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The Dirty origins of Scottish wealth

Featured Speakers

Kojo Koram, Stephen Mullen & Rahul Rao

This event is a part of Book Fringe 2022 series. Click to view more from this festival.

*No need to book on the day, just join us!*

Edinburgh has deep, complex connections with Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, running from Tudor times to the present day.

Much of Edinburgh’s architectural environment, from statues to townhouses, was built with the wealth of the Empire; in 2020, research revealed that over £100m of wealth forged through slavery was used to buy up estates in the West Highlands and Islands.

As Kojo Koram illustrates in his book Uncommon Wealth, the economic violence of the Empire is not historical - but lives on in our institutions. It bubbles up in modern day crises.

To explore the dirty origins of Scottish wealth we are joined by Dr Koram, historian Stephen Mullen and Lecturer in International Political Thought Rahul Rao.

These galvanising thinkers invite us to address a legacy that’s all too rarely grappled with in Scotland.

This event was originally meant to include Lisa Williams who is unfortunately no longer able to take part. We look forward to welcoming her back in the future.

Our speakers:

Kojo Koram is a writer and an academic, teaching at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London. Born in Accra, Ghana and raised on Merseyside, he is now based in London. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in November 2011 and received his PhD in September 2017. In 2018, the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities awarded his PhD the prestigious Julien Mezey Award. In addition to his academic writing, he has written for the New Statesman, the Guardian, Dissent, The Nation, and The Washington Post and has appeared on CNN and Sky News. He is the editor of The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line and author of Uncommon Wealth: Britain and the Aftermath of Empire, which is a finalist for the 2022 Orwell Prize.

Dr Stephen Mullen is an historian of slavery and its aftermath in the British Atlantic world, with a particular focus on Scotland and the Caribbean. He is alumnus of the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, completing a PhD at the latter institution in 2015. Since then, he has been a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow. A monograph, 'The Glasgow Sugar Aristocracy: Scotland and Caribbean Slavery, 1775-1838', is forthcoming with the Royal Historical Society/Institute of Historical Research flagship New Historical Perspectives series published by University of London Press.

Rahul Rao is a Lecturer in International Political Thought in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Prior to this, he was Reader in Political Theory at SOAS University of London, where he taught from 2008–21, and Term Fellow in Politics at University College, University of Oxford. He read for a DPhil in International Relations at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and has a BA, LLB (Hons.) from the National Law School of India University. He is a member of the Radical Philosophy editorial collective and used to blog at The Disorder of Things.

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