M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Elizabeth Egan

History, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Constructing and Challenging Creole Whiteness in Jamaica, 1865-1938

My research focuses on the formation of white creole identities in Jamaica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Framed between the Morant Bay rebellion and labour unrest of 1938, I use gender and class to interrogate representations and practices of creole whiteness across different spaces. I draw on critical whiteness studies to deploy creole whiteness as a privileged but porous category inextricable from the political, social and economic inequalities of post-emancipation Jamaica. Reading newspapers and literature alongside archival study of letters, wills and court records, I ask how far did competing discourses of whiteness align with individual and group performances? Embodied in personal exchanges and access to resources, how were actions and behaviours marked by whiteness, and what happened when expectations were unfulfilled? My thesis dissects concepts of belonging and collective identity, reflecting on the categories of creole and colonial to question the relationship between whiteness, creolisation and Britishness. Uncovering the anxieties and messiness that characterised everyday experiences of race, I situate the island within wider colonial geographies and offer new insight into peculiarities of how race took place in Jamaica. 

Research Area

  • History


Organising committee and panel moderator, KCL World History Student Conference May 2018

Other Research Interests

  • Caribbean history
  • Gender history
  • Migration
  • Print Cultures


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 


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