Humanities Society - “A Mild Despotism, Tempered by Sugar”: the Rise of the Overseer State in Britain’s Post-Slavery Empire

Dr. Sascha Auerbach Lecturer in Modern British and Colonial History, Department of History, University of Nottingham
Date 23/02/2021 at 18.00 - 23/02/2021 at 19.00 Where Zoom webinar

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This paper examines the indentured labour system that, in the wake of emancipation, replaced slavery across Britain’s archipelago of plantation colonies. Far from becoming an “abolitionist state,” as the traditional narrative of British history has claimed, what emerged after emancipation in 1834 was an “overseer state” where colonial governments colluded with plantation owners to keep millions of Indian and Chinese immigrant labourers in a position of subordination.  

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