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School of History

Professor Vincent Brown (Harvard University)/ London Group of Historical Geographers Seminars (IHR): Possession and Dispossession

When: Tuesday, October 10, 2023 - Sunday, September 10, 2023, 5:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Where: Senate House Room 243 and Zoom, Mile End

Professor Vincent Brown (Harvard University)


Distinguished Visiting Fellow, QMUL: 9th-20th October 2023


London Group of Historical Geographers Seminars (IHR): Possession and Dispossession

Paper by Ryan Fontanilla (Ohio State University) The battle for Bluefields, Jamaica: water politics in the Age of Abolition, c. 1860s, discussion led by Professor Vincent Brown

After the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, white proprietors relied upon the enclosure of freshwater resources to disrupt the proliferation and reproduction of Black autonomous communities. Ryan Fontanilla’s talk will retell the story of how and why Afro-Jamaican tenants of the drought-prone region of Bluefields attempted to expropriate their landlord of his water in October 1865, using the event as a window into the broader political motivations and settlement strategies through which the first generations of free Afro-Jamaicans contested water-based forms of environmental racism from below. An oft-unrecognized event on the western front of the Morant Bay War, the battle for Bluefields affords an opportunity for scholars to reimagine the age of abolition as a fight over not only political and economic rights, but also ecology and building sustainable relations with the natural environment. The seminar is open to all (either in person or online). 


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