Professions in the Nineteenth Century (Dublin, 2003); ‘Belfast and the Black Atlantic,’ in Nicholas Allen and Aaron Kelly (ed.) Cities of Belfast (Dublin, 2003) and ‘Ireland and the Black Atlantic in the Eighteenth-century’ in Irish Historical Studies, xxxii, no.126, 2000.

Richard J. M. Blackett is the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. A historian of the abolitionist movement in the US and particularly its transatlantic connections and the roles African Americans played in the movement to abolish slavery; he is the author of numerous acclaimed books and articles. These include Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860 (Louisiana State University Press, 1983); Beating Against the Barriers: Biographical Essays in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American History(Louisiana State University Press, 1986); Thomas Morris Chester, Black Civil War Correspondent (Da Capo Press, 1989); Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2001); and, as editor, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery(Louisiana State University Press, 1999). He is currently working on a study of the ways communities on both sides of the divide organized to support or resist enforcement of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the ways in which fugitive slaves influenced the politics of slavery. He is Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History, at Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford for 2013-14.