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Summer Study Abroad in London with Dr. Laura Lewis: “Britain and the Caribbean”

Dr. Lewis took a fabulous group of Anthropology, Sociology, IDLS and International Affairs students for her 4-week, 6-credit, London-based study abroad, “Britain and the Caribbean.” They stayed at Commonwealth Hall, the University of London, in the center of the city. During informal “classroom” time (mostly spent lounging in Commonwealth Hall’s comfy leather library chairs) the class discussed the social construction of race in Anglo thought, the “triangular” trade in African slaves and material goods that joined three continents (North America, Europe and Africa) and propelled the economic growth of Britain, the abolition of slavery in British Caribbean colonies, the subsequent independence of those colonies, the immigration of Afro-Caribbean people to the UK during and after WWII, and the culture and politics of contemporary British Afro-Caribbean life.

The trip included numerous outings, including to Liverpool, a port city and home to the International Slavery Museum (as well as to the Beatles!), several visits to Brixton, the historical “heart” of Afro-Caribbean London and probably the only place to buy sugarcane, Westminster Abbey, where British abolitionists are buried, and a final blow-out dinner of curried goat, ackee (a Jamaican fruit), fried plantains, fish and jerk chicken at the Mango Room in Camden Town. Students also did independent studies on contemporary race issues in Britain, including in the media, the politics of hair, education, religion in the colonies, the rise of scientific racism in the 19th century, and the changing nature of Brixton market (a series of covered arcades recently given protected architectural status). They also traveled during their free time to Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Germany.

Dr. Lewis will run the program again in the summer of 2012. If you are interested, please contact her at lewis2la@jmu.edu (Sheldon 205, Wednesdays 11-2). Credit is given for Sociology and/or Anthropology, and can double-count for Latin American and Caribbean Studies or Africana Studies.