The decolonial spatial politics of West Indian black power: praxis, theory and transnational exchange

Gowland, Ben (2021) The decolonial spatial politics of West Indian black power: praxis, theory and transnational exchange. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The 1960s and 1970s were tumultuous decades in the West Indies. In this period, many of the islands of this former British colony attained formal independence and with this national identity, international alignment, state and economic structure and national trajectory become objects of political contestation for the first time in fully free and democratic nation-states. It was in this field of social, political and cultural upheaval that a significant Black Power movement and ideology emerged in the later years of the 1960s. Emergent from growing popular dissatisfaction with the trajectories and construction of these newly independent states and rooted in longstanding and powerful currents of subaltern race consciousness and anti-colonial and anti-imperial resistance the West Indian Black Power movement represented a serious challenge to the region’s post-colonial states and governments. Black Power groups and actors across the Caribbean world would articulate a politics and vision radically divergent to that of the islands’ nationalist governments and the (neo)colonial powers that still held significant influence.

Built upon extensive archival research in Britain and the Caribbean this thesis makes a series of significant theoretical claims. Firstly, utilising a theoretical framework that combines political geographical theory with the thought of Caribbean scholars I understand the period of my study as an historical problem space constituted by and reflective of the multiple trajectories active at this time. Secondly, that West Indian Black Power represented a radical, decolonial historical-political trajectory divergent to that of the anti-colonial nationalisms of regional governments and the continued trajectory of (neo)colonialism. The West Indian Black Power movement thus inaugurated a spatial-politics in their present pre-figurative a desired decolonial vision for the region and its peoples. Finally, the geographies and regimes of repression deployed in opposition to the West Indian Black Power movement might be thought of as renewals of plantation spatialities and logics rooted in colonial racial ontologies and fears of independent, Black political organisation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Karaliotas, Dr. Lazaros and Featherstone, Dr. David
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82297
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2021 14:04
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2021 15:10
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82297

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