Daniel Gilman

PhD Candidate on Enslavement and Abolition
Daniel Gilman

I am a second-year PhD candidate at St John's College, in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. I study public speaking in history, exploring both elites speakers and marginalised voices. My dissertation specifically explores public speaking in the campaign to end the British transatlantic slave trade. This research includes methodological best practices for historians researching the non-verbal elements of speech.

My research found a woman-orator who contemporaries celebrated for her impact and eloquence against the slave trade, and yet her name and narrative have been entirely lost to history. My dissertation explores the ways in which women's voices are left out of archives, and how historians can contribute to recovering the voices missing from historiography.

My research on historical enslavement informs my work as a Legislative Advisor for the Interparliamentary Taskforce on Human Trafficking, through which I advise Members of Parliament across the globe on drafting legislation against human trafficking.

My MA in History, explored the theological underpinnings of William Wilberforce's advocacy to abolish the slave trade. I completed both that degree and my Honours BA in History (Major) and Philosophy (Minor) at the University of Ottawa.

I am a co-convenor for the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of History Workshop on Memory and Emotions. I write for the Doing History in Public with other postgrads at the Faculty of History. I am also helping organise an upcoming conference that will take place here in Cambridge later this year called, 'Debate and Dissent: Historical Approaches to Disagreement', which will explore the history of the freedom of speech.

Supervised by Dr. Gareth Atkins, my PhD research is generously supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Scholarship.

Enslavement and abolition; soundscapes; public speaking; 'long eighteenth century'; women's and gender history; religion in Modern Britain; human rights; and the Holocaust.

‘“Sacred Eloquence”: How the Performative-Elements of Preaching Shaped Anti-Slavery’s Soundscape, 1787-1807’, paper to be presented at the conference Sound Faith: Religion and the Acoustic World, 1400-1800, at the University of York.

'"When Helping Hurts": Historical Insights Applied to Hearing Survivors’ Voices', paper presented at the Responses to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking conference, at the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull.

'Forgotten 'Fair Orators': Recovering Women's Voices in the Campaign to End the Slave Trade', paper presented at the Cambridge Gender & Sexuality Faculty of History Workshop, University of Cambridge, 28 February 2024.

‘The Holocaust and Human Rights: The Nuremberg Trials' Impact on the UDHR’, lecture given at Redeemer University, Hamilton, Canada, 19 January 2024.

‘Speaking throughout History,’ lecture given at Redeemer University, Hamilton, Canada, 18 January 2024.

‘“The Magic of Speech”: Eloquence Against the Slave Trade, 1789-1807’, paper presented at the Modern British History Workshop, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, 30 November 2023.

‘“The God Who Hears”: Christian Approaches to the Historiography of Marginalised Voices’, paper presented at the FEUER Academic Network, Spain, 3 November 2023.

‘Soundscapes of Abolition: The Role of Auditory Institutions in the Eighteenth-Century Campaign Against the Slave Trade’, paper presented at the Centre for Public History, Queen’s University Belfast, 15 September 2023.

‘Audible Advocacy and Platform Culture: Redefining Wilberforce within the Soundscape of Abolitionism’, papere presented at the Redefining the Age of Wilberforce conference, Queen’s College, University of Cambridge, 13 November 2023.

‘“Do You See This Woman?” Ecclesiastical Historiography of Marginalised Women', paper presented at the The Christianity & History Forum, Sheffield, 7 September 2023.

Key publications