Pan-Caribbean history workshop begins today

Senior historians and junior scholars from across the Caribbean will gather at York University Thursday to assess the state of current historical scholarship on the region. The workshop in pan-Caribbean historiography, which runs until Saturday in the Senior Common Room, 305 Founders College, begins at 6pm with a reception and keynote speech by Professor Gordon Rohlehr, University of the West Indies (St. Augustine).

caribbeanLeft: detail from painting of Caribbean scene

The goal of the workshop, organized by the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, is to discuss “theory, methods and techniques” of Caribbean history within an Atlantic context and suggest new areas for research. The primary approach is pan-Caribbean, which has long been advocated by prominent scholars of the region. Although the challenge of overcoming linguistic barriers has hindered academics from undertaking truly pan-Caribbean studies, some progress has been made within the past decade. The publication of the UNESCO volumes on the history of the Caribbean is one notable example.

Friday morning’s panel discussion, which runs from 9:30am-12:30pm, will look at “Slavery & Emancipation”. The afternoon discussion, beginning at 2pm, deals with the “Aftermath of Slavery”.

slave shipRight: Children on slave ship

Saturday’s program begins at 9am with a panel discussion on “Colonialization & Decolonization.” Following will be the first of a two-part discussion on “New Directions in Caribbean History” which begins at 1:30pm with presentations on “Radio, Technology and Transformation in the Caribbean”, “The Role of Inter-imperial Contraband Trade in the Development of Pan-Caribbean Networks: The Case of Curaçao” and “Caribbeana’s Hybrid Muse: Creole Visual and Material Cultures in the Making, 1660-1840”. The second part of the discussion begins at 4pm with presentations on “Marriage Records in Port-au-Prince: The Genesis of a Foreign Dominated Merchant Elite, 1850-1871,” “Age, Gender and Ethnicity in the Slave Communities of Late Eighteenth Century Jamaica” and “Methods of Discipline and Punishment in Barbados and Jamaica, circa 1834-1900”.

The workshop is supported by grants and contributions from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, York’s Faculty of Arts, Office of the Vice-President Academic, Department of History, Division of Humanities, Founders College, Centre for Human Rights & Equity and Graduate History Students Association. For detailed program information and online registration, visit the workshop’s page on the Web site of the Harriet Tubman Resource Center on the African Diaspora.