Posted on September 10, 2012
Ambiguous Anniversary: The Bicentennial of the International Slave Trade Bans
Edited by David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis
An examination of the 1808 international slave trade ban and its impact on the American South and
In March 1807, within a few weeks of each other, both the United States and the United Kingdom passed laws banning the international slave trade. Two hundred years later, Great Britain, an instigator of the slave trade and the chief source of slaves sold into continental North America, was awash nationwide in commemorations of the ban. By contrast the bicentennial
of the ban received almost no attention in the United States. Ambiguous Anniversary aims to remedy that omission and to explain the discrepancy between the two commemorative responses. Edited by David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis, this volume examines the impact that closing the international slave trade in 1808 had on Southern American economics, politics,
Recasting the history of slavery in the early Republic and the memory of slavery and abolition in
American culture, the foreword, introduction, and ten essays in this volume present a complex picture of an important but partial step in America’s long struggle toward the ambitious but ambiguous goal of liberty and justice for all.
A native of Ireland, David T. Gleeson is a reader in history in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne and a former director of the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program. He is the editor of The Irish in the Atlantic World.
Simon Lewis is a professor of world literature at the College of Charleston, where he is also an associate director of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program. Lewis is the author ofWhite Women Writers and Their African Invention and British and African Literature in Transnational Context.