Professor Suzanne Schwarz


Professor of History

History, Politics and Sociology

Contact Details

tel: 01905 855481

Teaching & Research



Suzanne Schwarz’s teaching at the University of Worcester focuses on the transatlantic slave trade and West Africa in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She also focuses on developing historical research skills for students through the study of regional and local history. She was the recipient of two student-led teaching awards in 2013 and 2014.


Current Research


Suzanne Schwarz’s research interests focus on the transatlantic slave trade and abolition in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Her current research on Sierra Leone examines the development of the colony, and the ways in which abolitionists attempted to undermine the slave trade and reform African economy and society through policies of ‘Commerce, Civilization and Christianity’. She is currently writing a monograph on Sierra Leone, which is under contract with Yale University Press. She is Principal Investigator for a British Library Endangered Archives project to preserve rare documentary sources in the Sierra Leone Public Archives. You can read more about this project here


Professor Schwarz is currently part of an international collaborative research project at the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University, Toronto. This research project draws together scholars from across four continents and traces the ‘Testimonies of West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade’. 

Professor Schwarz was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for her work on Sierra Leone, and was one of the organisers of a major international conference on Sierra Leone held in Freetown in 2012. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull, and was appointed as an external consultant for the development of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool in 2007. A play based on her book, Slave Captain.:The Career of James Irving in the Liverpool Slave Trade, was performed in the International Slavery Museum in July 2010.


Professor Schwarz has given keynote and invited lectures in various locations, including York University, Toronto, Universidad de Costa Rica, Université Paris Diderot, the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull and the Museu Vivo do São Bento in Brazil. She has presented other conference and seminar papers at the University of Sierra Leone, the University of Cape Town, Yale University, the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Southampton. In 2013, she gave the Hakluyt Society Annual Lecture. Her research has attracted external funding from the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Economic History Society, the Huntington Library in California, the Society for Nautical Research Society, and the Scouloudi Foundation in association with the Institute of Historical Research.

Professional Bodies

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society


Member of Council of the Hakluyt Society


Chair of Working Party on Membership


Committee Secretary of Fontes Historiae Africanae (The British Academy), 2011-


Committee Member of Fontes Historiae Africanae (The British Academy), 2014-2011


Member of Editorial Advisory Board, History in Africa


Members of the Midland History Editorial Board


Member of Council of the Worcestershire Historical Society


President of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 2003-2006

Recent Publications

Suzanne Schwarz and Paul E. Lovejoy, eds., Slavery, Abolition and the Transition to Colonialism in Sierra Leone (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2015).

Robin Law, Suzanne Schwarz, and Silke Strickrodt, eds., Commercial, the Slave Trade and Slavery in Africa (Woodbridge: James Currey, 2013). Due to be republished in paperback in 2016.

A Just and Honourable Commerce: Abolitionist Experimentation in Sierra Leone in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (London: The Hakluyt Society, 2014).

Ransoming Practices and Barbary Coast Slavery: Negotiations Relating to Liverpool Slave Traders in the Late 18th Century, African Economic History, 42 (2014), pp. 59-86.

Reconstructing the Life Histories of Liberated Africans: Sierra Leone in the Early Nineteenth Century, History in Africa, 39 (2012), pp. 175-207.

Scottish Surgeons in the Liverpool Slave Trade in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries, in T. M. Devine, ed., Recovering Scotlands Slavery Past (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

Dune administration privée au contrôle de la Couronne: Expérimentation et adaptation en Sierra Leone à la fin du XIIIe et au début du XIXe siècle, in Claire Bourhis-Mariotti, Marcel Dorigny, Bernard Gainot, Marie-Jeanne Rossignol, Clément Thibaud, eds., Couleurs, Esclavages, Libérations Coloniales, 1804-1860 (Paris : Les Perséides, 2013), pp. 179-202.

Nicholas J. Evans and Suzanne Schwarz, Pedagogical Responses to the Teaching of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its Diasporic Legacies in British Schools, in Paul E. Lovejoy and Benjamin Bowser, eds., The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery. New Directions in Teaching and Learning (Trenton, N.J: Africa World Press, 2012), pp. 128-167.

External Responsibilities

Honorary Research Fellow, Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, 2010-Present


External Examiner, MA West Midlands History, University of Birmingham, 2015-


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow of the Huntington Library, California, 2009.


External Examiner, MA History, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2010-2013.


External Reviewer, Periodic Subject Review (History), University of Northampton, 2008.


External Consultant, International Slavery Museum, National Museums Liverpool, 2007.