08
Sep
08

Walter Rodney Conference at UWI, Mona, Jamaica

CALL FOR PAPERS THE WALTER RODNEY CONFERENCE

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES, MONA, JAMAICA

OCTOBER 16-18, 2008

The Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Centre for Caribbean Thought, in association with the Guild of Students, UWI, Mona and the Africana Studies Department, Brown University, invite abstracts for a conference, to be convened from October 16-18, 2008 at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, to mark the 40th anniversary of the October 16, 1968 student protests resulting from the expulsion of Walter Rodney.

The Mona campus was cordoned off by the police and military for two weeks and staff and students engaged in self-searching discussions about the political situation and the character of the University itself and its mission. Revisiting this historic moment is particularly appropriate as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the University of the West Indies.

The impact of the Rodney protests was felt throughout the Caribbean region and especially at the UWI campuses in Trinidad and Barbados and at the University of Guyana. There were protests in London, the United States and elsewhere. These protests internationalised the local events and contributed to the emergence of newspapers such as Abeng in Jamaica, Moko in Trinidad and Ratoon in Guyana. The October 1968 events helped to stimulate the radicalisation of Caribbean politics and culture in the 1970s and challenged the Caribbean to consider alternative ways of thinking about and building egalitarian societies in the early years after political independence.

Walter Rodneyʼs intellectual and political work reinvigorated and refined the radical Pan-African tradition in the 1960ʼs and 70ʼs. His reflections on 1968 and some of his articles and speeches were published in 1969 in The Groundings With My Brothers. His return to the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1969 saw him continue his scholarly work on African history as well as his collaboration with liberation movements based in the Tanzanian capital. In 1972 his classic book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa appeared. Walter Rodney returned to Guyana in 1974 and was denied employment at the University of Guyana by the administration of Forbes Burnham. Rodney, one of the leaders of the Working Peopleʼs Alliance, was killed on June 13, 1980 when an explosive he thought was a walkie-talkie, given to him by a soldier in the Guyana Defence Force, detonated. His book, A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881-1905, was published posthumously in 1981.

CONFERENCE THEMES:

§ Walter Rodneyʼs Academic and Political Legacy

§ Pan-Africanism Revisited

§ Marxism in the Caribbean

§ Student Activism in the Contemporary Caribbean

§ Anti-colonial movements in the Caribbean

§ Black Power in the Caribbean

§ Gendering Black Power

§ Rastafari and Political Activism in Jamaica

§ Grassroots Journalism in the Caribbean

§ Oral Histories of the Rodney Protests

§ Literary Representations of Revolutionary Politics in the Caribbean

§ Rodney, Revolution and Popular Music

The themes outlined above are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive and are intended as a guide/focus for panels and papers. We invite submission of research paper abstracts by September 8, 2008. Submissions should include:

1) an abstract of not more than 300 words

2) a cover page with name, affiliation, contact information and short bio (75 words or less)

Email your submission to:

Leon Burrell
Conference Co-ordinator
Email: conferencewalterrodney@yahoo.com
Tel: (876) 977-1951
Fax: (876) 977-3430

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2 Responses to “Walter Rodney Conference at UWI, Mona, Jamaica”


  1. September 9, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Oh Max, I am going to go all girl academic geek here. Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was one of those defining books of my academic career and, of course, his legacy still carries on at the University of Dar es Salaam. I spend 7 months there in ’94. Its great to see this. 40 years. I wish we were sharing more positive outcomes. Seems a retrospective would be so much more meaningful if one could measure meaningful change.

  2. September 9, 2008 at 3:33 am

    Yes that really was a momentous book, and in his short life he made quite an impact, in fact, he seems to be making a greater impact with every passing year. Anyway, don’t give up, as much as all the signs tell us to do just that.


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