Dr Emma Christopher
Department of History
Australian Research Fellow, 2010-2014
Room 842 Brennan Building
+61 2 9036 6228
Emma Christopher gained her PhD from University College London in 2002 and has also studied at the University of Pennsylvania and taught at the University of Toronto. She has received grants and fellowships from the British Academy, the Royal Historical Society and Harvard University's Atlantic World Center. She has also been a Mellon Fellow at the Huntington Library in California, a Caird Fellow at the National Maritime Museum in London and a Paul Cuffe Fellow at Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut. She has been a member of Harvard's annual Atlantic World Seminar and attended a UNESCO slave route project in West Africa. She currently holds two ARC fellowships and is researching and writing about the links between the transatlantic slave trade and convict transportation. In 2010 Emma will be a fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center for Slavery, Resistance and Emancipation at Yale University.
- Atlantic history
- West African History
- Transatlantic slave trade
- Convict transportation
- A Slave Factory’s Global Legacy
Dr. Christopher has been awarded a five-year ARC fellowship, beginning in 2010, to research the history of a small illegal slave factory in West Africa which was destroyed by the Royal Navy in 1813, sending its inhabitants around the world. Previously the factory had sold slaves to be transported to the market places of Havana and Matanzas, Cuba, but after the naval attack the inhabitants of the factory’s barracoons were sent to Freetown, Sierra Leone, to begin lives as ‘Liberated Africans’. Meanwhile the two slave traders caught by the British were transported to Australia as convicts as punishment for their crimes. Tracing not only the story of this factory but also the descendants of the slaves and slave owners today, this project contributes to our understand of freedom, liberty, race and colonial development.
- Sierra Leone and Australia: a case of the vanishing twin
Dr. Christopher’s new project is an examination of Sydney and Freetown, Sierra Leone – both founded in 1787-8 in the aftermath of the American Revolution – as twin colonies. It is a project which aims to explore the circumstances in which the two cities have had such different fates and to understand the context of present-day Sierra Leonean immigration into Australia. This ARC-funded project is an inter-disciplinary venture intended to result in both a book and a documentary film. Her co-investigator on the project is Professor Paul Lovejoy.
- British Library Endangered Archives Project
Emma is involved in a British Library-funded project, along with Professors Paul Lovejoy, David Richardson and Suzanne Schwarz, to preserve and digitize documents held at the National Archives in Sierra Leone. She is involved in running workshops in Freetown as part of this initiative.
A Merciless Place: The Lost History of the Convicts sent to West Africa and the Settlement of Australia (Allen and Unwin, 2010).
co-editor (with Marcus Rediker and Cassandra Pybus), Many Middle Passages: Forced Migrations and the Making of the Modern World (University of California Press, 2007)
(The royalties from this book go the US-based charity Free the Slaves).
Slave Ship Sailors and Their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807 (Cambridge University Press, 2006).