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Charting the Impact of Slavery

Posted on 23 December 2011

€4.3 million project into slavery and its legacy


The Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP) has won funding as part of an EU research network, EUROTAST, that brings together an unprecedented range of researchers from the humanities and sciences. Using a combination of historical research, archaeology and cutting-edge genomics this project will address pressing questions relating to the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies. The team of historians, archaeologists and scientists will research the origins of the 12.5 million Africans carried into the transatlantic slave trade, their physical quality of life, and the material legacy of the slave trade. 

Funded through the Marie Curie Actions, the €4.3 million project will support 15 young researchers who will be based at 10 partner institutions in seven European countries. The researchers will be recruited from a wide range of disciplines, including history, archaeology, genetics and social anthropology.  The lead partners are University of Copenhagen and University of York.

Questions that will be addressed during the course of the four-year project deal with the captives’ origins, their physical quality of life, and the material legacy of the slave trade in Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

EUROTAST research will be widely disseminated through school projects, museum exhibitions and media products. Guided by Professor Helen Weinstein, Director of IPUP, each of the students will be encouraged to document their research and their findings through podcasts and video diaries. “The scale of this project is ambitious and it is essential that the findings reach a wide audience beyond the walls of academia,” says Professor Weinstein. “The use of popular media products will help engage a wide audience but in addition we will develop learning materials for museums and schools in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean which will have a significant impact on the way that this traumatic history is taught and understood across the world.”

See below for vacancies, suitable for historians, for one experienced researcher (closing date January 30, 2012), and two funded doctoral positions (closing date January 31, 2012).

  • For further information on the project and to find out about job applications, please visit the project website: http://www.eurotast.eu

Experienced Researcher - dissemination and outreach

ESR Code:
  ER1
Supervision:  Prof. Helen Weinstein (IPUP, York)
Host Institution:  Centre for GeoGenetics (Copenhagen) and IPUP (York)
Duration:  Two years – starting from 1 May 2012
Deadline:  January 30, 2012


The primary responsibility of the ER will be to work on dissemination aspects of the project and to co-ordinate outreach activities. Based at the Centre for Geogenetics in Copenhagen, Denmark, and trained at the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP) in York, UK, the ER will be committed to communicating academic research on the slave trade into the public realm.

Her/his main task will be to develop and create content for the project website to promote understanding of the individual research projects and the project as a whole. In addition, she/he will be trained in documentary-making to document the research and to help disseminate its major findings. During the first year, she/he will research and develop a 30-part history documentary series for radio foregrounding the research of the network. During the second year, she/he will help develop educational material for museums and schools and co-ordinate school visits as part of the network’s outreach programme.

Application process

Applicants should send a short covering letter outlining their suitability for the post and their ideas for the project, full CV, and the names of two referees to applications@eurotast.eu.

In addition, we require applicants to send in 500 words pitching a suitable story on race/identity/enslavement, past or present, to a newspaper, radio or TV station. Applications are welcomed from any qualified applicants, regardless of gender, ethnicity or country of origin, but will only be considered if eligibility requirements are met and the application guidelines are strictly adhered to.

Entry Requirements
  • To be eligible for the post you must be EITHER in possession of a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment OR have at least four years commensurate full-time equivalent research experience in a museum, archive, media organization, or similar. In either case, you should have no more than five years of full-time equivalent research experience.
  • You will have previous research experience on the history of the transatlantic slave trade or a related topic and you will have demonstrated commitment to communicating academic research into the public realm.
  • Ability to write with clarity for a non-academic audience and to work with new technologies is essential. You will have excellent knowledge of English and a proven track record of writing in English.
  • Knowledge of another European language such as French or Spanish will be preferable, but not essential.
  • Although not a prerequisite, candidates who have experience of writing and designing pages for the web will be preferred.
Mobility Requirement

Researchers can be of any nationality but have to comply with the conditions of mobility. This means that in order to be eligible to apply for one of the ER fellowships, the researcher must not have resided, worked or studied in the country of their host organisation (i.e. Denmark) for more than 12 months in the three years prior to the time of recruitment. Compulsory national service and/or short stays are not taken into account.


