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Centre of African Studies



Welcome to the website for the Cambridge Legacies of Enslavement Inquiry. The Inquiry is being guided by the Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Group, and research is being conducted by two Research Fellows. For information on our work so far and plans for future work, please see the Initial Report. We are hosting a number of events over the coming months, and are very interested in supporting and collaborating on similar research and initiatives across the collegiate University, so please do be in touch about areas for possible cooperation.
As the work develops, we will expand this website and seek to make available not only provisional findings but also information on our past events, developments across Cambridge, and similar research at other UK universities.


"History is inescapable in Cambridge. It is inconceivable that a British institution as old as our University would not have been touched by colonial practices of enslavement and enforced labour – whether benefiting from, helping to shape, or indeed challenging them.

A society’s historical baggage and its modern-day challenges are inextricable. Understanding our past and shaping our future are not separate projects. The University of Cambridge is exceptionally well placed to undertake both of them.

The legacies of enslavement form a part of who we are today, and inform what we wish to achieve. We can never rewrite history, or do away with our heritage, but we can try to address prevailing inequalities. This process begins through greater self-knowledge and self-reflection."

Professor Stephen J Toope

Award winning author and former MPhil in African Studies student Mary Ononokpono talks about how her work has been inspired by our MPhil programme


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