School of History, Classics & Archaeology

CANCELLED: Inaugural Lecture - Professor Diana Paton

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation this event has been cancelled for the time being. New details will be published as soon as they are confirmed.

How can recognition of the significance of slavery to Scotland, to Edinburgh, and to Edinburgh University go beyond consideration of economic impact?  This inaugural lecture will consider this question through an exploration of the ideas and family life of William Robertson, Professor of History and Principal of Edinburgh University from 1762 to 1793. Robertson was not a slave owner himself and supported the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade. But he was at ease in a world in which many of his peers were slaveholders, while one of his sons married into a family with multiple connections to Jamaica and slavery.  Professor Paton’s lecture will consider both the Jamaican and the Edinburgh elements of this story.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in the Project Room, 50 George Square, to which everyone is welcome. Free and open to all. 

Please RSVP to Elaine Philip,

HCA Diana Paton
Professor Diana Paton

Professor Paton's biography

Diana Paton is a historian of the Caribbean in global context. Her work is mainly on the former British colonies in the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica, but she is interested in the whole of the Greater Caribbean region, and its relationships with other parts of the world. Her research has pursued three interwoven strands - the history of punishment, crime, and state formation; the history of gender in slave and post-slave societies and the regulation and political status of religious cultures of healing and power.

She studied at Warwick University, followed by a PhD at Yale University. After a year as a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, Oxford, she became lecturer in history at Newcastle University in 2000, becoming Professor of Caribbean History in 2015. She joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Edinburgh as William Robertson Professor of History in 2016.

Professor's Paton's research is funded by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, and the British Academy.

Professor Paton's staff profile

Sep 23 2020 -

CANCELLED: Inaugural Lecture - Professor Diana Paton

‘Slavery, family, and William Robertson’s Edinburgh’ - Professor Diana Paton's Inaugural Lecture as William Robertson Professor of History will be given on 23 September, 2020.

Lecture Theatre G.03, 50 George Square