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The Walter Rodney Lecture

In 1984 the Centre for Caribbean Studies established the Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture in recognition of the life and work of one of the most outstanding scholar-activists of the Black Diaspora in the post World War II era. Rodney’s scholarship and activism encompassed ‘grounding with his brothers’ in Guyana (his country of birth), the wider Caribbean, Africa, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The first Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture was entitled ‘The State, Politics and Violence in the Anglophone Caribbean’ and was given by Dr Harry Goulbourne in April 1985. Since then the Centre and the University of Warwick have routinely invited a distinguished speaker to deliver the Lecture. More recent lectures include presentations by the Most Hon P.J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica (2010), Cecil Gutzmore (2011), Paget Henry (2012), Silvio Torres-Saillant (2013), Verene Shepherd (2014) and Vincent Brown (2015).

Previous annual Walter Rodney lectures

For the academic year 2023-24, the annual Walter Rodney lecture was given in March 2024 by Dr Fabienne Kanor, Writer, filmmaker, Associate Professor at Penn State University. She spoke passionately on Towards a Resetting of the “Passage”: Identifying Black Bodies in the Colonial Archives and held a lively Q&A session following her talk.

Dr. Fabienne Kanor is a Marian Trygve Freed Early Career Professor and an Associate-Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Pennsylvania State University. An award-winning writer and filmmaker, she has directed several movies and published 9 books, including among others  Je ne suis pas un homme qui pleure (2016), Louisiane (2020), La poétique de la cale: variations sur le bateau négrier (October 2022), a monograph examining the way the experience of the Middle Passage is represented in contemporary literary, cinematographic and artistic productions.


Top Left: Speaker Dr Kanor introduced by Professor Richardson; Above: Dr Camilla Cowling and Liz Egan, Associate Tutor from Warwick History department with Professor Ben Richardson.

Left: Caribbean Centre secretary, Lisa Cook (left) with Dr Kanor (right) and Miriam Gordon, PhD Scholarship student.

All photos credit: Dr Joanne Norcup.

The annual Walter Rodney lecture in 2022 was given by Professor Sasha Turner. Entitled Coming to Grips with Caribbean History: Sources and Production, it was the Centre's first in person event since the Pandemic and attracted a large audience who participated in a lively Q&A session following the presentation.

Sasha Turner is the author of the multi award winning Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing and Slavery in Jamaica and is associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. See the link below for a recording of the lecture. Please scroll forward 18 minutes for the start of the lecture. It is audio only at the beginning but an image does appear further into the recording.

In October 2021, the annual lecture was given by Professor Aaron Kamugisha, Professor of Africana Studies at Smith College, the University of the West Indies. Aaron is editor of ten books and special issues of journals on Caribbean and Africana thought, and author of Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition. A recording of his talk, “The Responsibilities of Caribbean Intellectuals” can be viewed here:

In 2020 the Centre hosted Jorge L. Giovanetti Torres, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. His online presentation for the Annual Walter Rodney lecture entitled: Caribbean Hostile Environments: Black British Migrants before the Windrush can be viewed here:

The 2019 annual Walter Rodney Lecture was given by Dr Patricia Rodney, CEO of the Walter Rodney Foundation (WRF), established by the Rodney family. As a seasoned public health professional, Dr Rodney’s career spans the disciplines of health, adult education and literacy, social work and women, gender and development. An audio recording of the talk, Living with a Legacy: My Journey with Walter Rodney can be found here (use Ctrl & Click):


The 2018 annual Walter Rodney Lecture Link opens in a new windowwas given by Carole Boyce-Davies, Professor of African Studies and English at Cornell University, New York. Her talk was entitled, Re-Grounding the Intellectual-Activist Model of Walter Rodney. Photos of the event can be found here.

The 2017 annual Walter Rodney Lecture Link opens in a new windowwas given by, Matthew J Smith, Professor of Caribbean History and Chair of the Department of History and Archaeology, University of the West Indies, Mona. His talk, The Past is not our future: Walter Rodney and Youth Culture in 1960's Jamaica attracted a large audience. He is pictured hereLink opens in a new window with Dr Fabienne Viala.

The 2016 annual Walter Rodney Lecture was held on Tuesday 25th October. The speaker, Professor Shalini Puri, Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh gave a talk on "Memory-work and the Grenada Revolution: A Love Letter from the Humanities".

The 2015 annual Walter Rodney Lecture was held on Tuesday 27th October. The speaker was Professor Vincent Brown, Professor of African and African-American Studies, and Director of the History Design Studio at Harvard University. He gave a talk on "Designing Histories of Slavery in the Database Age".

The 2014 annual Walter Rodney Lecture was held on Tuesday 28th October. The speaker was Professor Verene Shepherd, Director of the regional Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) at the University of the West Indies. A slideshow presentation of the War memorials which Verene highlighted in her talk, can be found War memorials and Black Liberation. Photos of the event can be found here.

October 2013

October 2012

October 2011

October 2010

March 2010