University marks Black History Month with series of lectures

Published: 2 October 2009

The University of Glasgow marks Black History Month with a series of lectures throughout October.

The University of Glasgow marks Black History Month with a series of lectures throughout October.

The series commences on Tuesday 6 October with a lecture by Professor Willy Maley, entitled ‘From Aberdeen to Abu Dhabi: Leila Aboulela and the Changing Face of Scottish Literature’.

The lecture will look at the ways in which new Scottish writing by African and Asian authors is changing the literary landscape and, in particular, discuss the work of Leila Aboulela, one of a number of writers who have raised questions of race, religion and representation that go to the heart of contemporary culture.

On Tuesday 13 October, Michael Morris, a PhD student at the University, will look at ‘Scots and Slaves in 18th century Scottish literature: Tobias Smollet to Robert Burns’.

As part of his research into historical and cultural links between Scotland and the Caribbean, Michael will provide an overview of some of the representations of the Caribbean and slavery in Scottish literature of the 18th century, taking into account the problematic response of Robert Burns and the Scottish plantation doctor James Grainger.

The third lecture, on Tuesday 20 October, will see Stephen Mullen talk about ‘Glasgow University, Slavery and Abolition’ and consider the paradox between the University’s role in educating the sons of the tobacco and sugar lords and as the spiritual home of the abolition movement.

The final presentation by Dr David Howard, entitled ‘From Leith to Jamaica: a 19th century Scotsman’s migration to the West Indies’ on Wednesday 28 October, will reveal the recollections of two quite different 18th century ‘gentleman’ travellers – Philip Barrington Ainslie, whose self-belief in his elevated status convinced him to become a West Indian planter, and George William Gordon, a Jamaican national hero of Scottish descent.

The lectures are free and open to the public, and will be held in the seminar room 2 of the Wolfson Medical Building – except the final lecture, which will be held in room T315 of the Adam Smith Building, University Gardens. All of the lectures start at 6pm, except the first one which starts at 5.30pm.

Further details of the lectures can be found here.

In addition, Bernard Aspinwall, a tutor at the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, will talk about 'Glasgow's contribution to the campaign to abolish slavery in the United States'. He will relate how Glasgow and the West of Scotland made significant contributions to the abolition movement through support for American anti-slavery societies, hosting leading American campaigners such as William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The event will take place in the St Andrew's Building, 10am-12pm, on Saturday 17 October. Entry is free, although those interested should enrol in advance by calling 0141 330 1860 or by enroling in person at the DACE Information Centre, St Andrew's Building.

For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email

Notes to Editors

Black History Month (BHM) has been celebrated every October in Glasgow since 2001. It is a month of celebration and reflection which brings together people of all cultures and ethnicities for a range of vibrant and diverse events.

First published: 2 October 2009

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