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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


North American Conference of British Studies, 10-13 November 2022 - The least Jamaican of everything pertaining to the country’: Whiteness, Belonging, and Home in Jamaica, 1865-1938

Society for Caribbean Studies Conference UK, 5-9 July 2022 - 'At Home in Jamaica: Reproducing Creole Whiteness in Jamaica, 1865-1938'

Society for Caribbean Studies Postgraduate Conference, 5 May 2021 - '"Days of Terror": Retellings of the Morant Bay Rebellion'

Warwick History Postgraduate Conference, 28 May 2021- 'Remembering Morant Bay: Articulating codes of race and colour through the Morant Bay Rebellion'

Culture Things and Empire Research Seminar, 21 April 2021 - ‘Reading Race in Black and White: Constructing Whiteness in Jamaican Newspapers’

'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 - O
rganising Committee, pannellist: ‘Across the British Empire: Voices, Stories, and Representations’, and chair: ‘Latin America in a Transnational Perspective’ and  ‘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


  • Member of the Society for Caribbean Studies
  • Postgraduate Member of the Royal Historical Society
  • Member of the North American Conference for British Studies


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' 

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

        Dissertation: ‘The “Contrarious Character” of Whiteness in Jamaica during the Age of Abolition’ 

        Awards and Funding

        • David Nicholls Memorial Trust Award (2022)
        • Gad Heuman Postgraduate Bursary, Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick (2021-2022)
        • AHRC Midlands 4 Cities doctoral fellowship (2019-2023)
        • Warwick Humanities Research Centre Doctoral Fellowship (2020-2021)
        • Nelson Prize awarded to the MA History student achieving the highest cumulative score on completion of the programme, King’s College London (2019)
        • World History and Culture MA Prize awarded to a student studying the MA in World History and Culture who achieves the highest cumulative score, King’s College London (2019)
        • John Le Patourel Prize for best dissertation, University of Leeds (2017)
        • Alice M Cooke Prize for best overall performance of female student in final year, University of Leeds (2017)


        In 2022/2023 I am teaching on the following modules:
        HI1780 Farewell to Arms? War in Modern European History, 1815-2015, Terms 1, 2, & 3
        HI180 Britain in the Twentieth Century: A Social History, Terms 2 & 3
        HI2E4 Research Project, Terms 2 & 3

        I have previously taught on the undergraduate modules Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in Modern Britain (HI2D4) and Statues must fall? Remembering and forgetting slavery in the Atlantic world (HI3S8-30).

        Blog Posts

        Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre, Unhomely Empire, A Forum

        Warwick HRC, At Home in Empire blog series: At Home in Empire? Whiteness and Jamaica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries