Professor Olivette Otele has been appointed the university’s first professor of the history of slavery. She will lead a two-year research project on Bristol’s – and the university’s – relationship with the transatlantic slave trade. Huff Post reports.
During the early 18th century, Bristol was one of England’s leading slaving ports, with Bristol traders thought to be responsible for around a fifth of the journeys enslaved Africans were forced to take on British ships.
Speaking to HuffPost UK after her appointment as the country’s first female black history professor, Otele said she saw her role as a historian as combative – taking on a “western, Euro-centric” version of history and introducing other perspectives.
“I knew that, given the society we live in, if I worked hard as a black woman, I would only have half of the reward. So to have equal reward, I would have to work harder than my white counterparts.”
In a statement about her new role, which will begin in January, Otele said she wanted to students to see her as a “facilitator of dialogue” about the slave trade.
“I want to produce a rigorous and an extensive piece of research that will be relevant to the university, to the city and that will be a landmark in the way Britain examines, acknowledges and teaches the history of enslavement,” she said.
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