King’s College Research into Slavery, Past and Present


King’s College welcomes the University’s recent announcement of an inquiry into Cambridge’s historical links to slavery ( The University’s inquiry will be welcome to make use of King’s College Archives

The College lived through the entire history of British involvement in the Atlantic slave trade, the associated systems of slave-ownership, and the abolition movement. Fellows of the College both cherish its antiquity and are committed to supporting scholarly research into that past, including the painful parts of it, in order to establish factual information and provide critical perspectives. To this end, the College has established a scheme to facilitate research by its undergraduate and graduate students into past and present forms of slavery.

King’s will specifically encourage research by the College’s own students into the College’s past connections, financial and intellectual, with slave trading, slavery, and abolition, using our archives and all other accessible sources. But research into the past must not distract from the problems of coerced labour today, and the College scheme will also encourage student research on contemporary forms of labour coercion. Besides encouraging dissertation research on these questions by students within the framework of degree programmes at BA, MPhil and PhD level, King’s will facilitate short summer projects of original research by students from across the college, irrespective of discipline.

An overview report will be produced in October 2021 after the project has run for two full academic years. The College will then review the findings, and in the light of them consider what further research and/or other steps should be taken. Students interested in participating in the scheme should contact their directors of studies or graduate supervisors.

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