Laura Rosanne Adderley

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work

An Associate Professor of history in the School of Liberal Arts, Laura Rosanne Adderley is primarily a historian of Black experience in the Americas during the years of slavery, but is also broadly interested in African-American history, Caribbean history and the history of the Atlantic slave trade. Most of Adderley’s research focuses on the nineteenth century, which is sometimes referred to as an “age of emancipation.” She specifically researches the history of illegal slave trading which occurred between the 1810s and 1850s after numerous countries had banned the importation of African captives, even while slavery itself continued in many places. Her first book focused on how Africans who arrived during this era of illegal slave trading affected Black culture in the places where they settled. She has several ongoing book projects which include a micro-history about a case of slave ship rape, and a collective biography of free African men who served in 19th-century British West India Regiments. During her residency she worked on the formal proposal for her second book, Black Freedom, African Recaptives and the Everyday Politics of Emancipation. This explores the lives of three thousand Africans settled in British Caribbean islands between 1810 and 1820, becoming a kind of “free labor” experiment on the eve of British emancipation in the 1830s.

“I have been an academic writer for twenty years and the ASITW residency may be the best single thing that has ever happened for me. I did not know how much I needed the quiet time in the middle of otherwise routine research and writing life. A book project that I have literally been working on for twenty-five years found a workable shape and form at A Studio in the Woods.” – Laura Rosanne Adderley