The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association (ABSA) is an annual gathering of scholars with an interest in the cultural, economic and political life of Antigua and Barbuda. The Association was conceived at an August 2005 meeting of Antiguan and Barbudan scholars at the Jolly Beach Hotel. We were there for another of the “Country Conferences” organized by The School of Continuing Studies of the University Center of the West Indies (Antigua and Barbuda), which was then headed by Dr. Ermina Osoba. In attendance were 25 distinguished scholars and artists of Antigua and Barbuda including Gregson Davis, Jamaica Kincaid, Ermina Osoba, Edgar Lake, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Dorbrene O’Marde, Milton Benjamin, Mali Olatunji, Susan Lowes, and Natasha Lightfoot. In short, we have now been meeting annually for thirteen years.
Over these years, the mission of ABSA has been twofold: first, to keep Antiguan and Barbudan scholars in closer contact and more in conversation with each other as so many of us are scattered abroad at different universities in different countries; and second, to give greater visibility and coherence to our major concerns and themes as scholars. In short, the general idea was to keep the tradition of the country conference going, strengthening it by making our meetings annual and finding additional ways to increase our mutual exchanges and engagements.
The idea that gave birth to The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books came from the claim in Edgar Lake’s presentation at the 2005 conference that there existed a “nascent” but neglected tradition of Antiguan and Barbudan writing. Thus, was born the notion that we could achieve our goals as an Association by nurturing this nascent tradition of writing and bringing it more into the open and into the light of day. This is what we have been doing over the past thirteen years, meeting annually and putting out a yearly issue of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books (ABRB). The launching of this website is another important step in fulfilling our mission.
The ABRB has been central to our mission of giving greater coherence and visibility to our nascent and neglected tradition of writing. We not only review books on Antigua and Barbuda, but also publish scholarly papers on our twin-island state. Thus, the ABRB is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal with a very strong focus on Antigua and Barbuda, and is the official publication of ABSA. As a journal, the ABRB has gone by into our past to recover a number of our forgotten scholars, such as Rebecca Protten, Henry Redhead Yorke, Perigrine Pickle, and Mary Prince. We have also focused on more contemporary figures such as Tim Hector, Althea Prince, Jamaica Kincaid, Charles Ephraim and Joanne Hillhouse. At the same time, we have also been publishing papers on crucial topics such as economic development, democratic governance, relations between Barbuda and Antigua, class, race and gender equality, and more recently, the environment. In short, the papers that we publish in the ABRB are the bricks in the foundation for a course on Antigua and Barbuda Studies at the recently opened Five Islands campus of the University of the West Indies. These are the activities and concerns that we have been about.
The officers of the ABSA are: Paget Henry (President), Mali Olatunji (Vice President) Conrad Luke (Treasurer)
The members of Editorial Board of the ABRB are: Joanne Hillhouse, Mali Olatunji, Elaine Olaoye, Adlai Murdoch, Vincent Richards, Edgar Lake, Natasha Lightfoot, and Paget Henry (editor).