Research Trajectory #5: The Natural History Collections of Bermuda

empire trees climate

Using Natural History Specimens in Interdisciplinary Research on Past Ecologies

Kirsten Greer

I am the Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Histories and Geographies and am interested in how we can use historical natural history specimens (e.g. birds, plants, rocks) as cultural artifacts to examine global environmental change from an interdisciplinary perspective. Over the last decade, there has been a growing body of work recognizing the value of historical natural history specimens as valuable sources of data in global environmental change. Many of these specimens date back to over 150 years ago, and provide insight into environmental change over time when examined with contemporary records.

However, as critical scholars have emphasized, such historical natural history materials reflect not just simple representations of reality but were entangled in systems of knowledge and power in varying places and times. For example, a number of natural history collections in British museums connect to…

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For Sale: Cuba’s Revolutionary Figured World — Age of Revolutions

By María A. Cabrera Arús Over more than five decades, Cubans have become familiar with a revolutionary iconography constructed, in part, around a sartorial style characterized by olive-drab fatigue uniforms, black military boots, and long, disheveled beards. I have argued elsewhere that this sartorial identity played a determinant role in the construction of an olive-green […]... Continue Reading →

Haiti Links

Haiti has been in the international news this past week, not due to anything of its own making. In the aftermath, historians of Haiti have been very active, taking advantage of the spotlight to get Haiti's story out there, in all its complexity. I've compiled a list of links to some responses to President Trump's... Continue Reading →

New Book: “Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean”

I’m looking forward to getting a chance to read this—scholarship which listens out for the voices from the archives of the enslaved is difficult but vital work.

Repeating Islands

surv15720

Randy M. Browne’s Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean was published in July 2017 by University of Pennsylvania Press.

Diana Paton (Edinburgh University) explains that “Randy M. Browne’s important study of the late slavery period in Berbice uses a rich, but surprisingly underused, set of sources—reports of the fiscals and protectors of slaves—to take a fresh approach to the study of Caribbean slave societies. Browne is attentive to the multiple dynamics of power and the complexity of the situation of many enslaved people.”

Vincent Brown (author of The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery) writes: “Drawing upon a remarkable archive of protests by the enslaved, Randy M. Browne thoroughly reimagines the politics of slavery. Listening intently to his sources, he carefully teases out the slaves’ multifaceted struggle for survival in some of the most brutal conditions ever known. This illuminates the elemental nature of…

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Black History Month UK: Links

As Black History Month kicked off in the UK this week, my twitter feed has featured some fascinating research and writing about Britain's black history. I'll update this page as the month progresses with links to articles, historians, writers etc which contribute to getting Britain's black history out in the public domain.   Melissa Bennett,... Continue Reading →

Black History Month in the UK

Black History Month in the United Kingdom runs during October. The 'official' website for the Month has information about the thousands of events planned across the UK. The 'features' tab of the website has many articles about aspects of black history, and opinion pieces. Click here for the Black History Month site. I also noticed... Continue Reading →

Ending Indenture in the British Empire: the ‘quiet abolition’

It's a century since indenture, the system which immediately replaced slavery in parts of the former British Empire, was ended. Dr Maria del Pilar Kaladeen has been working on a number of events to commemorate the centenary of the abolition of indenture in the British Empire—as she has termed it 'the quiet abolition.' Quiet because it's... Continue Reading →

Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Website: A Review

Reviews in History has published a review by Dr Daniel Livesay  of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership website and database. The website was created by a team of researchers at University College London lead by Professor Catherine Hall, and has been live for a few years now.  It details claims for compensation submitted by slave-owners at... Continue Reading →

Review: Marisa Fuentes, DISPOSSESSED LIVES

Professor Park's Blog

Sometimes the best thing a book can do is make you feel guilty. That is certainly the case with the book I’m gisting today.

There were more enslaved women in the colonial port town of Bridgetown, found on the western edge of Barbados, than any other demographic group. So why do they receive such little attention? Marisa J. Fuentes, in her provocative bookDispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (UPenn Press, 2016), argues that the traditional archive was constructed in such a way to inflict perpetual violence upon women. Until that narrative is disrupted, historians continue to partake in this original sin. Fuentes’s book is, she explains, an attempt at “redress” (12). Dispossessed Livesfollows the stories of a handful of women in the eighteenth century through the lens of documents that only peripherally mention them: a runaway named Jane, a mulatto brothel, an enslaved woman who was…

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“(In)forming Revolution Series: Information Networks in the Age of Revolutions” – Introduction

Throughout September, the Age of Revolutions blog is publishing a series of blogposts in the “(In)forming Revolution Series: Information Networks in the Age of Revolutions.”  Many of the posts will include Caribbean history and connections.

Age of Revolutions

By Bryan A. Banks

“We have entered the information age, and the future, it seems, will be determined by the media. In fact, some would claim that the modes of communication have replaced the modes of production as the driving force of the modern world. I would like to dispute that view. Whatever its value as prophecy, it will not work as history, because it conveys a specious sense of a break with the past. I would argue that every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that communication systems have always shaped events.”

Robert Darnton, Annual address of the president of the American Historical Association, delivered at Chicago, January 5, 2000.

Robert Darnton, Emeritus Harvard University librarian and renowned historian of the French Enlightenment, delivered a lecture on the history of communication before a large crowd at the American Historical Association. Only…

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Exploring the literary geographies of the Haitian Revolution: print & online

The latest edition of SX Salon contains a detailed and thoughtful review by Erin Zavitz of Dr Marlene Daut's 2015 book Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865. SX Salon is a literary platform which reviews and engages with Caribbean literature, broadly defined, and is part of... Continue Reading →

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