Professor Christine Chivallon (Visiting Fellow) and Dr David Howard (Fellow) have recently returned from Jamaica where they have been involved in the organization of an international conference, linking postgraduate teaching and research as part of the Programme France Caraïbe. Christine is co-founder of the programme, and David has been involved with the initiative for several years as an Associate Researcher at Sciences Po Bordeaux, both co-ordinating the British Academy’s Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America & the Caribbean conference on the Construction of Collective Memories of Slave Rebellions in the Caribbean in Bordeaux. Christine and David, as Kellogg Fellows and members of the research group Les Afriques dans le Monde at Sciences Po Bordeaux, work closely with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies and the Department of Government at University of West Indies (UWI), and the Centre for Research on Local Powers in the Caribbean located at the Université Antilles-Guyane, Martinique.
Programme France Caraïbe was established in 2007 and connects three teaching and research institutes in France and the Caribbean: the Institut d’Études Politiques in Bordeaux, France (Sciences Po Bordeaux), the Université d’Antilles Guyane (UAG) in Martinique and the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. The students on the associated MSc programme spend at least one year at each institution, with classes being taught in English and French. Such a connection has enabled the creation of a range of transatlantic and multilingual teaching and research links.
The recent conference, Contenting Perspectives on the Caribbean: Institutions, States, Cultures, Concepts, was held at UWI, 22-23 April 2014, and focused on European and Caribbean political and economic connections, concentrating on contemporary aspects of neo-colonialism. Among the aims were to engage scholars from diverse disciplinary, linguistic and institutional backgrounds in a dialogue about ongoing research on the Caribbean, and to expand cooperation between universities in the UK, France, the Francophone and former British Caribbean. The conference was funded by the Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and the Direction des relations européennes et internationales et de la coopération (DREIC), Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in France. Both of these institutions are committed to reinforcing the collaborative network of research initiated by the Programme France Caraïbe and were represented by delegates at the meetings.
As a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg, Christine has recently started a new research project with David that links their shared research interests on place, memory and rebellion in contemporary Martinique and Jamaica. Following the conference and meetings, they were able to develop their common work on a comparative approach to understanding today’s political and geographical legacies of anti-colonial rebellions, which took place in Jamaica and Martinique during the nineteenth century. They plan further fieldwork in Jamaica during 2015, and a conference will be held at Kellogg in December 2014 to explore the importance of place, memory and colonization.