Sociology Seminar Wed 16 February 2012

Published: 16 January 2012

Dr José Lingna Nafafé: 'Europe and Africa Relations: Beyond Wilberforce’s Experiment in Abolitionism, Unfree Labour and the Market'

Dr José Lingna Nafafé (University of Birmingham)
Europe and Africa Relations: Beyond Wilberforce’s Experiment in Abolitionism, Unfree Labour and the Market
(Co-organised by Hispanic Studies, the Instituto Camões and the Centre for Research on Racism, Ethnicity & Nationalism)
4.30pm, Room 916, Adam Smith Building

The paper explores the questions of 18C social settlements, labour, trade and commerce against the background of Britain’s experimental abolition of slavery on the West African Island of Bulama, focusing on White settlers in Guinea-Bissau, and Black British settlement in Sierra Leone in the same period. By exposing a less-known episode in Britain’s social history, this paper effectively guides us towards a more profound understanding of West African colonial history and hence Europe-Africa relations. Bulama and Sierra Leone represent two very different kinds of settlement that set out to engage with the questions of abolition, trade and labour, especially how to provide solutions to the problem of slavery and the place of Africa in Europe. The Sierra Leone settlement was based on Smeathman’s multicultural principle that European settlers in Africa alone would create a society similar to that of European society. Smeathman’s plan was to begin a social experiment that would lead to economic reform in West Africa. The Bulama settlement, on the other hand, was founded on Philip Beaver’s principle which was influenced by Sharp’s narratives of Creole society and that of Wilberforcian abolitionism, based not on colonialism, but on legitimate trade leading to economic and social reform. The principal contention of the paper is that this was a different kind of colonialism that failed to materialise in West Africa.

All Welcome

Supported by the McFie Bequest

Any enquiries about the seminar programme should be addressed to:
Dr Kirsteen Paton, Sociology, Adam Smith Building, University of Glasgow G12 8RT
Tel: 0141 330 5070 or email:

First published: 16 January 2012