Alongside property and Protestantism, freedom was a central plank of British imperial ideology and identity in the early modern era. This lecture moves beyond the philosophers, political theorists, and theologians that have dominated the study of freedom in this context to explore how liberty was locally understood, developed, and challenged in urban centres of the first British empire. Above all, it explores how different aspects of liberty were maintained in Britain and its colonies, as they became increasingly involved both in the transatlantic slave trade and in numerous and bloody imperial wars.
Andrew Wells completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford and has held teaching and research positions at the Universities of Edinburgh and Göttingen. He has published chapters in several books and peer-reviewed journals, including History of European Ideas, History Compass, and the Journal of British Studies. He is the co-editor with Sarah Cockram of Interspecies Interactions: Animals and Humans Between the Middle Ages and Modernity (Routledge, 2018) and his first book, Generating Difference: Race and the Reproductive Body in the British Empire, 1660-1840 is currently under review with Johns Hopkins University Press. In the academic year 2018/19 Andrew Wells is a Junior Fellow at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald.
Moderation: Professor Dr. Dr. h. C. Michael North