Position Postdoctoral Research Associate
Institution University of Nottingham
Discipline History/American Studies
Affiliations Rights Lab, University of Nottingham; Institute for the Study of Slavery, University of Nottingham
Twitter @Hannah_RoseM
Other links Academia.edu
Contact hannahrose.murray78@gmail.com
 Website  Frederick Douglass in Britain and Ireland

Personal Bio

image.jpgDr. Hannah-Rose Murray received a Ph.D. from the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham and has been a postdoctoral fellow there since April 2018. Her research focuses on African American transatlantic journeys to Britain between the 1830s and the 1890s. Murray has created a website dedicated to their experiences and has mapped their speaking locations across Britain, showing how Black men and women travelled far and wide, from large towns to small fishing villages, to raise awareness of American slavery. She has written about Black performance, celebrity and networking strategies in Britain, and has organized numerous community events including talks, plays and exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic. Murray’s maps and research can be viewed on her website: www.frederickdouglassinbritain.com

Research Profile

I passed my viva with no corrections in January 2018. My PhD focused on African American transatlantic visits to Britain and Ireland during the nineteenth century. Black men and women engaged in what I term “adaptive resistance,” a multi-faceted interventionist strategy by which they challenged white supremacy and won support for abolition. Alongside my recovery of this mode of self-presentation in sources I have excavated from Victorian newspapers, I use an interdisciplinary methodology that draws on literary studies, cultural history, memory studies, African American studies and the visual culture of antislavery iconography to (re)discover black performative strategies on the Victorian stage from the late 1830s to the mid 1890s. Performance was only one strand in the black activist arsenal, however. The successful employment of adaptive resistance relied on a triad of performance, abolitionist networks and exploitation of print culture. For the first time, I have identified and unified these themes as central to black abolitionist transatlantic visits, and conclude that if an individual ensured an even balance between all three, it was likely their sojourn was successful. This changes our previous knowledge of black abolitionist missions, as we can use this analysis to explain why some activist visits were more successful than others.


Mapping African American Abolitionists in the British Isles

My website – www.frederickdouglassinbritain.com – maps the speaking locations of African American activists to Britain and Ireland. It is the first digital humanities project to do so, and we can use the maps to understand antislavery networks, how far Black men and women travelled, and why they visited certain places and avoided others.



(Forthcoming) It Is Time For The Slaves To Speak: Transatlantic Abolitionism and African American Resistance in Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

With Hannah Jeffery: ‘“A Colossal Work of Art”: Antislavery Methods of Visual Protest From 1845 to 2017.’ Journal of Modern Slavery Today (2019)

‘“To Tell the Black People’s Side of the Story”: African American Resistance to Transatlantic Racism 1835-2017.’ Black Lives Matter: The Past, Present and Future of an International Movement for Rights and Justice, edited by Karen Salt and Zoe Trodd (London: Oxford University Press/British Academy, 2019)

‘“Monstrous Perversions and Lying Inventions.” Moses Roper’s Resistance to the British Imagination of Slavery and Abolition.’ Violence in the American Imagination, edited by Andrew Dix (London: Routledge, 2018)

‘“The Real Uncle Tom”: Josiah Henson in Britain 1877.’ Memory and Postcolonial Studies: Synergies and New Directions Across Literatures from Europe, Africa and the Americas, Dirk Goettsche (New York: Peter Lang, 2018)

“A Negro Hercules: The Legacy of Frederick Douglass’ Celebrity in Britain.” Journal of Celebrity Studies, 7:2 (2016), pp.264-279. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2015.1098551