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Topics: Slavery, British Empire, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 27 (12794 words) Published: May 5, 2014
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NEW PERSPECTIVES ON SLAVERY AND 
EMANCIPATION IN THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN
CHRISTER PETLEY
The Historical Journal / Volume 54 / Issue 03 / September 2011, pp 855 ­ 880 DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X11000264, Published online: 29 July 2011

Link to this article: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0018246X11000264 How to cite this article:
CHRISTER PETLEY (2011). NEW PERSPECTIVES ON SLAVERY AND  EMANCIPATION IN THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN. The Historical Journal, 54, pp  855­880 doi:10.1017/S0018246X11000264
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The Historical Journal, ,  (), pp. – © Cambridge University Press  doi:./SX

N E W P E R S P E C T I V E S O N S L AV E R Y
AND EMANCIPATION IN THE
BRITISH CARIBBEAN
CHRISTER PETLEY
University of Southampton

A B S T R A C T . 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.

Over the past decade, there has been an exciting and productive outpouring of research on the British-colonized Caribbean. Many of those scholars involved in the revitalization of this historiography have approached the history of the Caribbean in relation to wider geographical and political contexts, notably Atlantic history and British imperial history. Moreover, recent attempts to explain global history at the end of the long eighteenth century have demonstrated the role and importance of tropical New World colonies to European economic development. This review examines some recent work about the British-colonized Caribbean during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing on studies of slavery and emancipation. The field of Caribbean history has grown to an extent that it is impossible to include discussion of all recent works relating to the region, even on the Anglophone subsection that is the main topic here. I have tended therefore to focus on the monograph literature,

Humanities (History), University of Southampton, Southhampton SO BJ c.petley@soton.ac.uk 
The categorization, ‘British-colonized Caribbean’, strikes me as the most appropriate for those parts of the Caribbean under British rule. It is somewhat unwieldy, however, and I have tended to use British Caribbean as serviceable shorthand.

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HISTORICAL JOURNAL

exploring the application over the past decade of global, imperial, Atlantic, and Caribbean conceptual frameworks.

I
The past does not fit conveniently into compartments. People’s lives and experiences have always been multi-layered, changeable, overlapping; often they were utterly chaotic. As the influential Caribbean scholar, Sidney Mintz, has...
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