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Elizabeth Egan

History, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Constructing and Challenging Creole Whiteness in Jamaica, 1865-1938

In the aftermath of the Morant Bay Rebellion, amidst debates regarding representative government, the decline of sugar, and growing race and labour consciousness, what did it mean to be white in Jamaica? This project interrogates representations and practices of creole whiteness framed between two moments of significant public unrest. I draw on critical whiteness studies to deploy whiteness as a privileged but porous category inextricable from the political, social, and economic inequalities of post-emancipation Jamaica. I consider how whiteness operated as a form a cultural and social capital, interrogating the messy margins of whiteness as it was fractured by class, gender, ethnicity, and colour. Who could make a claim to whiteness and how were such claims performed? How was whiteness represented and interpreted within Jamaican society and by external observers? Reading newspapers and literature alongside archival study of correspondence, diaries, wills, and court records, I situate the island within wider colonial geographies and offer new insight into how race took place in Jamaica between 1865 and the labour strikes of 1938.

Research Area

  • History


'At Home in Empire: Colonial Experiences of Intimacy and Mobility' March 13th 2021
  • Warwick Humanities Research Centre Doctoral Fellowship, co-organised with Hannah Dennett
  • Warwick HRC Blog, co-written with Hannah Dennett

M4C Digital Festival 2020

  • ‘Archival Journeys: Historians Navigating Covid-19’: collaborative Prezi as part of the M4C Digital Festival Virtual Gallery
Warwick Postgraduate Podcast Series Spring/Summer 2020
  • Organising Committee
  • Pannellist: ‘Across the British Empire: Voices, Stories, and Representations’
  • Chair: ‘Latin America in a Transnational Perspective’
  • Chair: ‘International Organizations and Networks: Health and Disability in the late Twentieth Century'
KIng's College London World History Student Conference May 2018
  • Organising Committee and Panel Chair

Other Research Interests

  • Caribbean history
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Migration
  • Print Cultures


MA World History and Cultures - King's College London, 2017-2019 

  • Dissertation: '"To Wield the Pen in Defence of Right and Justice": The Workman Newspaper and the British Caribbean Community in Panama, 1919-1930' 
  • Jinty Nelson Prize  
  • World History and Culture MA Prize

         BA History (International) - University of Leeds, 2013-2017 

          • Dissertation: ‘The “Contrarious Character” of Whiteness in Jamaica during the Age of Abolition’ 
          • John Le Patourel Prize for best dissertation 
          • Alice M Cooke Prize for best overall performance of female student in final year