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Rethinking the Fall of the Planter Class Event

Cutting cane 1823
21 September 2010
Chawton House Library, Hampshire

For more information regarding this event, please .

Event details

A one-day conference at Chawton House Library, Hampshire, UK

This event will focus on the decline and fall of the British-Caribbean planter class. Presenters will bring new perspectives to bear on economic, political and cultural aspects of the planters’ fall from economic prosperity and apparent political influence, looking at the period between the middle of the eighteenth century and the gradual dismantling of slavery in the British empire during the 1830s. The conference brings together leading researchers in a variety of disciplines with interests in slavery, abolition and empire. It aims to provide new ways of understanding the long-overlooked phenomenon of the planters’ decline and fall, a process that had a profound impact on the interconnected histories of the Caribbean, Britain and the wider British empire and that shaped debates about slavery and freedom in the world beyond.

Key areas of focus:

Enslaved people and plantation management
Emancipation and compensation
The representation and reputation of the planter class
Proslavery politics
The cultural lives of the planters


Laurence Brown (University of Manchester), Trevor Burnard (University of Warwick), Heather Cateau (University of the West Indies), Nick Draper (UCL), David Lambert (Royal Holloway), Christer Petley (University of Southampton), David Beck Ryden (University of Houston), Veront Satchell (University of the West Indies)

Draft programme

9.00: registration and refreshments

10.00: session 1 – The rise and fall of the planter class

Dr Christer Petley (Southampton), Introduction: Rethinking the Fall of the Planter Class

Prof. Trevor Burnard (Warwick), The Rise of the Planter Class in Jamaica, 1660-1763

11.30: refreshments

12.00: session 2 – Labour and control in Caribbean slave societies
(Chair: Trevor Burnard)

Dr Veront Satchell (UWI, Mona), Black Enslavement and Labour Productivity: The Jamaican Sugar Industry 1760-1830

Dr Heather Cateau (UWI, St Augustine), “The Limits of Control”: Planters, Attorneys and Enslaved Workers on British West Indian Plantations

1.30: lunch

2.30: session 3 – The planters in Britain
(Chair: David Lambert)

Dr David Beck Ryden (Houston, Texas), The London Society of West India Planters and Merchants after abolition, 1807-1834

Dr Nick Draper (UCL), The Rise of a New Planter Class? Some Counter-Currents from British Guiana and Trinidad 1807-1833

4.00: refreshments

4.30: session 5 – The cultural lives of planters
(Chair: Christer Petley)

Dr Laurence Brown (Manchester) Authors of their own demise? Debating the Fall of the Planter Class , 1791-1842

Dr David Lambert (Royal Holloway), The Planter’s Day-off: Resting, Riding and Marooning

6.00: conference dinner

8.00: conference ends

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