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Feedback

To improve the provision of feedback - from tutor to students and students to tutor - I will run a 'one-minute quiz' at the end of each quarter of the course, plus the two-minute quiz after the penultimate lecture. A list of questions with my responses will be assembled from this. We will discuss these at the start of the subsequent lecture, but I will also paste both here so that you can browse them at your leisure. To enhance the feedback even further, I have left the the questions and answers from previous years in place so you can see if other students have raised similar issues. Over time, the aim is to build up an extension list of 'Frequently Asked Questions' while also allowing me to continued to improve the course. Please ask if anything is unclear.


Feedback for 2018-19

Feedback exercise: term 1, week 5

1. I found some of the ideas discussed by Hilary Beckles in his 'Economic interpretations of Caribbean history' chapter difficult. What should I do?

Don't worry! We will return to these ideas this term in week 10 in 'Why was slavery abolished?' and next term in 'Freedom or dependency?'.

2. Where can I go to find out more about the non-English Caribbean ?

Try these:

De Barros, Juanita, Audra Diptee and David V. Trotman, Beyond fragmentation: Perspectives on Caribbean history (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006)

Knight, Franklin W., The Caribbean: The genesis of a fragmented nationalism, 3rd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Moya Pons, Frank, History of the Caribbean: Plantations, trade, and war in the Atlantic world (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener; London: Eurospan, 2007)

Watts, David, The West Indies: Patterns of development, culture and environmental change since 1492 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)

Feedback for 2016-17

Feedback exercise: term 3, week 1

1. Where can I find a good overview of the factors behind the abolition of the slave trade and slavery?

Have a look at David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (Oxford, 2006). There are chapters on different European powers.

2. What were the causes and consequences of the Haitian Revolution?

See the 'Further Readings' here.

Feedback exercise: term 2, week 10

Overall, things appear to be going well and some of your questions anticipate topics we'll cover next term. In terms of issues that need addressing now...

1. When will we learn about maroons and marronage?

As you know, I had to postpone this session because of ill-health. I'm going to rearrange it for term 3, week 1 (see here). I was going to show the film, 'Life and Debt', in that slot, so I'll delay that until week 3 - and make it purely optional.

2. I didn't really understand the economic side of the dismantling of slavery (i.e. abolition and emancipation). What should I read?

First, make sure that you have done all the 'Required Reading' for this seminar. Next, look through the 'Further Reading'. Try the Tomich piece for a start.

Feedback exercise: term 1, week 5

1. I want to know more about the actual process of sugar production.

Here's my previous answer.

2. What can I read about the so-called 'golden age' of piracy?

Try the following:

Lane, Kris E., Blood and Silver: A History of Piracy in the Caribbean and Central America (Oxford, 1999)

Lane, Kris E., Pillaging the Empire: Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500-1750 (New York, 2016, second edition)

3. Is there evidence for anthropophagy ('people eating') among indigenous people in the Caribbean? Was it just a myth?

This is what Louis Allaire has to say about the Caribs...

'To the much-debated question of their cannibalism, the attribution it too closely associated from the earliest contacts with allegations as late as the eighteenth century, and the practice is so widespread all over the world, that there must have been some truth to the practice. Instead of a simple denial, the practice must be put in proper perspective. There is no actual documentary evidence for cannibalsim, only its aftermaths; all we have are the findings of bones and some body parts and much hearsay, and the captives delivered by Columbus. Whether the practice was ritual or served to complement the limited protein supply always to be considered in the Amazonian type of adaptation, remains to be determined. For the Caribs, the rabbit-size land animals available to their diet must have put stringent limitations on their nutritional needs' (Allaire, pp 106-107).

See Louis Allaire, 'Ethnohistory of the Caribs' in William F. Keegan, Corinne L. Hofman and Reniel Rodriguez Ramos (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Archaeology (Oxford, 2013), pp 97-108.

Feedback for 2015-16

Feedback exercise: term 3, week 1

1. What did James mean when he talked the Haiti and Cuban Revolutions as 'West Indian'?

Here's my previous answer.

Feedback exercise: term 1, week 10

1. You mention a lot of enslaved revolts in lectures, but I only know about the Haitian Revolution. What should I read to find out about others?

This book remains excellent for the British Caribbean:

Craton, Michael,Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies (Ithaca, NY, 2009/1982).

2. How can I find out more about the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath?

Please see my previous answer here.

3. Where can I find out more about maroons and marronage?

Please see my previous answer here.

Feedback exercise: term 1, week 5

1. Where can I find out more about the actual process of sugar making.

Please see my previous answer here.

2. I'm a bit hazy on the economic history of the colonial Caribbean. What can I read?

Try these:

Eltis, David, 'The slave economies of the Caribbean: Structure, performance, evolution and significance', in Franklin W. Knight (ed.), General History of the Caribbean - The Slave Societies of the Caribbean, vol. 3 (London, 1997).