Documenting the Ethnic Origins of Captives in the Atlantic Slave Trade

ESR Code:
  ESR4
Supervision:  Prof. David Richardson
Host Institution:  Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull
Duration:  Three years – starting from 1 May 2012
Deadline:  January 31, 2012


This project has four main components, each of which has a specific outcome. The first is to review the literature on ethnicity in the context of the Transtlantic slave trade as a platform for exploring its usefulness in terms of assessing the slave trade’s impact on Africa and the African diaspora.

The second is to build on the work of Nwokeji and Eltis on our knowledge of the ethnic origins of African captives after 1815 by a) further refining and improving the evidential base of the existing database in the light of recently discovered new data in Sierra Leone archives, and b) seeking to explore application of the Nwokeji-Eltis model to the origins of captives taken from places other than Cameroon.

The third is to consolidate and expand the historical evidence of African ethnicity beyond existing published sources by new research in European and Cuban archives, with a view to producing a publicly accessible database of such evidence to stand aside other slave trade databases, such as the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database.

The fourth is to trace chronologies of the ethnic composition of Africans entering the slave trade through time, using the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade as a template of regional and global movements of people, and with a view to exploring the impact of slave flows on African source populations and to providing a framework within which to interpret the broader significance of the findings of other project in the network that deploy other methods to study the slave trade.

This project will be carried out in close collaboration with David Eltis, coauthor of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, and will provide the context for all other projects in this work package, plus ESR1, ESR2, ESR3, ESR10, ESR12 and ESR13.

Entry Requirements
  • Eligible applicants for this Fellowship (equivalent to a PhD position) must possess both an upper second-class degree or international equivalent and a taught masters degree (MA/MSc) or international equivalent in history or a related field.
  • It is further required that the degree was acquired no more than four years prior to the appointment. For those applicants for whom English is not their first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 in each band is required. Please note that language certificates should not be more than two years old.

Further info: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/studenthandbook/postgraduateresearchstudents/postgraduateadmissions.aspx

Mobility Requirement

At the time of the selection, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the appointment.

Financial Regime

The fellowship covers tuition fees and monthly salary in line with the FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN. The fellowship also offers mobility, travel and career exploratory allowances.


Public Understandings of the Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery

ESR Code:
  ESR13
Supervision:  Dr. Paul Lane
Host Institution:  Department of Archaeology, University of York
Duration:  Three years – starting from 1 May 2012
Deadline:  January 31, 201


The other work packages in this proposal will generate a vast body of new genetic, historical and material evidence relating to the social, biological and economic consequences of the transatlantic slave trade, with the explicit objective of placing these data in the public domain and facilitating access by non-academic as well as academic audiences and consumers.

The purpose of this work package is to research current strategies toward public presentation of these issues in different geographical localities that were tied to the Transatlantic Slave Trade – namely West Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States.

This will be addressed from two angles. One element will compare and contrast strategies adopted in these different regions toward the public memorialisation of this trade and its consequences, through such media as exhibitions, memorials, public events, television and film (among others). The degree of consultation and public engagement in their design and creation, and public responses to them will also be studied.

The second strand of the project will be to examine how national contexts and national historical narratives influence the presentation of the history of slavery and how in turn these feed back into national debates about the legacies of the history of slavery.

Entry Requirements
  • Eligible applicants for this Fellowship (equivalent to a PhD position) must possess both an upper second-class degree and a taught masters degree (MA/MSc) or international equivalent in the field of social anthropology, archaeology, history or a related field. It is further required that the degree was acquired no more than four years prior to the appointment.
  • For those applicants for whom English is not their first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 in each band is required. Please note that language certificates should not be more than two years old.

Further info: http://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/

Mobility Requirement

At the time of the selection, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the appointment.

Financial Regime

The fellowship covers tuition fees and monthly salary in line with the FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN. The fellowship also offers mobility, travel and career exploratory allowances.