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Caribbean History: From Colonialism to Independence (HI2E8-30)

FIRST YEAR STUDENTS: thinking about taking this module next year? CLICK HERE!

Module leader

Phone: 024 76523408 (internal extension 23408)
Office: Room H3.33, third floor of the Humanities Building

Office hours: Two hours per week during term (times TBC) or by appointment (see here)

Aims and objectives

Since Europeans ‘discovered’ the islands, territories and peoples of the Caribbean in 1492, this region has been subjected to externally-directed processes of imperial rivalry, colonial settlement, the cultivation of plantation crops, land clearance leading to environmental degradation, and the extermination of the indigenous populations and the forced importation of millions of enslaved Africans and indentured labourers from Asia. This second-year option module offers an introduction to the history of the Caribbean and its place in the wider world. It will present key themes in Caribbean history, including slavery, the plantation, ‘race’ relations, emancipation and its aftermath, and resistance. Of particular concern will be how colonisation made the region’s societies dependent on other parts of the world, a dependency which survived both the ending of slavery and colonialism, and how efforts have been made to challenge and transcend this. The module will accomplish these objectives through addressing the historiography of the region, as well as readings from sociology, anthropology and geography. It will also provide experience of working with a variety of primary sources, including films, literature and, in particular, visual images.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should be able to:

  • demonstrate enhanced study, writing and communication skills, in both written work and group discussion
  • exhibit a capacity for independent study skills, clear/concise expression and critical analysis
  • show a familiarity with key themes and debates in modern Caribbean history
  • show some capacity to engage with historiographical debates relevant to the study of the Caribbean


This 30 CAT Second Year Modern option module is assessed by...

  • Oral participation/engagement (10%)
  • 1500 word essay (10%)
  • 3000 word essay (40%)
  • 2 hour exam (40%)

You will be expected to play a central role in finding your own topic and sources, and coming up with a title, so start planning your assessed work early.

For detailed information about assessed work including deadline dates and submission instructions please refer to the Department Assessment and Submission webpages. Please note that this is a ‘Second Year Modern option’ module in terms of the timetable of assessments.

Quick links


Columbus landing on HispaniolaAntiguan plantationSlave revolt, 1832Nanny of the MaroonsFidel CastroViv RichardsCaribbean beach