Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Contested freedoms : British images of Sierra Leone, 1780-1850.
Author: Downing, Andrea.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 6992
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 1998
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The colony of Sierra Leone, between 1780 and 1850, was a unique practical expression of British antislavery culture and ideology. This thesis reflects on how leading abolitionists imagined this part of West Africa and what they intended to achieve there. The approach is multi-disciplinary and draws on recent theoretical developments to investigate the creation and maintenance of hegemonic images of Sierra Leone and its inhabitants during the colony's early years. The thesis points to Manichean differences of interpretation which underlay images of Sierra Leone's native inhabitants, its black settler and liberated African populations and the abolitionists who supported them. It also reflects widely on images of Africa's physical environment. Throughout, the emphasis is on the struggles for representational dominance which took place not only between antislavery supporters and their opponents but within antislavery culture itself. Much of that struggle centred around early utopian images of the colony. Sierra Leone was a child of modernity at arguably its most optimistic and eloquent phase. It was seen as a place where enlightenment ideologies regarding rights and progress could be practically enacted. The utopian discourse persisted in spite of the colony's apparent commercial failure. However, images of the colony's black inhabitants became increasingly negative. This thesis suggests that humanitarians (in seeking to explain the difficulties they encountered in Sierra Leone) frequently appropriated the hostile images of blacks which had been promoted by their pros lavery opponents. Part Three of this study comprises an examination of travel writing about Sierra Leone. This section builds on recent theoretical advances in our understanding of the importance of travel writing as a cultural signifier. It insists that travel writing (as a promoter of images) is more than just a record of individual journeys and lightweight observations. In particular the thesis examines the role of travellers in perpetuating racist myths about 'other' cultures despite the use of narrative techniques which assert the travellers' vulnerability and innocence. The thesis also reveals how travellers studied and reported land and people within an imperial discursive frame that ultimately sought to appropriate and exploit them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History