Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Okezi Otovo

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jessica Adler

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Alexandra Cornelius

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Andrea Queeley

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


20th Century, Race, Colonialism, Eugenics, Science, British Caribbean, Jamaica, Trinidad, Academia

Date of Defense



This dissertation explores the intellectual discourse on race in the early twentieth century, particularly from 1919 to 1958, examining how British and American eugenicists and Caribbean nationalists debated the limits of colonial politics in the British Caribbean using academic and scientific language. These discussions emerged in the aftermath of World War I, the economic crises that led to the Great Depression, the political and labor unrest in the British Caribbean, and consequences of the Second World War. The dissertation’s goal is to examine how residents of the British Caribbean understood, appropriated, and challenged some of the principles of eugenics, particularly those espousing ideas of white superiority. The dissertation has taken great consideration of both private and published sources from white and black intellectuals in the Anglophone Caribbean to document the dissemination of concepts of race, ethnicity, and identity in the region during the interwar period. Additionally, focusing on such critical areas as education and social policies, it explores whether eugenic ideas influenced the twentieth-century governance of British West Indian colonies.






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