Research Summary and Profile
- Research interests:
- Colonies & Colonization, emigration & immigration, Contemporary History, Modern History
- Africa, England, United Kingdom
- Summary of research interests and expertise:
Colonial Office supervision of the regulation of ‘free’ labour in the British Empire during the 19th and 20th centuries. Currently working on policy towards Africans liberated from slave ships, and settled as ‘apprentices’ in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean, after British Parliamentary abolition of the trade in 1807.
As a former senior archivist at The National Archives of the UK I am an expert in the records of the British Colonial Office and have research interests in the administrative history of the Colonial Office, and in record-keeping there and in the colonial administrations. I am now working on the background to the disposal of records of colonial governments at independence, as highlighted by the release of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 'migrated archive'. See under publications.
I currently serve on the the Advisory Council of the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Advisory Panel for Legacies of British Slave-ownership Phase II.
- Project summary relevant to Fellowship:
Policy towards Africans liberated from slave ships, and settled as ‘apprentices’ in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean, after British Parliamentary abolition of the trade in 1807.
- Publication Details
Date Details 01-Jan-2016 Displaced Archives in The National Archives of the United Kingdom
in James Lowry (ed.) Displaced Archives in the 21st Century (Ashgate, forthcoming 2016)
01-Dec-2015 Freedom of Information and the Commonwealth
Special issue of The Round Table: the Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs edited by Mandy Banton, Susan Williams and Elizabeth Shepherd (forthcoming, December 2015).
31-Jul-2015 Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: A Guide to the Records of the Colonial Office in The National Archives of the UK
01-Nov-2014 'Record-keeping for good governance and accountability in the Colonial Office: an historical sketch',
Essay for festschrift for Dr Anne Thurston, Director of the International Records Management Trust.
01-Oct-2014 The Records of Empire
in the Black history month supplement of New African, October 2014
01-Apr-2014 Review of Macaulay and Son: Architects of Imperial Britain by Catherine Hall
In Family and Community History, volume 17/1, April 2014
01-Mar-2014 'Obscured if not hidden: records relating to Africa in the National Archives of the UK (TNA)
In African Research and Documentation, No. 123, 2013
01-Dec-2013 ‘Lost’ and ‘Found’: The concealment and release of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘migrated archives’
Comma: International Journal on Archives.
01-Jun-2012 ‘Destroy? ‘Migrate’? Conceal? British Strategies for the Disposal of Sensitive Records of Colonial Administrations at Independence’
The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History,
Volume 40, Issue 2, pp. 321-335
01-Oct-2011 review of The Creolisation of London Kinship: Mixed African-Caribbean and White British Extended Families, 1950–2003 by Elaine Bauer. Amsterdam University Press, 2010.
in Family & Community History, Vol. 14/2, October 2011
01-Apr-2011 review of Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Century by Sarah M S Pearsall (Oxford University Press, 2008)
in Family and Community History, vol. 14/1, April 2011
01-Jan-2011 Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: a guide to the records of the Colonial Office in The National Archives of the UK
revised and reprinted 2011
01-Nov-2010 review of Untold Histories: Black people in England and Wales during the period of the British slave trade, c. 1660-1807, by Kathleen Chater (Manchester University Press, 2009)
in Family and Community History, vol. 13/2, November 2010
01-May-2010 review of the Oxford Companion to Black British History, edited by David Dabydeen, John Gilmore and Cecily Jones (Oxford University Press, 2007)
in Family and Community History, 13/1, May 2010
01-Mar-2010 The Commonwealth at 60: a note on its history and some UK records
in Newsletter of the Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Records Managers, issue 46, Spring 2010
01-Oct-2009 'Expatriate' or 'Migrated' Archives: the role of the UK Archivist
in Archives [the journal of the British Records Association], vol. xxxiv, no. 121, October 2009
2009 The 'Taint of Slavery': The Colonial Office and the Regulation of Free Labour
in Keith Hamilton and Patrick Salmon (eds), Slavery, Diplomacy and Empire: Britain and the Suppression of the Slave Trade, 1807-1975 (Sussex Academic Press, 2009)
2008 Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: A Guide to the Records of the Colonial Office in The National Archives of the UK
London: Institute of Historical Research (2008, revised and reprinted 2011)
- Relevant Events
Date Details 16-Jul-2015 Sowing the Whirlwind’: Nuclear Politics and the Historical Record
(with Dr Susan Williams and in collaboration with the United Nations Association Westminster Branch) Speakers included Dr. Akiko Mikamo, author of Rising from the Ashes: A True Story of Survival and Forgiveness from Hiroshima; Professor Peter Kuznick, director, Nuclear Studies Institute, American University, Washington DC; Bruce Kent, Vice-President, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; and Joe Lauria, Wall Street Journal. The first four videos from the conference were posted on the SAS website on 3 September 2015, others to follow.
