CANCELLED: Knowledge Networks and Narratives of Escape: Contesting Slavery on a Caribbean Borderland

Monday, April 20, 2020
4:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT

Royce Hall, Room 306
10745 Dickson Plaza

Early Modern Cosmopolitanisms Lecture

–Elena Schneider, University of California, Berkeley

This lecture explores the phenomenon of maritime marronage in the Caribbean, or enslaved fugitives who stole boats and escaped slavery by sea. Across the long eighteenth century hundreds of men, women, and children fled enslavement in the colony of one imperial power by fleeing across a border to find refuge in the colony of another. Many of these individuals sought their freedom through Spain’s asylum policy, which promised manumission to enslaved escapees from rival Protestant colonies who professed a desire to convert to Catholicism. In the eighteenth century so many people fled from the sugar plantations of Jamaica to the shores of Spanish Cuba that a sizable population of “negros ingleses,” or English-speaking blacks, took hold in Cuba. This talk considers the ways that rumor, knowledge, and oral communication shaped this pathway of escape. It takes the testimony and actions of escapees as a window on the intellectual world of the enslaved on a Caribbean borderland.

Detail from Joseph Smith Speer’s “A General Chart of the West Indies,” London, 1796. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.









Elena Schneider is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. Her book The Occupation of Havana: War, Trade and Slavery in the Atlantic World was published in 2018 by The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press. It has received several awards, including the James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History from the American Historical Association and the Bryce Wood Prize from the Latin American Studies Association. Her research focuses on imperialism, slavery, race, and revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean.

No registration is required. There is no charge for this event.

Contact Jeanette LaVere at jlavere@humnet.ucla.edu or 310-206-8552.