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A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies

Edited by Clare Anderson

published by: Bloomsbury
pp: 416
ISBN: 9781350000674

Between 1415, when the Portuguese first used convicts for colonization purposes in the North African enclave of Ceuta, to the 1960s and the dissolution of Stalin’s gulags, global powers including the Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, British, Russians, Chinese and Japanese transported millions of convicts to forts, penal settlements and penal colonies all over the world. A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies builds on specific regional archives and literatures to write the first global history of penal transportation. The essays explore the idea of penal transportation as an engine of global change, in which political repression and forced labour combined to produce long-term impacts on economy, society and identity. They investigate the varied and interconnected routes convicts took to penal sites across the world, and the relationship of these convict flows to other forms of punishment, unfree labour, military service and indigenous incarceration. They also explore the lived worlds of convicts, including work, culture, religion and intimacy, and convict experience and agency.


About the Author

Clare Anderson is Professor of History at the University of Leicester, UK. She is a member of the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia and on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Historical Research and is currently editor of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. Her recent publications include Subaltern Lives: Biographies of Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, 1790-1920 (2012).


"Drawing on a wealth of archival material and an exceptional range of national and imperial perspectives, this is an outstanding contribution to the critical literature on carceral geographies and prison histories. It is also global history at its most innovative, insightful and combative."
- David Arnold, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Warwick, UK

"In this stunning account of convict circuitry across the globe, Clare Anderson and contributors prove without a shadow of a doubt that convicts made the modern world. Students of global history will turn to this book as an example of world history from below for many years to come."
- Antoinette Burton, Professor of History and Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois, USA


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