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Name: Sophie Campbell

PhD: American Studies

Thesis Title: Before and Beyond Abolition: Re-remembering and representing the economic impact of Transatlantic Slavery in England and New England.


About Me: I completed my BA in History at Lancaster University (2012-15) before undertaking an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds (2015-16). After working for a year in financial services, I was awarded AHRC Midlands3Cities funding to commence my PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2017.


Supervisors and Institution(s): Professor Zoe Trodd (UoN) & Dr Susanne Seymour (UoN)

Thesis Description: 

My thesis is broadly concerned with critical heritage studies and public memory, through the specific lens of Transatlantic Slavery commemoration. Rather than collective memory however, it uses Jay Winter’s term ‘collective remembrance’ – which he describes as an ongoing process of contestation and negotiation between several groups.

One of the criticisms of 2007 bicentenary commemorative activity in England was that it failed to show the economic impact of Transatlantic Slavery, and my research looks to explore what has been done since then to highlight, or further ignore, this. For comparison, it will also look at recent activity in New England where there was also a significant economic impact and a similarly comparatively small number of enslaved Africans on their soil and thus few explicit physical remnants of slavery. Both regions also had connected industrial revolutions that imported slave cultivated cotton long after abolition.

This research will contribute to the growing discussion around the nature of heritage itself, as well as exploring further issues around the ‘transnational’, nationalism, identity and race that intersect with collective remembrance of Transatlantic Slavery.


Research Interests: Slavery, Race, Commemoration, Museums, Heritage, Public Memory, Collective Remembrance. 

Conference Papers & Presentations:

‘Remembering and labeling the millions involved in Britain’s Transatlantic Slavery’, at Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders and Collaborators as historical concepts: Redundant labels, useful categorisations or somewhere in between? (University of Kent, 19 June 2018).

‘Is slavery still on the margins?’, poster session presented at Memories at the Margin: Exploring the voices and memories of the suppressed, marginalised, and silenced (University of Bristol, 7-8 June 2018).

‘Sites of Memory as Palimpsests?: Bristol’s Statue of Edward Colston’, paper delivered at Orientations: A Conference of Narrative and Place (University of Nottingham, 30-31 May 2018).

‘Why visit the sites?’, poster session on methodological justification presented at the annual M3C Research Festival (University of Birmingham, 24 May 2018).

‘Greatest statesmen or worst villains? Public commemorations of defenders of enslavement’, paper delivered at Moving Monuments: History, Memory and the Politics of Public Sculpture (Manchester Metropolitan University, 20-21 April 2018).



  • British Association for American Studies
  • Association of Critical Heritage Studies
  • Museums Association





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