Labour, Enslavement and Indigenous Space: Liverpool, Nova Scotia in the Atlantic World, 1759-1812

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), in-person at the Halifax Public Library. You can watch it virtual on Zoom here. 

Amber Laurie is the Acting Curator of Marine History for the Nova Scotia Museum and a PhD student at Dalhousie University. Her MA thesis research examines labour, enslavement, and Indigenous space in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, from 1759-1812. Although her research focuses on the early modern period, the concept of freedom, however it is defined and experienced, is what unites her interest in history across centuries.

Abstract: This thesis reconceptualizes the Planter and Loyalist periods around Liverpool, Nova Scotia, from 1759 to 1812. Rather than privileging the American Revolutionary War, it emphasises Indigenous space and Black people to study this shared place. Drawing on the diaries of Simeon Perkins and Mi’kmaw concepts, Msit No’kmaq and Siawa’sik, it explores how the space was re-formed with the arrival of the Planters. It also examines the development of enslavement and abolition in Liverpool through biographies to show how power imbalances informed lived experiences. This thesis argues that by de-emphasising the American Revolutionary War and loyalism narratives in the Northeast, it reveals the region was marked by power imbalances and labour relations continually being formed and re-formed. It suggests that the American Revolutionary War was not the defining moment of slaveholding in Nova Scotia, but part of a multi-phased process that grew incrementally and was sustained by settlers throughout this period.

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