Protection and Amelioration in the British Empire: A Conversation on the Comparative Histories of Enslaved and Colonized People in the Caribbean & Australia
The mid-nineteenth century British empire was characterized by a turn towards an articulated humanitarian and civilizing mission, aimed at uplifting and improving the condition of colonized subjects they perceived as inferior. Known as amelioration or mitigation, this ideology aimed at improving the living and working conditions of enslaved and/or colonized people, while maintaining the systems of domination under which they lived and labored. Although scholars have increasingly paid greater attention to these systems of protection and the relationship of enslaved and colonized populations to this system and its rhetoric, there has been but limited effort to foster a robust comparative approach to this modality of rule and governance across the empire. This event puts into conversation two leading scholars of amelioration and protection, one of the Caribbean and the other of Australia.