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Liana-Beatrice Valerio

About Me

I am a fourth year departmentally-funded PhD student of History, co-supervised by Professor Tim Lockley & Dr Camillia Cowling. My thesis is provisionally entitled: 'Scripts of Confidence and Supplication: Fear as the Personal and Political Among the Elite Male Slaveholders of South Carolina and Cuba, 1820 – 1850'

My Research

My work focusses on the popular sensibilities, religious intricacies and political circumstances that affected and dictated what was deemed to be appropriate behaviour for elite slaveholding males. As the nature of all three categories of analysis differed considerably between South Carolina and Cuba, my study will reveal the interstices and commonalities to be found in the comportment of each group of men, discussing the behavioural pressures exacted upon both, and the results this had upon the discussion of feelings.

This project will examine the emotional environment of each region to discover when, how, and even if, slave masters verbalised their trepidation, anxiety or ambivalence in regard to the risk of slave rebellion.

I am in agreement with Steven Stowe, who insists that historians must acknowledge that slaveholders had the psychological capability of being deeply flawed; whose emotions should never be considered invulnerable, and whose ideal deportment in premeditated moments should never be taken as a realistic reflection of their true feelings. Men were not immunised from emotional activity simply by virtue of the fact that they lived in the past, or because their societal contexts castigated male sensitivity. We must do better to unearth their emotional history. My project opens a new field of enquiry into their mindsets, thereby contributing a richness to our understanding of the master-slave relationship, for when we admit slave-holder mortality, the inhumanity of slavery can be considered more fully not simply as an interchange between “master and slave”; “capitalist and slave”, or “tyrant and slave”, but as two emotionally active people interacting as humans in the wretched context of the enslavement system.

Conference Presentations

'Emotional Worlds of the Slaveholding Atlantic'
Multiple Atlantic Worlds
Summer Academy of Atlantic History, Upper Bavaria, Germany, August 2019

‘If my saying that I feel a little fussed should make you uneasy, I shall not tell you the whole truth again.’ Emotional Reticence Among Slaveholding Gentlemen’
Gendered Emotions in History, University of Sheffield, June 2018

‘Duro es confesarlo…’ The Emotional Undercurrents, and Comparative Importance, of Cuban Slaveholder Candour'
ACH @ 50: Continuity, Change and Challenge
Association of Caribbean Historians, Barbados, June 2018

‘Our fathers’ minds are dead, and we are governed by our mothers’ spirits.’ Nationalism & Emotional Regimes in Proslavery Arguments
The Masculine Worlds of Race and Power: Objects, Practices and Emotions in Colonial and Post-Colonial Societies in the Long Nineteenth Century
University of Warwick, May 2018

‘Men with the front of Caesar, but a woman’s heart.’ Manifestations of Fear among the South Carolinian and Cuban Slave-holding Elite, 1820-1850’
Emotions of Cultures/Cultures of Emotions: Comparative Perspectives
Society for the History of Emotions, Australian Research Council, Perth, Australia, December 2017

‘Questioning The Emotions, Bravado And Masculinity Of The South Carolina Slave-Holding Elite, 1820-1850’
BrANCH Annual Conference, University of Warwick, October 2017

‘Cuba en el Mundo de la Esclavitud: Diálogos de Confianza y Dudas Entre los Dueños Elites de Cuba, 1820 – 1850’ Cuba en el Mundo y el Mundo en Cuba
Instituto de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello, Havana, Cuba, July 2017

'Exploring the Masculinity of the South Carolina Slaveholding Elite, 1820 – 1850’
Rethinking Gender: New Perspectives and Future Directions, Royal Holloway, June 2017

Funding and Awards

Gad Heuman Travel Bursary, June 2017 (Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies)

Peter Parish Memorial Fund, June 2017 (BrANCH)

Warwick History Department Studentship, October 2015 - March 2019


Humanities Research Centre Doctoral Fellowship, 2017 - 2018

Conferences Organised

The Masculine Worlds of Race and Power: Objects, Practices and Emotions in Colonial and Post-Colonial Societies in the Long Nineteenth Century (5th May 2018)


The Rise and Fall of American Slavery, 1607-1865 (2018/19) Durham University

North America: Themes and Problems (2017/18) Warwick University

Academic Background

2015 - 2019 University of Warwick, (PhD) History

2014 - 2015 University of Oxford, St Antony's College, (MSt) U.S. History

2009 - 2013 University of Warwick, BA (Hons) History, Literature and Cultures of the Americas

Profile Picture

Liana-Beatrice Valerio

L dot Valerio at warwick dot ac dot uk