McNeil Center for Early American Studies

A Workshop in Honor of Sugar and Slaves on its 50th Anniversary  

Co-sponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
and the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull



2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of the foundational books in the writing of Caribbean and
Atlantic history. Richard S. Dunn’s highly evocative work opened up an entire field of study. Since its publication,
historians have both deepened our understanding of subjects first developed in Dunn’s work and, inspired by Dunn’s
scholarship, turned to new topics entirely.  

(Titles on schedule subject to change.)  

 All events will take place via Zoom. All times are Eastern Standard Time.


REGISTRATION: To register for the workshop, please CLICK HERE.  


Monday, 28 June 2021

10:00-10:15 AM     
Introduction and Welcome

Emma Hart and Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania


10:15-10:30 AM     
Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, I:

Hilary Beckles, University of the West Indies

10:30 AM-12:00 PM     
Session One The Environment:

Chair: Trevor Burnard, Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

Mary S. Draper, Midwestern State University
“Winds, Lived Geographies, and Empire Building in the Seventeenth-Century British Caribbean”

Justin Roberts, Dalhousie University
“‘Corruption of the Air’: Disease and Climate Change in the Rise of English Caribbean Slavery”

Jordan Smith, Widener University
“‘The Native Produce of this Island’: Processes of Invention in Early Barbados”

12:00-1:00 PM 
Lunch Break


1:00-2:00 PM
Session Two Other Contexts

Chair: Daniel K. Richter, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania

Peter C. Mancall, University of Southern California
“The First Age of Revolution”

Michiel van Groesen, Leiden University
“The Anglo-Dutch Lake? Johannes de Laet and the Ideological Origins of the Dutch and English West Indies” 


2:00-2:30 PM

2:30-4:00 PM 
Session three Planter class/white settlers/plantations

Chair: Laura Spero, McNeil Center, University of Pennsylvania

Carla Pestana, UCLA
“Distance and Blame: The Rise of the English Planter Class”

Natalie Zacek, University of Manchester
“‘An Action, Sad as Horrour, Black as Hell’: The Parke Murder, the Catiline Conspiracy, and the Wentworth Execution”

Emily Sackett, University of Virginia
“Great Numbers of Fair and Lovely Women”: White Women and Demographic Disruption in Barbados, 1673-1715

4:00-4:15 PM
Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, II:

Laura Rosanne Adderley, Tulane University  


Tuesday, 29 June 2021

10:15-10:30 AM
Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, III

Richard S. Dunn: Reflections on the Scholar I Knew Before Sugar and Slaves
Nicholas Canny, National University of Ireland, Galway

10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Session Four Economies

Chair, Emma Hart, McNeil Center and University of Pennsylvania

Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College
“`Plantation’ and the Rise of Capitalist Agriculture in the Early Seventeenth-Century Caribbean”

Teanu Reid, Yale University
“`Money’ in the Tropics: Cloth, Sugar, and Paper in the British Caribbean, 1640-1707”

Nuala Zahedieh, Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull
“The progress of `King Sugar’ in early English Jamaica” 

12:00-1:00 PM
Lunch Break

1:00-2:00 PM
Session 5 Slavery panel I: Origins

Chair, Alison Games, Georgetown University

Casey Schmitt, Cornell University
“‘They brought them from the Palenque’: Captivity and Smuggling in Jamaica, ca. 1660”

Holly Brewer, University of Maryland
“Not ‘Beyond the line’: Reconsidering Law, Power ad Empire in the origins of slavery in the Early English Empire”


2:30-4:00 PM
Session 6 Slavery panel II: Runaways, Marronage

Chair: Sheryllynne Haggerty, Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

Clifton Sorrell, University of Texas
“‘Ne Plus Ultra’: The Maroons and the Contested Conquest and Geography of Early Jamaica–– 1655-1690”

Simon P. Newman, University of Wisconsin
“The Barbados Planter Class and the Normalization of Slavery and Resistance in Restoration London”

Linda Rupert, UNC Greensboro
“‘They came in search of Christian lands where they could live in freedom’: The Seventeenth-Century Roots of the Spanish Sanctuary”

Reflections on Sugar and Slaves, IV:

Roderick McDonald, Rider University

4:15-4:45 PM 
Wrap up, with remarks from Richard Dunn, University of Pennsylvania