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HISTORY 2EN3 Emancipation Nation Caribbean

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Juanita DeBarros

Email: debarr@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 602

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24149


Office Hours: Tuesday, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. or by appointment

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

This course examines the history of the Caribbean from the end of slavery to the late twentieth century.  It traces the process of emancipation and the social, political, and economic struggles to create free societies.  Themes include labour and political unrest, changing gender roles, African and Indian diasporic identities, and anti-colonial struggles and independence.  The course will be organized in weekly lectures and tutorials.  


Course Objectives:

  • gain an understanding of the key events and themes in the history of the Caribbean
  • develop critical reading skills, particularly in the area of evaluating historical arguments and interpretations
  • develop historical research skills
  • enhance verbal communication skills through regular discussions


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:

  1. Leslie Casson, ed. A Writer’s Handbook: Developing Writing Skills for University Students. Second edition. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2006.
  2. Eds. Stephan Palmié and Francisco A. Scarano, The Caribbean: A History of the Region and Its Peoples. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Method of Assessment:

Course Assignments and Evaluation

Tutorial Participation 12%
Tutorial Reading Analysis 8%
Research Essay 35%
Essay Proposal and Bibliography 10%
FInal Examination 35%

All written work will be marked on grammar, clarity of writing, and organization, as well as content and analysis.  Written work must follow formal scholarly writing conventions (no slang or contractions) and must be properly referenced in accordance with standard humanities guides. You must use footnotes.  Details can be found in the most recent version of in Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papershttp://library.mcmaster.ca/guides/turabian-chicago-style-guide.  You can also consult the most recent version of the Chicago Style Guide.  A Condensed version of is available through the McMaster University Library home page. http://library.mcmaster.ca/articles/chicago-manual-style-online


If you haven’t written a history essay before, or are uncertain about your skills, I recommend that you consult the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to History at Mac”: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~history/historyguide/


Assignments must double-spaced and typed or word-processed.  Please keep a photocopy of all written work and please keep your research notes and rough drafts. Failure to do so may result in a zero for the assignment.   


Students are responsible for mastering the course material, including lectures and readings.  They should arrive in class on time and remain until the class is over.  Students should refrain from disruptive behaviour, including, but not limited to talking while the instructor is lecturing and reading non-course related material (including on electronic devices) while lecture/discussion is in progress.  The instructor reserves the right to ask disruptive students to leave the class and to turn off electronic devices.  Finally, students should treat fellow classmates with respect.  Following these simple guidelines will ensure that we all have an enjoyable and productive semester.


Class discussions may not be recorded in any electronic format without my written permission.  Lectures are the intellectual property of the instructor


Tutorial Participation 12%

Students are expected to attend every tutorial and to be prepared to discuss the assigned weekly readings.  Students must participate regularly to receive a good grade in this section of the course;  attendance alone will not be enough.  The participation grade is determined by weekly self-evaluation.  A missed tutorial will receive a grade of 0.     

Tutorial Reading Analysis 8% (the lowest mark will be dropped)

You are responsible for writing five tutorial reading analyses.  These are based on questions about the tutorial readings;  the questions are posted on Avenue to Learn.  Each answer should be 100-250 words in length.  These will be marked as follows: a pass (earns the full 2%);  marginal pass (1%);  fail (0%)).  A reasonable and coherent effort to answer the question will earn you a full 2%.  You needn’t include a bibliography but please use quotation marks and page references for quotations.

These are due at the start of tutorial;  late reading analyses will not be accepted unless students have a legitimate and documented reason for missing tutorial.  (See the above policies governing submissions and extensions.)

Essay Proposal and Bibliography 10%

Due: October 18

Length: 400 words or 1-2 pages

For this assignment, you will write an essay proposal and submit a bibliography.  The topics and details about the assignment are posted on Avenue to Learn.  The proposal must include the main research questions, a detailed outline explaining your methodology/approach, and a bibliography.  The bibliography must include at least four scholarly, secondary sources, all published after 1980. 

Please note that we will not accept the research essay unless you have submitted your essay proposal and had it approved.    

Research Essay 35%

Due: November 31

Length: 10-12 pages (or approximately 2,500 to 3,000 words). The word count does not include references and bibliography

Using your essay proposal as a guide, research and write an essay that develops and proves an argument.  Your essay must address the topic you identified in your essay proposal.  The details for the essay assignment are posted on Avenue to Learn.   

Final Examination:  35% The final examination will be held during the examination period at the end of semester.  It will be based on the lectures, readings, and other course materials.



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Submission and Late Policies

Late assignments will be penalized by 3% each day, including weekends.  Please submit all written assignments (even if they’re late) to the Avenue to Learn dropbox by 7pm on the due date.  The one exception are the tutorial reading analyses (see below).  These should be submitted in tutorial.  I will not accept any emailed or faxed assignments; assignments should not be slid under my office door.  If you submit your assignments in the History department drop box, you do so at your own risk.

All papers submitted to the A to L dropbox will be automatically screened by anti-plagiarism software.


I will consider extensions for assignments if you let me know in advance of the due date and if you support your request with acceptable documentation.  For minor illnesses (fewer than 5 days in length), you should submit the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) www.mcmaster.ca/msaf/.  If you plan to submit an MSAF, please email me no later than the date the essay is due and please submit the MSAF within 2 days of the assignment due date.  If the MSAF is not appropriate for your circumstances, you should document the absence with your faculty office.  You will not be able to use an MSAF to submit a late tutorial writing assignment.


