Date: 30 June 2008
Sarah Barber from Lancaster University's History Department has been awarded funding by the British Academy towards the Jamaica leg of her comparative Caribbean research, 'Disputatious Societies'. The award will fund the collection of seventeenth-century documents from the Jamaica Archives and setting up a database with which to analyse them.
It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Over the past few years Sarah has been gathering the surviving evidence of the English-administered Caribbean in the seventeenth century. This has focused on five settlements: Barbados, centre of the first wave of sugar fever; Antigua, the chief of the Leeward Islands, where in 1710 the governor was brutally murdered; Surinam in the midst of the Orinoco jungle, (here, the governor survived the attempt on his life); Jamaica, seized by Cromwell's Admirals from the Spanish in 1655 and for the remainder of the century a refuge for pirates; and Carolina, around the settlement of Charleston, where Lord Shaftesbury and philosopher John Locke tried to build a haven for individual liberties. Document include textual survivals - litigation, parish registers, vestry records, patents, land deeds, family papers, account books, letter books - and material culture - grave memorials, church buildings, surviving plantation houses, mills and other surrounding buildings. The project supports academic research in the 'Disputatious Societies' project; postgraduate research, such as current and incoming Masters' students who are analysing the land deeds of pre-sugar Barbados and the disputed Anglo-Spanish authority of Jamaica; and an undergraduate third-year History course, 'Society and Anarchy in the English Caribbean, c.1620-c.1720'.
News website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/staff/hiaseb/caribbean/index.htm
Associated departments and research centres: History