Reparative Histories: Empire, ‘Race’ and Anticolonialism This research area develops radical approaches to the history, cultural memory and representation of European and American racisms, British imperialism and colonialism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the African diaspora, approached through the prisms of anti-racism, anti-colonialism and reparative history. The area also foregrounds transnational perspectives from the Global South to explore the radical histories and cultural politics of decolonisation and transnational solidarity.Current and recent research projects and other activities

Reparative Histories: Radical Narratives of ‘Race’ and Resistance, a continuing collaborative project exploring the role of memories and histories in relation to political and cultural questions of reparative justice within the contexts of ‘race’, identity, transatlantic enslavement, empire and their afterlives. Drawing on key debates shaping concepts of reparative justice, the project addresses the ways in which relationship between pasts and presents are erased, negotiated, contested or constructed, the relations between trauma and resistance and the politics of representation; Cathy Bergin and Anita Rupprecht edited a special issue of Race and Class in 2016 and co-authored, ‘Reparative Histories: Tracing Narratives of Black Resistance and White Resistance’, Race and Class, 60, 1 (2018).

Reparative Histories: Tracing Brighton’s Forgotten Slave Owners, a project researching this forgotten part of Brighton’s local/global history and mapping the town’s connections to the struggle against enslavement that took place in the Caribbean, to material and ideological impacts of the colonial wealth that was accumulated there, and to nineteenth-century antislavery activism; Dr Cathy Bergin, Dr Louise Purbrick, Dr Anita Rupprecht and Dr Gill Scott, 2017– continuing.

The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic.  Dr Christian Høgsbjerg and Dr Cathy Bergin are both engaged in a wider project with others including Dr David Featherstone at the University of Glasgow and Professor Alan Rice at UCLan’s Institute for Black Atlantic Research exploring the impact of the Russian Revolution on the African diaspora.  Two co-edited volumes with Manchester University Press as part of their Racism, Resistance and Social Change series have been developed in relation to this project, The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic (2021) and Revolutionary Lives of the Red and Black Atlantic since 1917 (2022).

The Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity: Launched with the Radical Sixties international Conference in 2019, this collaborative project excavates forgotten histories of solidarity with, and across, anticolonial and anti-imperialist liberation struggles, which were vital to radical political imaginaries during the long sixties. Supported by three UoB research centres (CMNH, CAPPE and CDH), this interdisciplinary project has continued through a workshop in 2020 in preparation of a volume of essays, ‘Transnational Solidarity: Decentring the Sixties’, edited by Dr Zeina MaasriDr Cathy Bergin and Dr Francesca Burke, forthcoming with Manchester University Press in 2022.

Black Temporalities, Black Bodies, the Image and the Archive, coordinated by Dr Tim Huzar, explores new thinking across disciplinary boundaries in a series of events including the symposium ‘Blackness and the Complex Temporalities of the Transatlantic Slave Trade’ (2018), workshops, reading groups and a public talk with Visiting Professor Tina Campt (2019).

Dr. Zeina Maasri, Cosmopolitan Radicalism: The Visual Politics of Beirut’s Global Sixties (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Exploring the intersections of visual culture, design and politics in Beirut from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, this interdisciplinary study critically examines a global conjuncture in Lebanon’s history, marked by anticolonial struggle and complicated by a Cold War order. Drawing on uncharted archives of everyday print media, Cosmopolitan Radicalism uncovers the transnational circuits that animated Arab modernist pursuits and reveals the translocal visuality that emerged with—and, crucially, shaped—Beirut’s development as a nodal city in the global sixties.

Dr Deborah Madden, Victorian lives between Empires: Perspectives on Colonial Knowledge, Imperialism and British Cultural Memory (forthcoming with the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing series) Victorian lives between Empires examines a range of colonial archival sources and different genres of Victorian life-writings, evidencing them as being especially powerful sites of memory. It offers a reflexive discussion, grounded in feminist historiographies, on the methodological shift in the use of personal, life-writing sources, including missionary texts, to engage in broader contemporary cultural politics of the ‘colonial present’ within British cultural memory, primarily in the debates focused on the ‘archival turn’ and ‘decolonising’ the imperial archive.

Dr Eugene Michail works and teaches on refugee histories. He is one of the founding members of MARS (the Migrant and Refugee Solidarity network of workers and students at the University of Brighton) which helps link refugees, migrants, activists and academics. Currently he is working on the post-2015 microhistory of the refugee-reception island of Chios in Greece, where he is also involved in local-run history projects and memory activism.

Dr Anita Rupprecht, Indenturing Re-Captured Africans in the Caribbean,1807-1828, Leverhulme Research Fellowship, 2019-20. This project examines the ways in which colonial labour relations were reconfigured in Caribbean slave societies between the 1807 abolition of the British slave trade and the passing of the Emancipation Act in 1833. By focusing the lives of so-called ‘Re-captured Africans’ who were removed from illegal slave ships and indentured in the Caribbean within the politics of abolitionism, the project explores the extent to which the movement from slavery to freedom can be understood in terms of a wider imperial continuum of coerced labour forms.

Dr Cathy Bergin, “African American Anti-fascism” in Anti-Fascism in a Global Perspective: Transnational Networks, Exile Communities, and Radical Internationalism. (Braskén, K., Copsey, N. & Featherstone, D. (eds.). London: Routledge, 2020.) This work focuses on African American Anti-fascism in relation to the participation of African American volunteers in the Spanish civil war and how African American radicals saw in fascism a particular threat to people of colour, and saw in people of colour a particular threat to fascism. My current research builds on this argument on how the lived experience of ‘race’ in the US instantiated a politics of transnational solidarity which placed African Americans  as the vanguard of anti-fascist/anti-colonial/anti-racist  struggle. I trace the vector of these politics in the late 1960s in relation to the Black Panthers mobilization of the concept of fascism to illustrate the terror of the racialized state.

Current and recent PhD research

Helen Dixon, The Fictional Archive: decolonial feminist perspectives on UK colonisation from the Nicaraguan Caribbean

Ken Olende, Rethinking “blackness” as a racial identity

Ekua McMorris, Performative acts of race: through images, memory and movement in an urban context (PhD awarded 2019)

Sandra Anderson, Forgotten Trailblazers: A Historical Case Study of African American Women’s Study Abroad in Europe, 1859-1935

Staff researchers, postdoctoral researchers and research fellows

Dr Cathy Bergin;  Dr Christian Høgsbjerg; Dr Tim Huzar; Dr. Zeina Maasri; Dr Deborah Madden; Dr Eugene Michail; Dr Anita Rupprecht, Dr Gill Scott.

For further details of individual research interests, see our PURE pages.

Contact: Dr Anita Rupprecht