Please note that I will not waive late penalties due to the demands of course work or extra-curricular activities. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Sept 6             Introduction

Sept 9             Plantations and Slavery in the Caribbean

Required Reading:  Palmié and Scarano, pp. 25-53, 83-97, 231-242, 245-272.

No tutorials this week

Sept 13                      The End of Slavery

Sept 16                      Struggles over Land and Labour (1): Sugar after Slavery

Required Reading:  Palmié and Scarano, pp. 273-300, 333-345.

“Digital Caribbean” (Digital Library of the Caribbean http://www.dloc.com/; Caribbean History Archives/Besson Blog http://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.ca/; Caribbean photos on flickr;

Amy Bailey JamaicaWriting, https://sites.google.com/site/amybaileyjamaicawriting/home

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalarchives/collections/72157630635006206/; Obeah stories http://obeahhistories.org/

Tutorials start this week

Tutorials should discuss research methods and sources, especially digital resources.

Sept 20                      Struggles over Land and Labour (2): Post-slavery Peasantries

Sept 23                      Indentured Labour

Required Reading:   Palmié and Scarano, 347-360; “Mohamedan Wedding,” Daily Argosy, September 24, 1918; “Mohamedan Feast in Georgetown” and “Mohamedan Festival at Peter’s Hall,” both in Daily Argosy, September 17, 1918.

 Tutorial Reading Analysis due this week.

Sept 27                      Control and Resistance

Sept 30                      Social Policies and the Emergence of a Middle Class

Required Reading:  Palmié and Scarano, pp. 373-397; “Photography Album Documenting the Morant Bay Rebellion, Jamaica 1865” https://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2009/10/photography_album_documenting.html

And “The Negro Insurrection at Morant Bay,” The London Illustrated News, November 25, 1865. http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/westindies/insurrection.html

Tutorial Reading Analysis due this week.

Oct 4               Families and Gender Roles (guest lecture)

Oct 7               The Asian Caribbean

Required Reading:  Palmié and Scarano, pp. 399-413; 417-444; “East Indian’s Love Affair with Portuguese Girl,” Daily Argosy, September 1, 1918.

Tutorial Reading Analysis due this week.

Oct 11, Oct 14: No classes. Mid-term recess      

Oct 18                         The American Century Essay Proposals due in lecture on Oct 18.

Oct 21                         Healthy Bodies

Required Reading:  Palmié and Scarano, 445-458; The Kingston Earthquake, http://www.will-robson.com/Jamaica/1907-Kingston-Earthquake-1/n-qJZ6V

“Frank Guridy on Afro-Cubans and African Americans in the Jim Crow Era” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jGt0PYe0Ag

Tutorials should discuss Guridy’s interview and his views about the “American Century.” As well, use the images of the Kingston earthquake to draw some conclusions about early twentieth-century Caribbean urban spaces.

Oct 25                         Gender before World War Two

Oct 28                         Caribbean People on the Move

Required Reading: Palmié and Scarano, 583-596.

No tutorials this week

Nov 1                          Labour Organization and Labour Protests

Nov 4                         Race, Class and the Turbulent 1930s

Required Reading:

Palmié and Scarano, 459-474; Frank Guridy, “‘War on the Negro”: Race and the Revolution of 1933,” Cuban Studies 40 (2009); 49-73.


No tutorials this week. We will discuss Guridy’s article in the ecture on Nov 4th

Nov 8                          Women’s Voices and Challenges to the Social Order

Nov 11                       Economic Change after the Second World War

Required Reading:


No tutorials this week. But students should look through the website and skim through some of Bailey’s writings about gender.

Nov 15                       Race, Independence, and Political Radicalism after the Second World War (guest lecture)

Nov 18                       The Challenge of Independence

Required Reading:

Palmié and Scarano, pp. 475-503, 537-551; 571-582; “The Black Scholar Interviews: C. L. R. James,” The Black Scholar 2, no. 1 (September 1970): 35-43 http://www.jstor.org/stable/41202957

Mary Williams Walsh, “Puerto Rico’s Financial Woes Revive Calls for Independence,” New York Times August 16, 2016.


Tutorial Reading Analysis due this week.

Nov 22                       Race and Nation in Twentieth-century Haiti

Nov 25                       Revolution in Cuba

Required Reading:  Palmié and Scarano, pp. 507-522; 537-569; “Speech by Fidel Castro on the 40th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, January 1, 1999, Cespedes Park, Santiago de Cuba, The Black Scholar 29, no. 1 (Spring, 1999): 39-42. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41068824

Tutorial Reading Analysis due this week.

Nov 29                      Culture and Society after Independence   Essays are due

Dec 2                          The Caribbean in Canada

Required Reading: Palmié and Scarano, pp. 523-537; Erna Brodber, "Black Consciousness and Popular Music in Jamaica in the 1960s and 1970s,” The New West Indian Guide, 61, no. 3/4 (1987): 145-160. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41849293

“Burning Spears: Marcus Garvey”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeO9tgMPF6w

Desmond Dekker and the Aces, “The Israelites,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxtfdH3-TQ4

Tutorials should discuss the political and social significance of Caribbean music.

Dec 6              Summary