Dr Kit Candlin

BA PhD Sydney
ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 6447
Fax +61 2 9351 3918

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Biographical details

Kit completed both a first class honours degree and his PhD at the University of Sydney. In 2009, he was a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney working on the ARC funded Black Loyalist project with Prof Cassandra Pybus, Prof Ira Berlin, Prof Rhys Isaac and Prof Jim Sidbury. In 2010 Kit, in collaboration with Cassandra Pybus, was awarded a four-year, ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship for a project entitled Enterprising Women: Race, Gender and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic, 1770-1830. His first book entitled The Last Caribbean Frontier, 1790-1815 was released through Palgrave-Macmillan in 2012. Currently he is writing his second book Enterprising Women, Race Gender and Power in the revolutionary Atlantic 1770-1830 which will be out through Georgia University Press in 2013.

In 2010 Kit, in collaboration with Cassandra Pybus, was awarded a four-year, ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship for a project entitled Enterprising Women: Race, Gender and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic, 1770-1820. The project will examine the role of free coloured women from the British Caribbean to reveal how the culture of empire in both the Caribbean colonies and the metropole was influenced by the presence and agency of such women.

In 2009, Kit was a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney working on an ARC funded project with Prof Cassandra Pybus, Prof Ira Berlin, Prof Rhys Isaac and Prof Jim Sidbury. This project tracked the lives of hundreds of American ex-slave loyalists who evacuated New York with the British in 1783. This project involved extensive work in digital media, creating a complex website and database. The results so far can be viewed online at www.blackloyalist.info.

Kit has also worked on a documentary film project, ‘A Regular Black’ with Prof Pybus, Prof Iain McCalman and acclaimed British film director Adam Low. This documentary uncovered a hidden history of slavery in Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century and makes connections with that history through works of literature written in the period, in particular Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

Kit’s doctoral dissertation was entitled ‘Making Empires Work: Transnational fluidity and the politics of advantage 1790-1820’. This research investigated the negotiation inherent in the imperial project especially in frontier spaces. In particular Kit looked at the minimalism and dysfunctionality in the British Empire in the southern Caribbean at the turn of the nineteenth Century and how that contestation played out among locals at all levels.

Research interests

  • European, particularly British Colonial History
  • The Atlantic ‘World’ 1600-1850
  • Imperialism especially transcolonial and transcultural history and the history of frontiers
  • British and European History
  • The history of the Colonial Americas
  • The history of Atlantic slavery

Current projects

Currently Kit is working on his second book entitled Enterprising Women, Race, Gender and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic 1770-1830. This book is about free women of colour and their descendents in the Atlantic World during the Age of revolutions. It argues that because of its unique settlement the southern Caribbean produced a large number of ebullient and successful female entrepreneurs who defied the normal parameters one might expect of mixed raced women at this time. Many owned land and slaves in large numbers and sent their mixed race offspring to be educated in the UK. Often these descendents rose to positions of significant authority in the Empire.

His first book entitled The Last Caribbean Frontier 1790-1815 is a book that underscores the unique nature of the southern Caribbean during the age of revolutions. The book argues that together colonies such as Trinidad, Grenada and Demerara represented Britain’s very last Caribbean frontier; a place of competing loyalties and insecurity where some of the most surprising actors are ‘free people of colour’ and in particular free women of colour.

As well as his book, Kit is currently working on three articles. The first two uncovers the ebullient lives of Rosetta Smith and Dolly Thomas both of them ‘free coloured’ Caribbean women of great influence. The other will highlight the paranoia engendered by outbreaks of poisoning among slave estates in the Atlantic World at the end of the Eighteenth Century.

Awards and honours

Kit has been the recipient of a number of awards and prizes including, The James Kentley Memorial Scholarship for history, The John Frazer Travelling Scholarship, the University postgraduate Award, and an Andrew Mellon Fellowship to the Virginia Historical Society.

Selected grants

2011

  • Enterprising Women: Race, Gender and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic, 1770-1820; Pybus C, Candlin K; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

Selected publications

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Books

  • Candlin, K. (2012). The Last Caribbean Frontier, 1795-1815. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Journals

  • Candlin, K. (2010). The Empire of Women: Transient Entrepreneurs in the Southern Caribbean, 1790-1820. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 38(3), 351-372. [More Information]
  • Candlin, K. (2010). Transient Women of the Southern Caribbean 1790-1820. Callaloo: a journal of African diaspora arts and letters, 33(2), 476-497. [More Information]
  • Candlin, K. (2009). The Expansion of the Idea of the Refugee in the Early-Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World. Slavery and Abolition: a journal of slave and post-slave studies, 30(4), 521-544. [More Information]

2012

  • Candlin, K. (2012). The Last Caribbean Frontier, 1795-1815. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

2010

  • Candlin, K. (2010). The Empire of Women: Transient Entrepreneurs in the Southern Caribbean, 1790-1820. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 38(3), 351-372. [More Information]
  • Candlin, K. (2010). Transient Women of the Southern Caribbean 1790-1820. Callaloo: a journal of African diaspora arts and letters, 33(2), 476-497. [More Information]

2009

  • Candlin, K. (2009). The Expansion of the Idea of the Refugee in the Early-Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World. Slavery and Abolition: a journal of slave and post-slave studies, 30(4), 521-544. [More Information]

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