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Post-Slavery: Comparing the Caribbean and Africa

Welcome to the webpages of the joint research project "Post-Slavery: Comparing the Caribbean and Africa", which is funded by the German Research Council.

The successful funding application was drafted by the Transformation Studies working group.

Term of funding: 2010 - 2012 (a second round of research projects is designated)


The interdisciplinary research project “Post-Slavery: Comparing the Caribbean and Africa” attends to the history and culture of post emancipation in the British, Danish, French and Spanish Caribbean, in British and French West Africa as well as in South Africa. It applies a micro-historical approach within a global history framework. The project focuses on how Caribbean and African post emancipation societies experienced the transformation from a slave economy to new forms of economic relations, changes in family organization and gender relations. Of particular interest are the struggles of former slaves for social and political rights.

The project distinguishes itself from other academic endeavours in this field by drawing comparisons and reconstructing connections on multiple levels such as between societies of one region and across the Atlantic. A thorough analysis of the historical contexts including slavery and abolition but also their long term effects and representations in Anglophone Caribbean literature are crucial research themes.

Actors such as local elites, abolitionists, missionaries but also former slaves make up the key focus of the analysis. It is our aim to reconstruct the economic survival strategies and socio-cultural strategies of defiance, agency and discourses of former slaves as thoroughly as the problematic source material on marginalised social actors and groups allows for.  

The following individual projects are funded within this research group:

  • Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald/ Steffen Runkel (Department of History): African Abolitionist Initiatives: The attitude of Gold Coast elites towards slavery and slave trade
  • Prof. Dr. Claus Füllberg-Stolberg/ Jan Hüsgen (Department of History): The Abolition of Slavery in the Herrnhuter Mission – Danish West India and Surinam
  • PD Dr. Ulrike Schmieder (Historisches Seminar): Strategies of Former Slaves in Cuba and Martinique after Slavery
  • PD Dr. Katja Füllberg-Stolberg (Department of History): African American Missionaries and Settlers in West Africa
  • Prof. Dr. Jana Gohrisch (Department of English): research on Anglophone Caribbean literature between post emancipation and post colonialism; this project is part of a second round scheduled to start in 2012.

Joint publications

-The End of Slavery in Africa and the Americas. A Comparative Approach: Schmieder, Ulrike/ Füllberg-Stolberg, Katja/ Zeuske, Michael (Hg.). Berlin 2011 (Reihe “Slavery and Postemancipation”, Band 4)

-Periplus. Jahrbuch für die Außereuropäische Geschichte 2010: Christine Hatzky/ Schmieder Ulrike (Hg.) Sklaverei- und Postemanzipationsgesellschaften in Afrika und der Karibik, Periplus 2010, mit Beiträgen von Christine Hatzky, Katja Füllberg-Stolberg und Ulrike Schmieder.

- Zeitschrift Hard Times: Jana Gohrisch/Bernd-Peter Lange/ Irmgard Maassen (Hg.), Slavery and the British. Hard Times, Nr. 85, 2009, mit einem Beitrag von Katja und Claus Füllberg-Stolberg.

- Zeitschrift REVIEW, A Journal of the FERNAND BRAUDEL CENTER for the Study, of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations: Michael Zeuske & Dale Tomich (Hg.) The Second Slavery: Mass Slavery, World Economy and Comparative Microhistories, REVIEW, I, vol. XXXI, 2/ 2008, mit Beiträgen von Claus Füllberg-Stolberg und Ulrike Schmieder.

- Zeitschrift COMPARATIV: Ulrike Schmieder (Hg.) Postemanzipation und Gender, Comparativ, Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung 1/2007, mit Beiträgen von Claus Füllberg-Stolberg und Ulrike Schmieder.