Dr Emma Christopher

PhD Lond
Senior Lecturer, ARC Research Fellow

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9036 6228
Fax +61 2 9351 6976

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Biographical details

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.

Research interests

  • Atlantic history
  • West African History
  • Transatlantic slave trade
  • Convict transportation

Current projects

  • A Slave Factory’s Global Legacy
    Dr Christopher was 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.

Selected grants

2010

  • Slavery, Freedom and Colonial Development: Robert Bostock and his legacy; Christopher E; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2008

  • Sierra Leone and Australia: a case of the vanishing twin; Christopher E, Delofski M, Waterhouse R, Lovejoy P; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2007

  • Australias Black Past: the shared history of transatlantic slave trading and convict transportation to Africa and Australia; Christopher E; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

Selected publications

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Books

  • Christopher, E. (2010). A merciless place: the lost story of Britains convict disaster in Africa and how it led to the settlement of Australia. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin.
  • Christopher, E. (2006). Slave Ship Sailors and their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Book Chapters

  • Christopher, E., Maxwell-Stewart, H. (2013). Convict transportation in global context, C. 1700-88. In Alison Bashford, Stuart Macintyre (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Australia: Volume 1: Indigenous and Colonial Australia, (pp. 68-90). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Christopher, E. (2007). "The Slave Trade is Merciful Compared to [This]": Slave Traders, Convict Transportation and the Abolitionists. In Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus & Marcus Rediker (Eds.), Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, (pp. 109-128). Berkeley, LA, London: University of California Press.
  • Christopher, E., Pybus, C., Rediker, M. (2007). Introduction. In Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus & Marcus Rediker (Eds.), Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, (pp. 1-20). Berkeley, LA, London: University of California Press.
  • Christopher, E. (2005). Steal a Handkerchief, See the World: the transoceanic voyaging of Thomas Limpus. In Ann Curthoys and Marilyn Lake (Eds.), Connected Worlds, History in Transnational Perspective, (pp. 77-88). Canberra: ANU E Press.

Journals

  • Christopher, E. (2008). A "Disgrace to the very Colour": Perceptions of Blackness and Whiteness in the founding of Sierra Leone and Botany Bay. Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 9(3), 1-17.
  • Christopher, E. (2007). Slave Ship Sailors: A Roundtable Response. International Journal of Maritime History, XIX(1), 333-341.
  • Christopher, E. (2004). 'Ten Thousand Times Worse than the Convicts': rebellious sailors, convict transportation and the struggle for freedom, 1787-1800. Journal of Australian Colonial History, 5, 30-46.
  • Christopher, E. (2004). Another Head of Hydra? Slave Trade Sailors and militancy on the African Coast. Atlantic Studies: literary, cultural and historical perspectives, 1(2), 145-157.

2013

  • Christopher, E., Maxwell-Stewart, H. (2013). Convict transportation in global context, C. 1700-88. In Alison Bashford, Stuart Macintyre (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Australia: Volume 1: Indigenous and Colonial Australia, (pp. 68-90). New York: Cambridge University Press.

2010

  • Christopher, E. (2010). A merciless place: the lost story of Britains convict disaster in Africa and how it led to the settlement of Australia. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin.

2008

  • Christopher, E. (2008). A "Disgrace to the very Colour": Perceptions of Blackness and Whiteness in the founding of Sierra Leone and Botany Bay. Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 9(3), 1-17.

2007

  • Christopher, E. (2007). "The Slave Trade is Merciful Compared to [This]": Slave Traders, Convict Transportation and the Abolitionists. In Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus & Marcus Rediker (Eds.), Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, (pp. 109-128). Berkeley, LA, London: University of California Press.
  • Christopher, E., Pybus, C., Rediker, M. (2007). Introduction. In Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus & Marcus Rediker (Eds.), Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, (pp. 1-20). Berkeley, LA, London: University of California Press.
  • Christopher, E. (2007). Slave Ship Sailors: A Roundtable Response. International Journal of Maritime History, XIX(1), 333-341.

2006

  • Christopher, E. (2006). Slave Ship Sailors and their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2005

  • Christopher, E. (2005). Steal a Handkerchief, See the World: the transoceanic voyaging of Thomas Limpus. In Ann Curthoys and Marilyn Lake (Eds.), Connected Worlds, History in Transnational Perspective, (pp. 77-88). Canberra: ANU E Press.

2004

  • Christopher, E. (2004). 'Ten Thousand Times Worse than the Convicts': rebellious sailors, convict transportation and the struggle for freedom, 1787-1800. Journal of Australian Colonial History, 5, 30-46.
  • Christopher, E. (2004). Another Head of Hydra? Slave Trade Sailors and militancy on the African Coast. Atlantic Studies: literary, cultural and historical perspectives, 1(2), 145-157.

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