Over the summer, I ‘launched’ a new blog: Caribbean Histories. That sounds rather formal, but I wanted somewhere to share all the links and book notes I’ve kept over the past couple of years related to Caribbean history. I’ve discovered to my surprise that Caribbean history is somewhat under-appreciated. It’s dispersed between accounts from various perspectives and languages—including the European empires which had a hold on the region for so long, pre-Columbian perspectives, and more recently the African diaspora. And then there is the diversity within the region itself. For my thesis I’m approaching it from a British/Irish perspective, which I know is only one of the myriad ways the history of the region can be approached. I hope that by sharing my finds, I can help those interested in Caribbean history to dig deeper. The blog is not pitched necessarily at the academic, rather I hope to spark interest in a more general reader. For example, high school or university students seeking deeper knowledge or help with a research topic, or travellers heading to the region for a holiday. If you know someone this could help out—please share!
Head on over to Caribbean Histories… and as always, I’d be very appreciative of feedback.
Well, I’ve submitted my Masters thesis and am waiting on my markers’ verdict. I was pleased with how the thesis came together in the end, as was my supervisor, so my fingers are crossed for a good outcome. The final title was ‘Celebrating the Battle of the Saintes: Imperial News in England and Ireland, 1782.’ I took the newspaper reporting of Britain’s victory over the French in April 1782 in les Saintes (in the Caribbean) as a case study to examine the impact of imperial news in London, and a second site of empire: Ireland. The case study also allowed me to look at the network which passed information from an outpost of empire to England and Ireland. I thoroughly enjoyed the primary research for this project. Most of my sources were digitised newspapers, although I did need to go to the National Library in Canberra to read the Dublin Evening Post on microfiche, which felt like a blast from the past, technologically speaking. During our family holiday in England I even managed to get to the British Library Manuscripts room—with my precious reader’s ticket in hand—to read a journal from one of the British ships at the Saintes, as well as the journal of John Mair, who watched the battle and its aftermath from his plantation on Dominica. I also visited the National Archives at Kew, and read some of the personal correspondence of Admiral Rodney, who commanded the British fleet at the Saintes—including a letter from Edmund Burke. A highlight for me was the moment I realised that the pencil markings I thought had been made by a selfish scholar on the original letters, were actually Rodney’s own markings! The experience of reading original documents in manuscript is one of the reasons I am determined to continue with historical research – whether as a PhD student or an independent researcher.