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Aims and Objectives

During the term, students will study the period from Vincent Ogé’s uprising in Saint-Domingue to the Aponte Rebellion in Cuba, and encompassing military interventions by, and conflict between, Britain, Spain and France. They will examine the role various social groups played as allies and enemies across the Caribbean, including free and enslaved people of African descent, white colonists, indigenous Caribs and Maroons. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) looms large, of course, but students will also learn about less well-known insurgencies and counter-insurgencies in Grenada, Jamaica, Cuba and elsewhere in order to develop comparative perspectives on war and revolution across the region. The module also attends to the connections between these events, especially those in Saint-Domingue, and to the circulation of ideas and individuals within and beyond the region. In conceptual terms, the module seeks to eschew the usual categories of 'power', 'domination' and 'resistance' often employed in histories of slave societies to consider a series of thematic realms - including 'communication', 'belief' and 'violence' - that brought different social groups and individuals together in asymmetrical ways as they fought for - and against - freedom.