McCusker, John J. and Russell R. Menard, 'The sugar industry in the seventeenth century: A new perspective on the Barbadian "Sugar Revolution"', in Stuart B. Schwartz (ed.), Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2004).

3. What were relations like between Africans and indigenous peoples in the Caribbean?

Look at this:

Kirby, I. E. and C. I. Martin, The Rise and Fall of the Black Caribs (Garifuna) (Toronto, 2004).

Feedback from 2013-14

Third feedback exercise (term 2, week 10)

Three main issues were raised by our latest informal feedback exercise:

1. Where can I find out more about the recent economic history of the Caribbean, including the importance of tourism?

Try these:

Connolly, Michael B. and John McDermott (eds), The economics of the Caribbean basin (New York; Eastbourne: Praeger, 1985)

Delson, Roberta Marx (ed.), Readings in Caribbean history and economics: An introduction to the region (New York: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1981)

Eneas, Godfrey, The new Caribbean: A region in transition (Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2010)

Pantin, Dennis (ed.), The Caribbean economy: A reader (Kingston; Miami: Ian Randle, 2005)

Payne, Anthony and Paul Sutton, Charting Caribbean development (London, 2001)

2. While I have a good overview of the Caribbean region as a whole, where should I go for more specific territorial histories?

Have a look at specific chapters in the following texts:

De Barros, Juanita, Audra Diptee and David V. Trotman, Beyond fragmentation: perspectives on Caribbean history (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006)

Knight, Franklin W., The Caribbean: The genesis of a fragmented nationalism, 3rd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Moya Pons, Frank, History of the Caribbean: Plantations, trade, and war in the Atlantic world (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener; London: Eurospan, 2007)

Palmie, Stephan and Francisco A. Scarano (eds), The Caribbean: A history of the region and its peoples (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)

3. What should I read to know more about the modern history of Caribbean migration?

There is plently of reading here. Look at the two web-sites, which include personal accounts of Caribbean migrants who have come to the UK.

Second feedback exercise (term 2, week 5)

Things still appear to be on track and a number of the issues you 'still understand least' are actually coming up in the second half of the term. Other matters raised:

1. What did James mean when he talked about 'West Indian' revolutions?

Here's my answer from last year.

2. How can I find out more about the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath?

Have a look at the 'Further readings' from the seminar on the Haitian Revolution from last term.

3. What is the significance of the ideas and theses of Eric Williams?

To help you with this, try these:

Higman, B. W., Writing West Indian Histories (London, 1999)

Colin Palmer's introduction to Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (Chapel Hill, 1994) - HC254.5.W55

Solow, Barbara L. and Engerman, Stanley L. (eds), British Capitalism and Caribbean Slavery: The Legacy of Eric Williams (Cambridge, 1987)

First feedback exercise (term 1, week 5)

Generally things appear to be going well, while some of your questions anticipate topics we've yet to cover - which is promising. In terms of issues that need addressing now...

1. I want to know more about the actual process of sugar production.

Have a look at the following:

Watts, David, The West Indies: Patterns of development, culture and environmental change since 1492 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)

2. I found Ligon quite long and difficult. Are there works that provide summaries?

Look at the notes to David Smith's on-line edition and Karen Kupperman's introduction (both here).

3. Where can I find more about the distinct paths that different parts of the Caribbean took in terms of sugar revolutions and plantation development (e.g. English/British vs Spanish)?

Look at Watts (above) and this:

Moya Pons, Frank, History of the Caribbean: Plantations, trade, and war in the Atlantic world (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener; London: Eurospan, 2007)

Feedback from 2012-13

The questions below were asked by previous students on this course. You may find the answers you are looking for here.

Final feedback exercise (term 3, week 2)

1. What should I read to understand the period between emancipation and independence?

Have a look the readings from the lectures on ‘After slavery - change or continuity?’ and ‘New West Indians’. In addition, look at the following:

Laurence, Keith and Jorge Ibarra Cuesta (eds), The Long Nineteenth Century: Nineteenth-century Transformations, General History of the Caribbean, volume 4 (London: UNESCO Publishing, 2011), including chapters 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

2. What's best to look at on decolonisation and political independence in the 20th century?

Start with the ‘Suggested reading’ from the lecture on ‘The end of empire?’ particularly the pieces by García Muñiz, Macpherson, Maingot and Millette. For further work on independence in the Anglophone Caribbean, see:

Hart, Richard, From Occupation to Independence: A Short History of the Peoples of the English-speaking Caribbean Region (London: Pluto, 1998).

Hart, Richard, The End of Empire: Transition to Independence in Jamaica and other Caribbean Region Colonies (Kingston, Jamaica: Arawak, 2006).

