Category Archives: Paper presentation

AHA Panel in Atlanta

Christine Whyte organised a panel on childhood in 19th century Sierra Leone at the 130th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association on the 8th of January, 2016.The panel focused on the experiences of children as pupils, apprentices and domestic servants in the Colony of Sierra Leone from 1806 until the 1860s.

Panel details

“An Upright and Faithful Boy”: Children of the Elite and Children Removed from Slavery within the CMS Mission Schools, 1806–16 Katrina Keefer, York University

Emancipation and Indenture in Colonial Sierra Leone  Richard Anderson, York University

Fostering Subjects: Lives and Labour of Fostered African Children in the Sierra Leone Crown Colony Christine Whyte, University of Kent

Comment: Colleen Vasconcellos, University of West Georgia

Conference presentation on Liberian development projects

Sign in Firestone plantation in Liberia which reads, Working together with Liberia for Progress: Firestone. United States Trading Co.

Firestone in Liberia

Christine Whyte recently presented some new research into the ways in which the Liberian government used forced labour to assert control and defend their sovereignty in the inland regions of Liberia from the 1870s through to the 1960s. This paper, presented at a panel at the African Studies Association Conference in San Diego alongside Benedetta Rossi, Elisabeth McMahon, Martin Klein and Carolyn Brown, demonstrated how the discourse of ‘development’ was deployed by Monrovia and the American Firestone Corporation to implement these systems of forced labour and justify their hold on the territory.


Forthcoming Presentation by a Centre Member at the University of Birmingham


Book Cover 2

On 14 October 2015, the Centre for the History of Colonialisms’ director, Giacomo Macola, will deliver one of the ‘Africa Talks’ seminars (full programme details) to the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham.

His paper – ‘Firearms in Nineteenth-Century Central Africa: A Revisionist History’ – presents the main conclusion of his forthcoming monograph: The Gun in Central Africa: A History of Technology and Politics (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2016). Marrying the insights of Africanist historiography with those of consumption and science and technology studies, the paper adopts a culturally sensitive perspective that encompasses both the practical and the symbolic attributes of firearms. Informed by the view that the power of objects extends beyond their immediate service functions, the paper presents Africans as agents of technological re-innovation who understood guns in terms of their changing social structures and political interests.

Colonial Violence and the pacification of the Sierra Leone Protectorate

Bai Bureh, one of the rebel leaders in the 1898 Hut Tax War

In September 2015, Christine Whyte participated in a workshop on colonial violence at Queen Mary University, London organised by Dr Kim Wagner. Her paper,  ‘”A very carnival of slaughter” Charles Braithwaite Wallis and the counter-insurgency campaign in Sierra Leone’ analysed the form and nature of colonial violence in the so-called Hut Tax War of 1898 in the Protectorate of Sierra Leone. It closely examined the memoir and ‘bush-fighting guide’ of colonial commander, Charles Braithwaite Wallis for insight into why the repression of the revolt took a particularly brutal turn in the summer of 1898.

The workshop, ‘Cultures of Colonial Violence and Warfare’ broadly addressed the question: ‘What was ‘colonial’ about colonial violence and counter-insurgency?’ brought together scholars working on various aspects of colonial violence, from the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 to murders in colonial Indochina.