Slavery and its Legacies

Monday, July 24, 2017 at 06:00 PM


Old Treasury Building
20 Spring St
Melbourne, Victoria 3002
Google map and directions

Event contact

Margaret Birtley

0418 814 957

This seminar focusses on the some of the legacies of slavery, and commences with presentations by two specialist historians in this field:

  • Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut (pictured left, below)
  • Clare Corbould, Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Monash University (pictured right, below)

There will be time following the presentations for discussion with the audience.

Professor Sinha's presentation is entitled:

The Abolitionist International: Anatomy of a Radical Social Movement

Abstract: Based on the new book The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition, this talk is a “movement history” that expands the chronology of Anglo-American abolition and situates it transnationally. It is a wide-ranging reconsideration of abolition as a radical social movement and challenges much of the received historical wisdom and the dominant scholarly picture of abolitionists as bourgeois reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. The talk uncovers the political significance of slave resistance in the growing radicalization of the abolition movement and rejects conventional historical divisions between slave resistance and antislavery activism. It explores the impact of the Haitian Revolution, the European Revolutions of the 1830s and 1848, British Chartism, Irish Repeal, and the international peace movement on the politics and ideology of abolition. More than a few abolitionists espoused the rights of labor, women, immigrants, Native Americans, and led the movement to abolish capital punishment. They developed incipient critiques of the criminalization of blackness, unfettered capitalism, and the rise of western imperialism. This lecture will illustrate how the international radicalism of the abolition movement shaped its discourse and practice. More broadly, it interrogates how radical social movements like abolition provide political and ideological space for the disfranchised and become engines of political change.

Dr Corbould's presentation is entitled:

Roots and the Australian Afterlife of Slavery

Abstract: Roots (1977) was the most popular miniseries ever broadcast in Australia. According to a newspaper poll in 2000, it remained Australians’ favourite television miniseries. In this talk, historian Clare Corbould examines the reasons why Australians responded so warmly to this important tale about Atlantic slavery and its aftermath in the United States. She also examines some of its lasting effects, in Australian television drama and comedy and on theatre stages. 

 The Making Public Histories series, now in its tenth year, is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building. 

The seminar is free of charge but seating is limited, so we ask you to RSVP. Please book your place using the RSVP form, below.

 Dr CorbouldProfessor Sinha

Posted by on ,

Will you come?


The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

Read More


Our calendar lists all upcoming public events arranged by the History Council of Victoria (HCV), plus events in Victoria, Australia, that are added by our Friends and Members.

If you are organising an event that relates to History, we encourage you to publicise it on our website.

Read More


As the peak body for history in Victoria, the History Council makes submissions on current issues. In doing this, the HCV Board is guided by its Advocacy Policy and by the Value of History, a statement developed co-operatively by the HCV and the History Councils of New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

Read More


Since 2015, the HCV has been pleased to sponsor the Years 9 and 10 category of the Historical Fiction Competition organised by the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.

Read More


Ways to support us:

Subscribe to our free newsletter:
Endorse the Value of History statement:
Find us on socials: Twitter / Facebook / YouTube

Read More



The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).



The History Council of Victoria acknowledges the State Library of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria for supply of the archival images that appear on this website.

We acknowledge the National Film and Sound Archive for the right to use of the video footage on the home page, titled "Melbourne: Life in Australia (1966)".

Image credits

  • Italian sailors on ship at Port Melbourne 1938, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese procession in Collins near Elizabeth Street 1901, Harvie & Sutcliffe, photographers, State Library of Victoria
  • People’s homes, Aboriginal station Coranderrk 1878, Fred Kruger Photographer, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese nurses at Children’s Hospital under scholarship 1947, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Ladies physical culture class VRI Melbourne c1931, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001, 011/02
  • Melbourne Cup, Derby and Oaks Day, Flemington Racecourse 1936, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001/4802, 372/30
  • Flinders Street viaduct at foot of Market Street with advertisement for McRobertson’s Chocolate on bridge, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12800/P0003, ADV 1342