Mawby, Spencer, Ordering Independence: The End of Empire in the Anglophone Caribbean, 1947-69 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

See also:

Oostindie, Gert and Inge Klinker, Decolonising the Caribbean: Dutch Policies in a Comparative Perspective (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2003).

3. I don't really understand provision grounds and their significance. Can you help?

There is a special issue of Slavery and Abolition, volume 12, issue 1 (1991) devoted to this topic.

See also:

Marshall, Woodville K., ‘The emergence and survival of the peasantry’ in Keith Laurence and Jorge Ibarra Cuesta (eds), The Long Nineteenth Century: Nineteenth-century Transformations, General History of the Caribbean, volume 4 (London: UNESCO Publishing, 2011), pp. 149-190.

Berleant-Schiller, Riva and Lydia M. Pulsipher, ‘Subsistence cultivation in the Caribbean’, New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids, 60 (1986), pp. 1-40.

Besson, Jean, ‘Land tenure in the free villages of Trelawny, Jamaica: A case study in the Caribbean peasant response to emancipation’ Slavery and Abolition, 5 (1984), pp. 3-23.

Sheridan, Richard B., ‘The crisis of slave subsistence in the British West Indies during and after the American Revolution’, The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, 33 (1976), pp. 615-641.

4. What should I read on the consequences of the Cuba Revolution?

Pérez-Stable, Marifeli, ‘The Cuban Revolution and its impact on the Caribbean’ in B. Brereton (ed.) The Caribbean in the Twentieth Century, General History of the Caribbean, volume 5 (London: UNESCO Publishing, 2004), pp. 282-311.

5. I want more on migration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Can you suggest what to read?

Start with the ‘Suggested reading’ from the lecture on ‘Migration’ starting with the pieces by Du Bois, Conway, Richardson and Thomas-Hope. See also:

Cervantes-Rodríguez, Margarita, Ramón Grosfoguel and Eric Mielants (eds), Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States: Essays on Incorporation, Identity, and Citizenship (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009).

Chamberlain, Mary, Caribbean Migration: Globalised Identities (London: Routledge, 1998).

Clarke, Colin, ‘Demographic changes and population movement’ in Keith Laurence and Jorge Ibarra Cuesta (eds), The Long Nineteenth Century: Nineteenth-century Transformations, General History of the Caribbean, volume 4 (London: UNESCO Publishing, 2011), pp. 259-282.

Richardson, Bonham, ‘The migration experience’ in B. Brereton (ed.) The Caribbean in the Twentieth Century, General History of the Caribbean, volume 5 (London: UNESCO Publishing, 2004), pp. 434-464.

6. Is there anything else you would recommend I read?

Check out the General History of the Caribbean (London: Macmillan Caribbean; Paris: UNESCO Pub., 1997-2011), which has 6 chronologically-organised volumes as follows:

Volume 1 - Autochthonous Societies, edited by Jalil Sued-Badillo

Volume 2 - New Societies: The Caribbean in the Long Sixteenth Century, edited by Pieter C. Emmer and German Carrera Damas

Volume 3 - The Slave Societies of the Caribbean, edited by Franklin W. Knight

Volume 4 - The Long Nineteenth Century: Nineteenth-century Transformations, edited by K. O. Laurence and Jorge Ibarra Cuesta

Volume 5 - The Caribbean the Twentieth Century, edited by Bridget Brereton

Volume 6 - Methodology and Historiography of the Caribbean, edited by B. W. Higman.

See also:

Beckles, Hilary, A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

De Barros, Juanita, Audra Diptee and David V. Trotman, Beyond Fragmentation: Perspectives on Caribbean History (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006) [organised by linguistic region; surveys historiographies].

Knight, Franklin W., The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism, 3rd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) [earlier editions also available; later chapters provide useful comparative case studies of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Anglophone Caribbean].

Fourth feedback exercise (term 2, week 10)

1. Where can I find out more about the ideas of Michael Manley?

I've added some extra reading on - and by - Manley under Further Reading for the 'Writings of Michael Manley' seminar.

2. I want to know more about New World Dependency Theory?

There is plenty of reading to look at from the 'Freedom or dependency?' lecture. The following is especially good on the contrast with Arthur Lewis's ideas:

Girvan, Norman, 'W.A. Lewis, the Plantation School and Dependency: An Interpretation' Social and Economic Studies, 54 (2005), pp. 198-221.

Third feedback exercise (term 2, week 5)

1. I'm still a bit hazy on the Haitian Revolution and its consequences. What should I look at?

There is plenty to work through under 'Further readings' from the seminar on the Haitian Revolution from last term.

2. Where can I find out more about the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath?

Have a look at the Suggested reading from the lecture on the Cuban Revolution.

