From the 17th to mid-20th centuries, the British and French empires transported c.475,000 convicts to the colonies. About one third were of Asian, African, Indigenous or Creole (mixed) heritage; after release many became settlers. This project is the first interdisciplinary and comparative study of descent and descendants among these non-Europeans, during the period since the 1780s when individual record-keeping emerged. It will pioneer integrated analysis of archives, databases, genealogy, focus groups, and interviews, to explore cultural transfers and transformations; specify economic and social outcomes; revise theories of coloniality and diaspora; and enable work in other disciplines and penal colony contexts.
The project is led by Professor Clare Anderson, working together with Dr Lorraine Paterson, and based at the University of Leicester. It runs from 1 May 2021 – 30 April 2025, and is generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust.