The Registers of Slave Liberation in Colonial Senegal

Thu April 28th 2022, 10:00 - 11:00am
Event Sponsor
Stanford Global Studies
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies
Virtual via Zoom

REFRAMING ENSLAVED PASTS SERIES (part of Stanford Global Studies Research Workshops Program)

The “Reframing enslaved pasts” series plan to discuss critical data practices around enslaved pasts, focusing on the methods and choices that underlie digital data projects.

Workshop 4: The Registers of Slave Liberation in Colonial Senegal

Babacar Fall (founding director of the Institut d’Études Avancées)
Richard Roberts (Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford)
Ibrahima Seck (Associate Professor, History, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar and Research Director, Whitney Plantation, Louisiana)
Rye Sarina (freshman research assistant, Stanford)
Rebecca Wall (Visiting Assistant Professor, History, Hamilton College)


The Senegal Liberations Project (SLP) is a collaborative project between Stanford University, the Institut d’Études Avancées in Saint Louis (Senegal), the National Archives of Senegal, and Hamilton College. The SLP is based on making available to researchers and students a unique register of the liberations of nearly 30,000 enslaved people in Senegal between 1857 and May 1903. It builds on and complements previous initiatives including the Slave Voyages Database ( through a focus on dynamics of enslavement and liberation within West Africa. The SLP differs from other studies of liberated Africans in the sense that the enslaved people in these registers actively sought their own “freedom.” We will share a preliminary analysis of 10,000 enslaved Africans who obtained formal liberation in Senegal from 1894 to 1903. Following this, we will raise some of the primary historiographic and methodological possibilities raised by this project.