Dr Michael Bennett

Department of History

Honorary Research Fellow & Teaching Assistant


Thesis: Merchant Capital and the Origins of the Barbados Sugar Boom, 1627-1671.

This thesis explores the merchants in the City of London who financed the expansion of plantation slavery on Barbados in the mid-seventeenth century.

There has never been a systematic study of these merchants, which brings together archival material from the U.K., USA, and the Caribbean to analyse their involvement with Barbados in detail and place their commercial activity on the island into broader context.

By bridging the historiographies of early modern England and the Caribbean, this thesis provides new perspectives on both the London merchant community and the history of early America.

  • PhD History, University of Sheffield, 2020
  • MRes, University of Kent, ‘The East India Company, Transnational Interactions, and the Formation of Forced Labour Regimes, 1635-1730’. Supervised by Dr William Pettigrew and funded by a University of Kent School of History Scholarship, 2016
  • BA (Hons), King’s College London, First Class Honours in History, 2015


PhD scholarship: AHRC White Rose College of Arts and Humanities

Teaching activities

University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant 2020-21 academic year: 

  • HST112 Paths from Antiquity to Modernity
  • HST115 The 'Disenchantment' of Early Modern Europe, c. 1570-1770
  • HST11002 Land of Liberty? Rights in the USA, 1776-2016

University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant previous years: 

  • HST117 The Making of the Twentieth Century
  • HST247 A Protestant Nation? Politics, religion and culture in England 1558-1640
Professional activities
  • Society of Renaissance Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2020-21
Publications and conferences

Journal articles:

  • "Slaves, Weavers, and the ‘Peopling’ of English East India Company Colonies, 1660-1730" in Richard B. Allen, ed., Slavery and Forced Labour in Asia (Brill, Forthcoming).
  • "Migration" in William A. Pettigrew and David Veevers, eds., Transoceanic Constitutions: The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History, 1550 – 1750 (Brill, 2019), pp. 68-97. 

Book reviews:

  • Review of Richard Allen, European Slave Trading in the Indian Ocean, 1500-1850 (Ohio, 2015), History: The Journal of the Historical Association (December 2016).

Blog posts: