Between Abolition & Opium: Race & Gender Across Asian & Caribbean British Imperialisms

Fall 2023 Center Grant Recipient

Matthew Chin (Women Gender and Sexuality Studies)

This study explores the relationship between Britain’s abolition of slavery in its Caribbean colonies (1838) and its instigation of the First Opium War with China (1839). It counters the epistemic silence that characterizes this relationship by marshalling the insights of Caribbean Studies, Asian Studies, and British Studies to surface the occluded relationships between the Black Atlantic and the Asian Indo-Pacific. Drawing on state records and newspaper coverage across Britain, the Caribbean, and Asia, this project seeks to understand how the mutually constitutive relations of race and gender illuminate the connections between British imperial regimes of free labor and free trade.