Christopher Bischof

University of Richmond History Professor Awarded NEH Fellowship for New Book on Emancipation of the West Indies

February 2, 2024

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Associate professor of history Christopher Bischof has been awarded a one-year National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to work on a new book manuscript about 19th-century British imperialism in the West Indian colonies.

Bischof will receive $60,000 to support his work on the book, titled Easy Fixes: Race, Capitalism, and Social Engineering Schemes in the British West Indies, 1823-1865. Easy Fixes explores the British approach to emancipation from slavery in the West Indies and the enduring consequences of that approach on modern forms of capitalism, humanitarianism, and racism.

“Many Britons believed that a few cheap, short-lived social engineering schemes would make the transition from slavery to freedom both humane and profitable for everyone,” said Bischof. “The siren call of easy fixes to intractable problems continues to be evident in philanthropy, development, and politics today. I hope this book serves as a warning about the dangers of this mentality, while also shedding new light on the history of British imperialism.”

This NEH fellowship will allow Bischof to take a sabbatical leave of twelve months to complete the book. Bischof, who has taught at the University of Richmond since 2015, is also the author of Teaching Britain: Elementary Teachers and the State of Everyday, 1846-1906.