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Gender and absentee slave-ownership in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain

Young, Hannah Louise; (2017) Gender and absentee slave-ownership in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between gender, property and power in the context of British slave-ownership in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, working to unpick the categories of slave-owner, ‘West Indian’ and absentee. It demonstrates how both men and women played crucial roles as transmitters of West Indian property, acting as conduits who helped to facilitate the transmission of slave-based wealth into metropolitan society. The heart of the thesis is an analysis of qualitative material. It uses Barbadian slave-owner Thomas Lane as a lens through which to interrogate the complicated relationship between absentee slave-ownership and masculinity, exploring how male absentees, unlike many of their literary counterparts, were able to conceive and present themselves as both slave-owners and gentlemen. But it places a particular focus on female absentees, examining the mediations and constraints that these women faced, while also highlighting the ways in which they were able to carve a place for themselves within these always restricted parameters. Looking at Jamaican slave-holder Anna Eliza Grenville, it examines the ways she negotiated her position as a married woman and substantial property owner, as well as situating her slave-ownership within her broader social, political and imperial worlds. Indeed, nearly a quarter of absentees who claimed compensation following the abolition of slavery in 1834 were women. Using the records of the Slave Compensation Commission the thesis examines, where possible, how the most substantial female slave-owners became claimants and how they bequeathed the Caribbean property they owned or compensation they received. Absentee slave-owners were a large and diverse range of people. This thesis demonstrates just some of the many ways that these absentees, male and female, worked to bring slave-ownership ‘home’ to metropolitan Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Gender and absentee slave-ownership in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain
Event: UCL
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1573603
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