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Thu, Jun 27

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Worthy of Freedom with Jonathan Connolly

Worthy of Freedom with Jonathan Connolly

Join NACBS to celebrate the publication of Worthy of Freedom: Indenture and Free Labor in the Era of Emancipation by Jonathan Connolly.

Worthy of Freedom with Jonathan Connolly
Worthy of Freedom with Jonathan Connolly

Time & Location

Jun 27, 2024, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Worthy of Freedom with Jonathan Connolly

About the event

Please join us for our next event in the NACBS Book Launch Series.

Worthy of Freedom with Jonathan Connolly

Thursday, June 27 9:00am PT/ 12pm ET/ 5pm BST

Join NACBS to celebrate the publication of Worthy of Freedom: Indenture and Free Labor in the Era of Emancipation by Jonathan Connolly.

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“In this book, historian Jonathan Connolly traces the normalization of indenture from its controversial beginnings to its widespread adoption across the British Empire during the nineteenth century. Initially viewed as a covert revival of slavery, indenture caused a scandal in Britain and India. But over time, economic conflict in the colonies altered public perceptions of indenture, now increasingly viewed as a legitimate form of free labor and a means of preserving the promise of abolition. Connolly explains how the large-scale, state-sponsored migration of Indian subjects to work on sugar plantations across Mauritius, British Guiana, and Trinidad transformed both the notion of post-slavery free labor and the political economy of emancipation.   Excavating legal and public debates and tracing practical applications of the law, Connolly carefully reconstructs how the categories of free and unfree labor were made and remade to suit the interests of capital and empire, showing that emancipation was not simply a triumphal event but, rather, a deeply contested process. In so doing, he advances an original interpretation of how indenture changed the meaning of “freedom” in a post-abolition world.”

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Jonathan Connolly is an assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois Chicago. He is the author of Worthy of Freedom: Indenture and Free Labor in the Era of Emancipation (University of Chicago Press, 2024). A scholar of emancipation, labor, and migration in the British Empire, Connolly has also published in Past & Present, Slavery & Abolition, and the Law and History Review, and is a past winner of the Walter D. Love Prize.

Phil Harling is Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Miami. His latest book, Managing Mobility: The British Imperial State and Global Migration, is due out with Cambridge this September.

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