Research and Publications
Members of the Migration, Slavery & Diaspora Studies hub are involved in a range of projects.
This project has been developed by teachers, anti-racism activists, and academics, in collaboration with the Scottish Association of Teachers of History. The project aims to develop a broad network of teachers across different areas of Scotland with a particular interest in teaching the history of slavery. Those within the network will then be able to support each other in producing new resources which are grounded in anti-racist pedagogies, to allow easier access to the latest academic research in the history of slavery, and to evaluate and improve teaching techniques in this area.
The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council via its Impact Acceleration Account.
The Project Team:
Professor Diana Paton, University of Edinburgh
Dr Peggy Brunache, University of Glasgow
Dr Joe Smith, University of Stirling
Ms Katie Hunter, St Thomas of Aquin's Roman Catholic secondary school, Edinburgh
Ms Lisa Williams, founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association and of Edinburgh’s Black History Walks
The project was supported by a Research Network Grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. It was led by Professor Nuala Zahedieh, University of Edinburgh (Principal Investigator) and Dr Sarah Laurenson, National Museums Scotland (Co-Investigator). You can view Professor Beverly Leminre's lecture - 'Material technologies of empire: Tobacco, textiles and race in everyday Scottish life' by clicking on the link within the event box below.
More details about The Matter of Slavery in Scotland.
Following the Union of 1707, many Scots moved to take advantage of opportunities arising out of British imperial expansion. In so doing, they became directly, or indirectly, involved in the enforced movement of millions of Africans who provided the labour which underpinned the rise of the Atlantic trading system. Meanwhile, Scots at home witnessed radical change and modernization in Scotland’s rural economy manifested in a surge of country house building. Many have claimed that these developments were connected but discussion of the links between slavery and the domestic economy remain poorly specified. Taking a wide-angled approach, this project explored how slavery’s impact extended beyond individual merchant fortunes, and direct capital transfers, and transformed a broad swathe of Scotland’s rural economy and society.
A programme of seminars and events were held promoting collaboration and exchange between researchers in universities, museums, and the heritage industry. The discussion was organized around four broad themes:
- Accumulation: How far were improvers (builders) directly, or indirectly, involved in the Atlantic slave system? How did the injection of ‘new money’ affect family strategies, estate management, and the allocation of resources at home?
- Production: How did colonial markets for goods and services affect Scotland’s production and employment patterns?
- Consumption: How did supplies of colonial hardwoods, plants, foods, fruits, and other materials produced by enslaved Africans transform country house exteriors, interiors, diets, dress, and parks?
- Aesthetics: How did engagement with empire affect aesthetic values at home?
The first workshop was held on 14/15 July 2017. For further information on the workshop, including an overview and paper abstracts, please visit the workshop's website at scottishcountryhouseblog.wordpress.com
In this project Professor Diana Paton is working with Talawa Theatre Company, the National Archives, and other partners to make her research on African-Caribbean diasporic religion and its suppression accessible to secondary school children. Talawa Theatre Company have used her research to develop Theatre in Education workshops about slavery, the aftermath of slavery, and religion, and are piloting these workshops in four secondary schools in 2017. The project will also lead to the production of an education pack and other online educational material, and to a public database documenting trials for religious crimes in the Caribbean from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century. The project is funded by the AHRC through its Follow on Fund for Impact and Engagement.
Find out more
- Professor Paton's staff profile
- Freedom to Believe: A Caribbean social and religious history resource
- Caribbean Religious Trials
- Video: HCA Freedom to Believe
- Freedom to Believe - project video report
The study of migration and diaspora has been a major theme pursued by members of the Centre in recent years.
Major past projects include:
- Making Ireland Modern
- Managing History: Museums, Sites of Memory and the Scottish Diaspora
- Recovering Scotland's Slavery Past
- Scottish Diasporic Military Identities, c. 1880 to the present day
- Strangers in a Land of Promise: English Emigration to Canada 1900-1914
- 'The Land of Tomorrow': The Ex-Service Free Passage Migration Scheme 1945-1960
You can read more about some of these project at the link below.