History Faculty Publications

Document Type



This special issue of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History consists of a forum of innovative ways to consider and reappraise the founding of Britain’s Sierra Leone colony. It originated with a conversation among the two of us and Pamela Scully – all having research interests touching on Sierra Leone in that period – noting that the recent historical inquiry into the origins of this colony had begun to reach an important critical mass. Having long been dominated by a few seminal works, it has begun to attract interest from a number of scholars, both young and established, from around the globe.1 Accordingly, we set out to collect new, exemplary pieces that, taken together, present a variety of innovative theoretical, methodological, and topical approaches to Sierra Leone. We expect that these articles will be of great interest to those invested in the history of that particular time and place. But we also believe that the wider readership of this journal will find that the following articles raise provocative questions, both in method and in interpretation, that hold significant implications for the study of colonialism in its broadest historical context. After all, the establishment of the first British settlement colony in Africa illuminates numerous themes recurring often in our studies of empires before and after: early plans reflecting a mix of colonizing experience and untested metropolitan assumptions; colonization as a physical, cultural, economic, racialized and gendered project; complex relations not only between colonizers and colonized but also the formation of new political, diplomatic, and economic patterns beyond the colony’s borders; and the ambiguous status and culture of settlers as colonizers and clients, to name a few.

Publication Date

Winter 2008

Publication Title

Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History