Keynote: The University of Cambridge and Atlantic Slavery

Wageningen University & Research is pleased to welcome you to the concluding keynote of the conference: ‘The Histories of (Post-)Colonial Universities in the Netherlands’. The 2-day conference will explore the colonial and postcolonial entanglements of higher education in the Netherlands, including at WUR, with room for comparative explorations focused on higher education across the global north and south, exploring parallels to and linkages within colonial center of knowledge across empires and from the early-modern to the modern era.

Organised by Part of larger conference: ''The Histories of (Post-)Colonial Universities in the Netherlands''

Fri 30 August 2024 15:30 to 17:00

Venue Impulse, building number 115
Stippeneng 2
6708 WE Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 482828

The keynote will be on ‘the University of Cambridge and Atlantic Slavery’. It will be delivered by Sabine Cadeau and Nicolas Bell-Romero.

This keynote addresses both the economic and ideological dimensions of the University of Cambridge’s historic links to Atlantic Slavery. Unlike previous studies on the connections between universities and slavery that focus on plantation wealth, the University of Cambridge legacies of enslavement Inquiry highlights a new dimension of the study of slavery: the centrality of slave trade financial instruments – stocks and bonds. This talk explores the implications of the University of Cambridge inquiry for understanding slavery’s relationship to financial capitalism as well as British academic institutions’ roles in propagating racial ideology. In addition to highlighting the ways that the University of Cambridge and its constituent colleges benefitted from slavery, this talk demystifies the university’s vaunted history of abolitionism by revealing that the plantocracy and pro-slavery ideologues were an equally significant force in the history of Cambridge.

The keynote will be followed by a Q&A with the speakers. There will be opportunities to relate the keynote to the history of WUR.

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Dr. Sabine Cadeau, McGill University

Sabine F. Cadeau is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University. She is the author of More than a Massacre: Racial Violence and Citizenship in the Haitian Dominican-Borderlands (Cambridge University Press, 2022; Paperback 2024) In 2023 More than a Massacre was awarded the Bryce Wood Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association and the Raphael Lemkin Book Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide. 
Her second manuscript Bonds and Bondage: Financial Capitalism and the
Legacies of Atlantic Slavery at the University of Cambridge
is forthcoming
with University of Cambridge Press. 
Dr. Cadeau was a research fellow for the Legacies of Enslavement Project at the University of Cambridge from 2019-2023.  Her research has been supported by the University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Office, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Dr. Nicolas Bell-Romero, Tulane University

Nicolas Bell-Romero is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Tulane University History Project. He was a Research Associate with the University of Cambridge’s Legacies of Enslavement Inquiry and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge’s investigation into its historical connections to slavery, colonialism, and the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans. He received a Ph.D. in early American History from the University of Cambridge and BAs in Economics and History from the University of Sydney, Australia. He is finalizing two monographs for publication: The University of Cambridge in the Age of Atlantic Slavery (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) and Fighting Words in the American Revolution (under review at University of Virginia Press). He is currently working on a centuries-long history of governmental compensation to slaveholders in the United States of America and the British Empire. Though a specialist in eighteenth and nineteenth-century North American history, he has also published work exploring institutional ties to modern coerced labor regimes.

Time Content
15:00-15:30 Arrival
Location: Impulse, room NcountR
15:30-15:35 Word of welcome and introduction of the speakers
15:35-15:40 Word of welcome by the Rector Magnificus Carolien Kroeze
15.40-16.30 Lecture by Sabine Cadeau and Nicolas Bell-Romero
16.30-16.40 Comment and response by Larissa Schulte Nordholt
16.30-17.00 Q&A with speakers