Ph.D. Student Snapshot: Gordon Barnes (History)
Manalapan, New Jersey.
British Imperial History, Caribbean History, Comparative Slavery and Abolition, Political Ideology, Violence.
Why he chose to study at the GC:
I chose to pursue my Ph.D. at the Graduate Center first and foremost due to my political commitments to public education and student/faculty dedication to this end. Additionally, I opted for CUNY due to the possibilities of interdisciplinary study with scholars who study similar issues and historical processes but from a different point of origin and with divergent methodologies. The Graduate Center's integration with the Inter-university Doctoral Consortium was also a factor in my selecting CUNY.
My dissertation, “The Crisis of Freedom: Violence and Elite Politics in the Post-Emancipation British Empire, 1810-1870,” examines the transition from slavery to freedom in Jamaica and Mauritius and the ways in which organized slave and subaltern violence, as well as fears of such, influenced elite politics and ideology around questions of labor regimentation, immigration, and social formation.
Central to this project is an attempt to understand the utility of violence in politics, how what we term today as white supremacy was manifested in the aftermath of abolition, and the mapping of divergent ideological position amongst the various elite social formations in the two colonies in question.
How GC funding helped in his research:
The Early Research Initiative (ERI) Archival Research Grants was helpful not only in setting up my project in that it led me to find the link between Jamaica and Mauritius at the level of imperial understandings of subaltern violence during and after slavery, but it also afforded me the opportunity to embark on preliminary research in London which consequently framed future research in Jamaica and Mauritius. Additionally, the research conducted with the ERI grant helped in drafting my dissertation proposal.
My career goals are to be involved in critical historical research and pedagogy that have direct connections to extant sociopolitical relations in former British colonies. To this end, I see my research as facilitating discourse around current political realities in an effort to foment immediate and lasting social changes, ones which benefit the most marginalized and oppressed members of society.
Submitted on: MAR 20, 2017
Category: General GC News