Edward Long in the Twenty-First Century Caribbean
Following a ceremony (winter 2021) in which Barbados officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Jamaica. They were met with protestors calling for apologies and reparations from the British Crown. At least five other former British colonies besides Jamaica, including Belize, the Bahamas, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis have also indicated a desire to sever direct relationships with the British Monarchy. Considering 2023 marks the 210th anniversary of Edward Long’s death, the author of the famous three-volume History of Jamaica (1774), how might we read Long’s illustrated book when the British Caribbean seems less British? Trevor Burnard’s attention towards Long’s analysis of Saint-Domingue and Vincent Brown’s meticulous scrutiny of Long’s descriptions of the Coromantees who were known to instigate revolts throughout the Atlantic World reveals that reading Long beyond a racist and exclusively British imperial thinker allows us to approach his work from a larger geographic context. This panel builds on their scholarship in the wake of recent efforts to disassociate from the British Crown by considering Long’s relationship to a wider trans-regional context and fears about imperial loss in Jamaica, the British Atlantic World, and beyond. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary contributions that read Long against the grain by employing innovative contemporary methodologies to situate him in a broader context where recent efforts to dissociate from the British Crown are not a recent occurrence but rather entwined with longer histories of colonial resistance and British failure.
Britain/English, Caribbean, Race and Empire.