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Liz Egan

I am a social and cultural historian of the Caribbean and British colonialism, with particular interest in race, gender, and class during the “long post-emancipation period”. I am currently an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick.


My PhD research project was supervised by Professor David Lambert at the University of Warwick and Dr Sascha Auerbach at the University of Nottingham, and kindly funded by Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. My thesis is titled 'Backra Country': Creole Whiteness in Jamaica, 1865-1938.

At its heart, my PhD research asks what did it mean to be white in Jamaica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Framed between the Morant Bay Rebellion and labour unrest of 1938, my research uses gender and class to interrogate representations and practices of creole whiteness across different spaces. I draw on critical whiteness studies to deploy creole whiteness as a privileged but porous category inextricable from the political, social and economic inequalities of post-emancipation Jamaica.

Reading newspapers and literature alongside archival study of diaries and correspondence, I ask how far did competing discourses of whiteness align with individual and group performances? How did whiteness and light skin function as social and cultural capital that coincided with political and economic power? How were actions and behaviours marked by whiteness, and what happened when expectations were unfulfilled? My thesis dissects concepts of belonging and collective identity to reflect on the categories of creole and colonial. In so doing, I question the relationship between whiteness, creolisation and Britishness. Uncovering the anxieties and messiness that characterised everyday experiences of race, colour and class, I situate the island within wider colonial geographies and offer new insight into peculiarities of how sytsems of race and colour took place in Jamaica. 

My wider research interests include: Caribbean history, British colonialism, migration, print cultures, gender and race.

Academic Profile

PhD History, University of Warwick, 2019-2023

‘Backra Country’: Creole Whiteness in Jamaica, 1865-1938

MA World History and Cultures, King's College London, 2017-2019

Dissertation: '"To Wield the Pen in Defence of Right and Justice": The Workman Newspaper and the British Caribbean Community in Panama, 1919-1930'

BA History (International), University of Leeds, 2013-2017

Dissertation: ‘The “Contrarious Character” of Whiteness in Jamaica during the Age of Abolition’


  • Member of the Society for Caribbean Studies
  • Postgraduate Member of the Royal Historical Society (RHS)
  • Member of North American Conference of British Studies

Awards and Funding

  • Early Career Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick (2023/24)
  • David Nicholls Memorial Trust Award (2022)
  • Gad Heuman Postgraduate Bursary, Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick (2021-2022)
  • AHRC Midlands 4 Cities doctoral fellowship (2019-2023)
  • Warwick Humanities Research Centre Doctoral Fellowship (2020-2021)
  • Jinty Nelson Prize awarded to the MA History student achieving the highest cumulative score on completion of the programme, King’s College London (2019)
  • World History and Culture MA Prize awarded to a student studying the MA in World History and Culture who achieves the highest cumulative score, King’s College London (2019)
  • John Le Patourel Prize for best dissertation, University of Leeds (2017)
  • Alice M Cooke Prize for best overall performance of female student in final year, University of Leeds (2017)

Conference Papers

Society for Caribbean Studies Conference, 5-8 July 2023 – The Story of a West Indian Policeman: Race, Class, and Justice in the Jamaica Constabulary Force

Personal Writing and Textual Practices in the British Empire, C19th-20th, Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS), University of Leicester, 14 April 2023 – A Story of a West Indian Policeman: Race, Class, and Justice in Inspector Herbert Thomas’s Memoir

North American Conference of British Studies, 10-13 November 2022 - ‘The least Jamaican of everything pertaining to the country’: Whiteness, Belonging, and Home in Jamaica, 1865-1938

Society for Caribbean Studies Conference UK, 5-9 July 2022 - 'At Home in Jamaica: Reproducing Creole Whiteness in Jamaica, 1865-1938'

Society for Caribbean Studies UK Postgraduate Conference, 5 May 2021 - '"Days of Terror": Retellings of the Morant Bay Rebellion'

Warwick History Postgraduate Conference, 28 May 2021- 'Remembering Morant Bay: Articulating codes of race and colour through the Morant Bay Rebellion'

Culture Things and Empire Research Seminar, 21 April 2021 - ‘Reading Race in Black and White: Constructing Whiteness in Jamaican Newspapers’

M4C Digital Festival 2020 - ‘Archiv​al Journeys: Historians Navigating Covid-19’: collaborative Prezi as part of the M4C Digital Festival Virtual Gallery

Blog Posts

Warwick Global History and Culture Centre Blog: New Frontiers in Imperial Networks Workshop

Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre, Unhomely Empire, A Forum

Warwick HRC, At Home in Empire blog series: At Home in Empire? Whiteness and Jamaica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Other Professional Activities

Early Career Representative, History UK (2023)

Member of the Society for Caribbean Studies Committee, Conference Coordinator, 2023-25.

'At Home in Empire: Colonial Experiences of Intimacy and Mobility', 13 March 2021​​ - Warwick Humanities Resear​ch Centre Doctoral Fellowship, co-organised with Hannah Dennett

Warwick Postgraduate Podcast Series Spring/Summer 2020​ - Organising Committee, pannelist: ‘Across the British Empire: Voices, Stories, and Representations’, and chair:‘Latin America in a Transnational Perspective’ and ‘International Organizations and Networks: Health and Disability in the late Twentieth Century'

​King's College London World History Student Conference May 2018 - Organising Committee and Panel Chair


Academic and Professional Pathway for Postgraduate Researchers who Teach, Academic Development Centre, University of Warwick, February-October 2023

University of the West Indies and University of Leicester International Summer School, UWI Mona, 23-27 May 2022

Royal Literary Fund Second Year Stretch Workshop, 5, 6 and 12 June 2021

'Becoming an Anti-Racist in the Academy' workshop by BRAP, 5-6 January 2021

Preparing to Teach in Higher Education online course, University of Warwick, 30 September 2020

Visual Sources for Historians, Institute of Historical Research, February-March 2020

Royal Literary Fund Writing Workshop, Birmingham City University with Midlands4cities, 19-20 February 2020

liz dot egan at warwick dot ac dot uk / elizabeth dot a dot egan at warwick dot ac dot uk


In 2023/2024 I am teaching on the following modules

HI1780 Farewell to Arms? War in Modern European History, 1815-2015, Terms 1, 2, & 3

Office Hours: Friday 13.30pm, FAB 3.36

I have also previously taught on undergraduate modules Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in Modern Britain (HI2D4), Britain in the Twentieth Century: A Social History (HI180), Making of the Modern World (HI153), and the Research Project (HI2E4).

M4C Student Profile

Monument to the Rt. Excellent George William Gordon & the Rt. Excellent Paul Bogle, Kingston, Jamaica

Monument to the Rt. Excellent George William Gordon & the Rt. Excellent Paul Bogle, Kingston, Jamaica

Presenting at SCS Conference 2023, image courtesy of Dr Jo Norcup

Presenting at SCS Conference 2023, image courtesy of Dr Jo Norcup