Dr Christine Whyte
- Lecturer in Global History (History)
Slavery Studies :: Children and Childhoods :: West Africa
I am a global historian focused on West Africa, slavery and its abolition and the history of children and childhoods. Here at Glasgow I work closely with other slavery studies scholars and I am part of the Centre for Gender History. My work focuses on the importance of children and ideas about childhood to labour regimes, particularly those systems designed to bring an end to slavery.
I am working on parenting practices, child labour and childcare in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. This project, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, examines the relationships between the family home, civilising missions, and Black Diaspora colonisation of West Africa in the 19th century. The publications which have emerged from this project deal with topics as diverse as forced labour, developmental politics and the history of breastfeeding. I’m also co-leading a project titled Seeking Refuge, funded by The British Academy which is experimenting with new ways of presenting information online about people’s experiences of trying to escape enslavement.
My primary focus is on the historical experiences of enslaved children, particularly after emancipation. Children played a central role in systems of slavery, as well as processes of abolition. My project launches from the question, if children are at the heart of so many of the important process of slavery, its abolition and emancipation, what happens to children when slavery is brought to an end?
Past academic positions
Before coming to Glasgow I was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies from 2013 to 2015. In this positions I worked closely with the Iwalewahaus art gallery in Bayreuth to explore creative practice based research and helped establish the Academy. From 2015 to 2017, I was a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Kent, working with Dr Giacomo Macola and was part of the Centre for the History of Colonialisms. I studied for my PhD at the Chair for the History of the Modern World at ETHZ, supervised by Prof Harald Fischer-Tiné and Prof Andreas Eckert. I also have an MSc in History from the London School of Economics where I was supervised by Dr Joanna Lewis.
From 2000-2006, I spent two years working for the Scottish government as an online learning developer and then worked in the charity sector for a Scottish organisation which supported lone parents into education and training. I maintain an interest in the use of digital and online technologies to overcome social and economic barriers to education.
- British Academy / Wolfson Foundation Fellowship 2020-2023
- AHRC Network Grant for collaboration with Aston University, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, The Yale Centre for British Art, the Gilder Lehrman Centre for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, and the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights. 2019-2020
- Early Career Fellowship: The Leverhulme Trust, 2015-2019
- Small Grant: The British Academy, 2018- 2019
- Library Fellowship: John Hope Franklin Research Center in the Rubenstein Library, Duke University, 2018
- Postdoctoral Fellowship: The Gilder Lehrman Center (GLC) for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, 2014
- Doctoral Fellowship: School of History and Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany, 2013
I am interested in supervising research projects on slavery and its abolition, child labour or slavery in Scotland, West Africa or the wider Atlantic World, and gender or family history in West Africa.
I currently co-supervise the following PhD students:
- Emma Brunton, ‘Ordinary Warriors, Calculating Notables, and Mystic Queens: Violent Women in Precolonial Rwandan Oral Traditions'
- Linsey McMillan, 'Medicine and Slavery in the British Caribbean, 1780-1820'
- Nelson Mundell, 'Runaway Slaves of Great Britain'
- Thajilah Olaiya, 'Origins of the Amina of the Virgin Islands'
- Brunton, Emma
Transformations in women’s spiritual power from pre-colonial to early colonial Rwanda.
- Olaiya, Thajilah Asia Ali
African Lineage in the Danish West Indies: Amina People
I supervised a MLitt dissertation in English Literature in 2018:
- Isabel Bosch, '“I Think They Scared of Us”: Slavery References in post-2000s Hip-hop'
Traders, Settlers, Rebels: Africans in the Atlantic World
Seeking Refuge from Slavery
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2012: Best Contribution by a Young Scholar at the conference Conference: 'Fighting Drink, Drugs, and Venereal Diseases' (ETHZ)
- 2015 - 2019: Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship
- 2014: Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale University
- 2013: Doctoral Fellowship at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology
Selected international presentations
- 2019: Serie de seminaires "SUD" (Universite de Geneve)
- 2014: Invited Public Lecture (Yale University)