Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean

Barbados, 1937-66

By Mary Chamberlain

Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-8477-9733-9
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: July 2013
  • BIC Category: History, History of the Americas, History Of The Americas, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Colonialism & imperialism, Caribbean islands, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, Modern History, HISTORY / Caribbean & West Indies / General
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


This original and exciting book examines the processes of nation building in the British West Indies.

It argues that nation building was a more complex and messy affair, involving women and men in a range of social and cultural activities, in a variety of migratory settings, within a unique geo-political context. Taking as a case study Barbados which, in the 1930s, was the most economically impoverished, racially divided, socially disadvantaged and politically conservative of the British West Indian colonies, Empire and nation-building tells the messy, multiple stories of how a colony progressed to a nation.

It is the first book to tell all sides of the independence story and will be of interest to specialists and non-specialists interested in the history of Empire, the Caribbean, of de-colonisation and nation building.


1. Introduction
2. The 'romance' of foreign: distance, perspective and an inclusive nationhood
3. The exigencies of 'home': Barbadian poverty and British nation-building
4. Gender and the moral economy
5. Race, nation and the politics of memory
6. A common language of the spirit': cultural awakenings and national belongings
7. From diffidence to desperation: the British, the Americans, the war and the move to Federation
8. Conclusion


Mary Chamberlain is Emeritus Professor of Caribbean History at Oxford Brookes University

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