Netherlands appoints slavery professor

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The University of Amsterdam has appointed British academic Stephen Small the first professor in the Dutch history of slavery.

The chair is financed by NiNsee, the study centre for slavery and the Netherlands. Dr Small is Associate Professor in African American Studies at Berkeley University in California.

NiNsee director Artwell Cain told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that Stephen Small is highly qualified for the job, given his wide-ranging knowledge of the history of slavery in the Caribbean and the United States. "His books and essays deal with the black rather than the white perspective. He knows every angle." Mr Cain pointed out that Dr Small is of mixed parentage, having a Jamaican father and an English mother.

It is "logical" to appoint an Anglo-Saxon academic rather than a Dutchman, according to Mr Cain: "The Netherlands have for a long time played down the slave trade. The approach in the US to slavery is far more critical than in the Netherlands."

Stephen Small will take up his position at the University of Amsterdam on 1 September 2010, but he has promised to be present at the slavery remembrance ceremony on 1 July in Amsterdam's Oosterpark.


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