HY491      Half Unit
Race, Gender and Reproduction in the Caribbean, 1860s-1930s

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Imaobong Umoren SAR G.04


This course is available on the MA in Asian and International History (LSE and NUS), MA in Modern History, MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and Asian History, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

In the wake of slavery, debates about the intersecting politics of race, gender, and reproduction arose in the Francophone, Anglophone, and Hispanic Caribbean. This module explores the ways in which formerly enslaved Africans as well as former planters, imperial officials, newly indentured labourers from South Asia, philanthropists, medical professionals, and welfare workers contributed to and shaped colonial social welfare, health policies, and ideas surrounding racial uplift colonialism, race consciousness and equality. Students will engage in comparative intellectual and social history by drawing on primary and secondary sources to consider the influence of European and American imperialism in the Caribbean. A range of topics will be explored including post-emancipation population decline; infant mortality; illegitimacy; venereal disease; birth control; inter- and extra regional migration; and eugenics.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be a reading week in the MT.

The School aims to run in-person seminars, subject to circumstances, with some online provision as and where necessary.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one essay (1,500 to 2,000 words) in MT.

Indicative reading

Bourbonnais, Nicole, Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean: Reproductive Politics and Practice on Four Islands, 1930-1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Briggs, Laura, Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and US Imperialism in Puerto Rico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

De Barros, Palmer, Steven and Wright, David (eds.), Health and Medicine in the Circum-Caribbean, 1800-1968 (New York: Routledge, 2009).

De Barros, Juanita, Reproducing the British Caribbean: Sex, Gender and Population Politics after Slavery (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

Findlay, Eileen, Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870-1902 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999).

Macpherson, Anne, From Colony to Nation: Women Activists and the Gendering of Politics in Belize, 1912-1982 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007).

Renda, Mary, Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

Palmer, Steven, Launching Global Health: The Caribbean Odyssey of the Rockefeller Foundation (Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press, 2010).

Putnam, Lara, The Company they Kept: Migrants and the Politics of Gender in Caribbean Costa Rica, 1870-1969 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).


Essay (85%, 5000 words) in January.
Class participation (15%) in the MT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills