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Vice-Chancellor's Office


Legacies of Enslavement project Research Fellows appointed

December 2019

The University of Cambridge Advisory Group on the Legacies of Enslavement is pleased to announce that Sabine Cadeau and Nicolas Bell-Romero have been appointed as Research Fellows.

The postdoctoral Research Fellows for the Legacies of Enslavement project are appointed for two years. Based in the Centre for African Studies, they will work in an interdisciplinary context across the University, developing relationships with other staff and students active in similar research. They will develop and deliver their own research projects as set out below, under the aegis of the Advisory Group and under the supervision of a small group of academics.


Sabine Cadeau

Dr Sabine Cadeau is a historian of the Caribbean and the broader African Diaspora. She is particularly interested in histories of slavery, empire, race, citizenship and human rights.  Her book project More Than a Massacre: The Anti-Haitian Campaign in the Dominican Border Provinces: 1919-1946 traces a successively worsening campaign of explicitly racialized anti-Haitian repression that began in 1919 under the American occupiers, accelerated in 1930 with the rise of Trujillo, and culminated in 1937 with the slaughter of an estimated twenty thousand civilians. Relatively unknown by contrast with contemporary events in Europe, the Haitian-Dominican experience has yet to figure in the broader literatures on genocide and statelessness in the twentieth century. More Than a Massacre is currently under review with Cambridge University Press. A parallel project, titled 'Victims in Their Own Words: Remembering the Forgotten 1937 Haitian Massacre', is a documentary history based on interviews with massacre survivors and their descendants. 

Dr Cadeau received her PhD in Modern Latin American and Caribbean Atlantic World History from the University of Chicago in 2015. From 2017-2019, she was visiting assistant professor in Caribbean history at the University of South Florida at Tampa. From 2016-2017 she was a postdoctoral fellow in Yale University’s Program in Agrarian Studies. From 2015-2016, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University. She has designed and taught undergraduate courses such as Atlantic Slavery, Introduction to Caribbean History, and Africans in the Americas. She has also taught graduate courses, including Comparative Colonialism, and Race and Racism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her research has been supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, The Social Science Research Council, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Nicolas Bell-Romero

Nicolas Bell-Romero is completing a PhD in early American history at the University of Cambridge. His dissertation is titled 'The Politics of Epithets in the American Revolution, 1763-87'. Far from throwaway insults, this thesis and book project shows that epithets, such as 'patriot' or 'American', were important titles and identity terms that represented the standards and social values that the inhabitants of both Britain and America thought they should strive toward. Due to their importance, the Revolution was engulfed in a war over words as contemporaries, including white women, indigenous peoples, and African-descended persons, battled over who merited specific epithets. Through an examination of these keywords in a variety of printed and material sources, this project reorients how scholars discuss the themes of allegiances, identity, and equality in the Revolutionary period.

This research expertise, which combines elements of social, cultural, and intellectual history, will be applied in his role as a postdoctoral research associate for the legacies of enslavement inquiry. He will use his archival knowledge of North American slavery and abolition to examine the education of slaveholders (including three signatories to the Declaration) at Cambridge, the University’s central role in global knowledge networks that underpinned and perpetuated enslavement, and the role of Cambridge abolitionists in creating a narrative that attacked 'American slavery', but, in framing enslavement as an 'American' problem, allowed Britons to distance themselves from culpability for the British Empire’s worst excesses, including Caribbean slavery and Britain’s role in the Atlantic slave trade.