Not available in 2022/23
HY4B2      Half Unit
The Afterlives of Empires in the Neo-Colonial Caribbean

This information is for the 2022/23 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

One of the first regions in the world to be colonised by western powers the contemporary Caribbean is shaped indelibly by this historical legacy that is inextricably linked to neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism. This course introduces students to the twentieth century origins and diverse range of neo-colonialism in the Hispanic, Anglophone, and Francophone Caribbean and its ties to hierarchies of race, class, gender, and geography. It aims to expand students’ knowledge of wide range of neo-colonial practices and policies in the context of the Caribbean from an economic, political, social, and cultural standpoint. Students unfamiliar with Caribbean history will at the start of the course learn about the origins of conquest, colonialism, and racial slavery in the region from the seventeenth to nineteenth century. Next students will engage with the twinned rise of US imperialism and neo-colonialism in the Caribbean through an examination of both political economy and the US occupations of Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic and their control of Puerto Rico. The post-war period was critical to the reformed relationship that French Caribbean territories had with France and students will critically engage with the 1946 vote for departmentalisation and its legacies. Other topics the course will explore include Cold war conflicts in British Guiana and Cuba, constitutional decolonisation and Black Power, the debt crisis and role of the International Monetary Fund in Jamaica; the 1979 Grenadian Revolution and the 1983 US invasion of Grenada; the rise of offshore financial centres with a focus on the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda; tourism, development, and public health and climate change and reparations. Students will explore these themes through a combination of primary and secondary source material. By the end of the course students will be able to identify the origins of neo-colonialism in the Hispanic, Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean and will be able to critically evaluate the ways in which is practices and policies shapes hierarchies of race, class, gender and geography.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the Lent Term.

Formative coursework

One 2000-word annotated bibliography in the Lent Term.

Indicative reading

  • Adlai Murdoch, H ed., The Struggle of Non-Sovereign Caribbean Territories: Neoliberalism Since The French Antillean Uprisings of 2009 (Rutgers University Press, 2021).
  • Bishop, Matthew Louis, The Political Economy of Caribbean Development (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
  • Bonilla, Yarimar, Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015),
  • Childers, Kristen Stromberg, Seeking Imperialism’s Embrace: National Identity, Decolonization, and Assimilation in the French Caribbean (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016),
  • Franczak Michael, Global Inequality and American Foreign Policy in the 1970s (2022 forthcoming)
  • Getachew, Adom, Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020).
  • Hudson, Peter James. Bankers and Empire : How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean. Chicago, 2017
  • Manjapra, Kris, Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation (2022 forthcoming)
  • Maurer, Bill, Recharting the Caribbean: Land, Law, and Citizenship in the British Virgin Islands (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997).
  • Navarro, Tami, Virgin Capital: Race, Gender, and Financialization in the US Virgin Islands (State of New York University Press, 2021).
  • Ogle, Vanessa, ‘Archipelago Capitalism: Tax Havens, Offshore Money, and the State, 1950s–1970s’, The American Historical Review 122, no. 5 (1 December 2017)
  • Ogle, Vanessa, ‘“Funk Money”: The End of Empires, The Expansion of Tax Havens, and Decolonization as an Economic and Financial Event’, Past & Present 249, no. 1 (1 November 2020): 213–49.
  • Ortiz, Angel Israel Rivera and Aarón Gamaliel Ramos, eds., Islands at the Crossroads: Politics in the Non-Independent Caribbean (Kingston: Ian Randle, 2001).
  • Sheller, Mimi, Island Futures: Caribbean Survival in the Anthropocene (2020)
  • Taiwo, O Olufemi, Reconsidering Reparations (2022 forthcoming)
  • Wilder, Gary, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015)


Essay (70%, 5000 words) in the ST Week 1.
Class participation (15%) and presentation (15%) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

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