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Rauhut, C (2020). Reassessing the Compensation Payments to British Slave Owners in Current Caribbean Claims to Reparations. Sociologus, 70(2), 123-141. https://doi.org/10.3790/soc.70.2.123
Rauhut, Claudia (2020). "Reassessing the Compensation Payments to British Slave Owners in Current Caribbean Claims to Reparations" Sociologus, vol. 70no. 2, 2020 pp. 123-141. https://doi.org/10.3790/soc.70.2.123
Rauhut, C (2020). Reassessing the Compensation Payments to British Slave Owners in Current Caribbean Claims to Reparations. Sociologus, Vol. 70 (Issue 2), pp 123-141. https://doi.org/10.3790/soc.70.2.123

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Reassessing the Compensation Payments to British Slave Owners in Current Caribbean Claims to Reparations

Rauhut, Claudia

Sociologus, Vol. 70 (2020), Iss. 2 : pp. 123–141

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Dr. Claudia Rauhut, Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Rüdesheimer Str. 54–56, 14197 Berlin. International Heinz Heinen Fellow at the “Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies”, Cluster of Excellence “Beyond Slavery and Freedom”, sinc

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Abstract

This paper deals with the compensation paid to British slave owners at the end of slavery in the 1830s. It explores its current reassessment within Caribbean claims to slavery reparations, exemplified by Jamaican activists and scholars, who have always been at the forefront of calls for reparations across the whole Americas in different regions and periods. Based on anthropological research and interviews I conducted with members of National Council for Reparations in Kingston in 2014 and 2017, I analyse how they trace back the legacies of slavery and compensation, link them to current social conditions, and generate a political agenda on behalf of reparations, addressing foremost the British government. I highlight narratives that reassess the compensation of British slave owners while the enslaved people went to freedom without any compensation for the injuries they suffered. I emphasize how powerfully the notion of injustice and the need to repair resonates in Jamaica. In particular, the paper explores activists’ reactions in relation to research that uncovered the links of former British Prime Minister David Cameron to the Caribbean slavery economy and a public scandal in relation to a bank loan for compensation that was paid off only in the year 2015. Finally, I reflect on their countering of the British politics of denial of recognition and of the hierarchy of global power relations. My research encourages further academic and political debates on how to come to terms with historical injustices through a framework of reparations that would include slavery, colonialism and its long-lasting legacies.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Claudia Rauhut: Reassessing the Compensation Payments to British Slave Owners in Current Caribbean Claims to Reparations 1
Abstract 1
1. Introduction 2
2. How Archives of the Compensation Impact the Reparations Agenda 5
3. On the Effects of Non-Compensation in the Caribbean 7
4. Jamaican Discourses of Persisting Legacies of Slavery after Colonialism 9
5. Prime Minister Cameron’s Links to Jamaican Slavery and a Dubious Bank Loan 1
6. Conclusion: Countering the British Denial of Recognition 1
References 1