Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

James Burns

Committee Member

Stephanie Hassell

Committee Member

Stephanie Barczewski


This thesis examines British missionary caravans in nineteenth-century East Africa. Through the utilization of enslaved porters from the island of Zanzibar, enslaved people were able to garner autonomy. The primary focus of this thesis is to examine the ways British missionaries inadvertently provided routes to social mobility and manumission to enslaved peoples. Its aim is to place this ironic phenomenon in conversation with historiographical claims that porters were not slave labor as well as postulating that enslaved people were agents of their own social mobility and manumission.



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