Liverpool Hope Logo Liverpool Hope Logo
Liverpool Hope Logo

MA student wins Social History Society prize

Two women shaking hands standing in front of a water fountain.

An MA History student at Liverpool Hope University has won a grant from the Social History Society to help fund a research project investigating the history of food and colonialism.

Cherish Umunnakwe has been awarded a BME small grant, which supports the research activities of Black and Minority Ethnic historians or research focused on the histories of BME people.

The grant will cover the costs of a research project which has been designed in collaboration with Dr Jody Crutchley, Lecturer in Modern History.

The project - Liverpool Goes Bananas: Elder Dempster and the imperial fruit trade, c.1880-1900 - centres on the influence of Liverpool’s strategic maritime location on Britain’s history of imperial trade.

It seeks to investigate the city’s trade links by examining the arrival of bananas in Liverpool in the nineteenth century, when Sir Alfred Lewis Jones’ Elder Dempster Company brought the fruit to the UK through the city’s port.

This project will utilise archival records and methodologies from imperial and food history to foster a deeper understanding of the impact that the imperial fruit trade had on British society.

By examining Alfred Jones’ involvement in the banana history, it will contribute to historical works that emphasise the significant cultural and economic interconnections between Britain, Africa and the Caribbean.

Reflecting on Cherish’s achievement, Dr Crutchley said: “We are immensely proud of Cherish for securing this prestigious grant from the Social History Society.

“We hope that by exploring Liverpool’s role in the banana trade, Cherish’s study will shed new light on Britain’s relationship with Africa and the Caribbean, enriching our understanding of the profound impacts of colonialism on food history."

Cherish will disseminate the research at a seminar event at the end of the current academic year.

The Social History Society’s BME Small Grant scheme was launched in 2019 in recognition of the under-representation and structural inequalities in UK Higher Education Institutions, highlighted by the Royal Historical Society’s report on ‘Race, Ethnicity and Equality’.

It is administered by the Social History Society in partnership with Economic History Society, History UK, History of Education Society (UK), History Workshop Journal, Royal Historical Society, Society for the Study of Labour History and Women’s History Network.

Published on 22/05/2024