Uncovering and Rethinking the Histories of Britain's Colonial Past

Uncovering and Rethinking the Histories of Britains Colonial Past

  • 05 July 2022
  • 17:00 - 20:00
  • University of Portsmouth, Room 1.23 Park Building, King Henry I Street, Portsmouth, PO1 2BZ
  • FREE
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This inaugural public lecture will be a roundtable discussion on the theme of Uncovering and Rethinking the Histories of Britain's Colonial

The Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) Public Lecture, 2022.

This inaugural public lecture will be a roundtable discussion on the theme of Uncovering and Rethinking the Histories of Britain's Colonial Past. Scholars working at Portsmouth University projects on Portsmouth’s history and culture will be joined by the renowned historian Professor Olivette Otele (SOAS).


Professor Olivette Otele - Histories, politics and memories of transatlantic enslavement in Britain: Bristol and Wales as case studies. Prof. Otele will look at the way cities (including institutions) have been looking at colonial histories. She will also talk about the difficulties associated with scholarly activism from a Black researcher’s perspective.

Dr. Melanie Bassett - ‘Portsmouth Black History: Local Myth/Local Identity’. Dr Bassett will talk about the assumptions made about Portsmouth’s Black history and also the city’s connections to Britain's colonial past. She will outline the ‘Portsmouth Black History’ project - a collaboration with academic, community, heritage, and school stakeholder groups - our main aims, activities, and the challenges we face in recovering and raising the visibility of these untold histories.

Dr. Maggie Bowers - a scholar of postcolonial writing with particular interests in postcolonial writing and magical realism. Dr Bowers is a co-director of the Portsmouth Literary Map project which engages with a range of local organisations and communities to explore the rich literary culture of Portsmouth in both the past and present: in ‘Literary Responsibility and Local Engagement’ she will elucidate the links between literary responsibility, postcolonial theory and literary activism that motivate her work on the Portsmouth Literary Map project and how we can approach the literature of Portsmouth through this framework.

Chair: Professor Anne Murphy, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


17:00: Doors open

17:00 -17:25 Tea and coffee available in Park Learning Resource Centre (LRC)

17:30 Public Lecture/Roundtable Starts in lecture theatre 1.23.

17:40-18:25 Roundtable

18:25-18:50 Chaired questions and audience Q&A

18:50 Lecture ends

19:00-20:00 Drinks reception in Learning Resource Centre (LRC)


Professor Olivette Otele (SOAS University of London) is an historian and an expert on the links between history, memory, and geopolitics in relation to French and British colonial pasts. She is the first Black woman to be appointed to a professorial chair in History in the UK. Olivette has participated in several major research grants looking at the African diaspora and the Atlantic slave trade. She has led projects working with local communities in Britain, Cameroon, Senegal and Canada to understand how the history of the transatlantic slave-trade is still impacting the population today. She has authored three books, and contributed to several others. Her most recent book is, African Europeans: An Untold History. She is also a prolific media commentator and contributor.

All are welcome.

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