Professor Hilary Carey - inaugural lecture

Professor of Imperial and Religious History
Department of History (Historical Studies)
This lecture took place on Thursday 12 November 2015 

Religion, Terror and Reformation in the British World

From 1788 to 1865 the British government transported nearly all those convicted of serious crimes to the other side of the world. Convicts were mostly despatched to penal colonies in Australia but others were sent  to Gibraltar, Bermuda and Norfolk Island. While the horrors of transportation are well known - less is understood about the attempt in the middle decades of the nineteenth century to reform transportation through religious education, surveillance and work. It was one of the most far flung penal experiments in history - and one which was surprisingly successful. This talk will look at the religious arguments for and against penal reform and convict transportation in the British penal archipelago and explain why demands that punishment should terrify and physically overwhelm criminals were replaced by those aimed at reformation instead. It will ask about the mutual entanglement of religion and empire and how this was expressed through the penal system.