3. I remain a little unsure about exactly where the Caribbean is and how it is defined. What should I read?

Have a look again at the reading for the very first seminar. Cover whatever you didn't read at the time.

4. How can I learn more about the post-emancipation period in the Caribbean, especially in the mid-to-late nineteenth century?

I would recommend the reading from the lecture entitled 'After slavery - change or continuity'. There is lots covering this period.

5. What exactly did C. L. R. James mean when he described the Haitian and Cuban Revolutions as 'West Indian'?

James is arguing that the Haitian and Cuban Revolutions stemmed from the same Caribbean (or 'West Indian') historical-geographical context. Understanding the nature of this Caribbean context is, in a sense, one of the primary objectives of this course. To think about this further, look again at the Sidney Mintz piece from the first seminar and also consider the following quotation:

'The main characteristics of Caribbean basin history [to] the nineteenth century…and the legacy of those centuries to subsequent generations, were imperial rivalry, war, forced and voluntary labour migration, slavery and indentured servitude, widespread racial conflict, class consciousness that was frequently tied to skin colour, a comparative absence of independent political experience, limited economic development and diversification, with economies largely monocultural in nature, and a widely shared sense of exploitation at the hands of imperial powers' (S. Randall et al., The Caribbean Basin, 1998, p. 12).

Do you think this provides a decent summary of most of the underlying causes of both revolutions?

Second feedback exercise (term 1, week 10)

1. Where can I find out more about maroon communities and marronage?

There is plenty to look at in the Further Reading from the week 9 seminar.

2. How did the public and politicians of metropolitan states (e.g. Britain and France) respond to Caribbean revolts?

The work of David Brion Davis is good here. Try the following:

Davis, David Brion, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (Oxford, 2006).

Davis, David Brion, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 (Ithaca, 1975).

Davis, David Brion, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Ithaca, 1969).

3. We've focused a lot on Jamaica and Barbados, but where can I learn about other Caribbean plantation societies?

The following provide excellent overviews of different societies:

Moya Pons, Frank, History of the Caribbean: Plantations, Trade, and War in the Atlantic World (Princeton, NJ; London, 2007).

Watts, David, The West Indies: Patterns of Development, Culture and Environmental Change since 1492 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)

For a comparison of Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Haiti...

Mintz, Sidney Wilfred, Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations (Cambridge, MA, 2010).

4. What is the 'African diaspora'?

This term refers to communities throughout the world descended from the migration of peoples from Africa, especially to Americas and Europe. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was, of course, a major cause of the forced dispersal of African people.

5. Has anything been written about planters and white communities in the Caribbean?

Try the following:

Burnard, Trevor, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and his Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World (Chapel Hill, NC, 2004).

Lambert, David, White Creole Culture, Politics and Identity during the Age of Abolition (Cambridge, 2005).

6. I'd like to know more about urban slavery. Where should I look?

There aren't as many studies as you might imagine, but this is good:

Welch, Pedro L. V., Slave Society in the City: Bridgetown, Barbados 1680-1834 (Oxford, 2004).

7. What primary sources are available on the colonial Caribbean?

I've started compiling a list of primary sources and will continue to add to it.

First feedback exercise (term 1, week 5)

1. Where can I find more about the pre-Columbian populations of the Caribbean?

Don't forget that there are two reading lists for most weeks - one linked to the seminar (in most weeks) and one to the accompanying lecture. You'll find plenty of reading on pre-Columbian populations here. I would particularly recommend the Curet, Heuman, Higman and Sued-Badillo pieces.

2. I want to know about the French colonization of the Caribbean. Where can I do so?

For an overview, I would recommend the following:

Boucher, Philip, ‘The French and Dutch Caribbean, 1600-1800’ in Stephan Palmié and Francisco A. Scarano (eds), The Caribbean: A History of the Region and its Peoples (Chicago, 2011), pp. 217-230.

Also see...

Garraway, Doris, The Libertine Colony: Creolization in the early French Caribbean (Durham, NC, 2005).

Roberts, W. Adolphe, The French in the West Indies (New York, 1971, [c.1942]).

3. There were also some questions about more recent Caribbean history, including US-Caribbean relations. We'll address such themes in term 2.

4. We discussed the concept of 'imaginatively' colonising the Caribbean but I'm still slightly unsure as to what that term actually means.

'Imaginative colonization' refers to the way in which Europeans - be they explorers, writers, artists - projected their visions for farming, mining etc. on to the Caribbean, renaming it, valuing it and basically assuming that it is as good as a colonised region by ignoring what the indigenous population might want. The classic work here is Edward Said's Orientalism, although you could also take a look at chapter 2 of David Spurr, The rhetoric of Empire: Colonial discourse in journalism, travel writing and imperial administration (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993).