03-Jul-2015 Mau Mau
Recorded interview to Radiolab (broadcaster on the New York radio station WNYC)
20-Feb-2015 The hidden history of decolonization: What do the ‘migrated archives’ reveal about British withdrawal from Empire?
Paper on the 'migrated archives' presented to workshop held at ICWS
29-Jan-2015 Book launch: Henning Melber, Understanding Namibia
(with Dr Susan Williams) Book launch: Henning Melber, Understanding Namibia (C. Hurst & Co., 2014)
08-Sep-2014 The United Nations and the End of Empire: Revisiting the Role of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld
Organiser with Dr Susan Williams, ICWS, of a colloquium revisiting themes emerging from a conference held three years earlier on 'Dag Hammarskjold, the UN and the End of Empire'. Speakers were John Y Jones (Voksenasen, Oslo), Henning Melber (Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Uppsala), and Edward Mortimer (All Souls College, Oxford).
01-Sep-2014 Here’s What the British Government Has Been Hiding from You
Vice News, 1 September 2014
10-Jul-2014 'Why Join the Commonwealth'
Organiser, with Dr Susan Williams, of a colloquium to address the question 'Why join the Commonwealth'
03-Jul-2014 'Secrecy and Disclosure: FCO 'migrated archives' and 'special collections'
Presentation to the 38th Annual Conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies, University of Glasgow, 2-4 July 2014.
29-May-2014 The Secret Archive: What is the significance of FCO’s ‘Migrated Archives’ and ‘Special Collections’?
Organiser, with Dr Susan Williams, of one-day conference, and presenter of paper 'History concealed; justice denied? - (mis)management of the records of Britain’s colonial dependencies'
28-Feb-2014 Using The National Archives Colonial Records
Presentation to a one-day conference 'Experiences of World War One: strangers, differences and locality' organised by the British Association for Local History in conjunction with the Institute for Commonwealth Studies'.
16-Jul-2013 ‘Migrated archives’: an overview
Presentation to conference 'Connected Histories of Empire', University of Bristol
09-Jul-2013 Obscured if not hidden: records relating to Africa in the National Archives of the UK
Paper presented to the annual conference of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa)
16-May-2013 The British Colonial Office Archives
Presentation to 2-day 'Utopian Archives Workshop: Past and Futures', University of East Anglia, 16-17 May 2013
14-Jun-2012 ‘Secrecy and Disclosure: Freedom of Information and the Commonwealth’.
Organiser, with Dr Susan Williams
21-Feb-2012 Records relating to the Commonwealth in the UK National Archives
Presentation to the Bristol Commonwealth Society
14-Sep-2011 The Colonial Office and the regulation of labour in the British Empire, 1838-1919
International Conference, 'Governing Empires: Central Administration and the Making of Colonial Policies in the late 19th Century', Instituto de Historia, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Madrid, 14-16 September 2011.
02-Sep-2011 Dag Hammarskjöld, the United Nations, and the End of Empire
Organiser, with Dr Susan Williams and in collaboration with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the Westminster branch of the United Nations Association and with the support of the Swedish Ambassador, of a one-day international conference held on 2 September 2001 to mark the 50th anniversary of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld's death.
08-Jul-2010 Sources for Caribbean studies in The National Archives of the UK
paper given at Society for Caribbean Studies Annual Conference, University of Southampton, 7-9 July 2010
26-Mar-2010 Free or unfree? Labour regulation in the 19th century Caribbean
talk as part of a one-day workshop on researching the Caribbean, organised by Dr Gemma Romain, University of Newcastle, and held at The National Archives, 26 March 2010
09-Dec-2009 'Constantly the subject of small struggles': the development of labour legislation in the British Empire during the 19th and 20th centuries
paper given to Institute of Commonwealth Studies Research Seminar, 9 December 2009