call for papers

17th Annual Conference

november 17–18, 2023


The University of the West Indies, Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda

 The University of the West Indies, Five Islands Campus

 The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association (ABSA)

 The Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy (ABYEA)

Announce the Call for Papers


Our 17th Annual Country Conference


On the Theme


November 17–18, 2023

Greetings again one and all – members of our Antiguan and Barbudan scholarly community. Yes, it is time once more for us to start thinking, writing and planning for our 17th Annual Country Conference. Indeed, because of the ongoing changes in the world around us, we have a lot to talk about, ponder, and celebrate. At the top of the growing list for this year must be the 75th birthday of the University of the West Indies. Since its founding in 1948 with 66 students, this now venerable regional institution has been at the center of higher education in the English-speaking Caribbean. It has given us so many of our graduates, our teachers, doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, writers, professors, and other professionals, who have made possible, and continue to make possible, the modern phase of life in Antigua and Barbuda, and across the wider Caribbean. Because it has been at the center of so much that has been innovative and educative in our region, the University of the West Indies deserves from us a big, heartfelt celebration, lots of congratulations and recognition for its achievements over these 75 years.

           In throwing this birthday party, we must build on the smaller one that we, the Antigua and Barbuda scholarly community, organized to mark the University’s 70th birthday. Our 13th Annual Country Conference in 2018 was devoted to the celebrating of three milestones: Antigua and Barbuda at 37, the University of the West Indies at 70, and the Open Campus at 10. Celebrating the Open Campus in Antigua and Barbuda, we had an interview with its first head, Dr. Edris Bird, which was conducted by Dr. Susan Lowes. We also had a presentation on Dr. Bird’s edited volume, Economic Development of Small States: With Special Reference to Antigua. This volume contained essays on economic development in Antigua and Barbuda by a number of our scholars, including Lester Bird (former Prime Minister), Alister Francis, Ruth Spencer, Bernard Percival, and Ernest Benjamin. The third element in our 1970 celebration, was an interview about the history of the Open Campus with Allison Hull, who was the Program Coordinator for many years. Unfortunately, Ms. Hull succumbed to cancer not long after that celebration of the Open Campus in Antigua and Barbuda. Although meeting Ms. Hull just once, the Jamaican philosopher, Lewis Gordon was moved to honor her life with a poem. Many of these creations marking the 10th anniversary of the Open Campus are available in the 2018 and 2019 issues of our journal, The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books. Both of these issues can be downloaded from this website on the page —

            Joining us to celebrate the 70th birthday of the University of the West Indies as a whole was our keynote speaker, Prof. Hilary Beckles, the University’s Vice Chancellor. Prof. Beckles focused his address on two key themes: 1) the need for the University of the West Indies to continue to adapt to the increasingly digitized world of communications; and 2) his ideas and plans for the coming fourth landed campus of the University at Five Islands here in Antigua and Barbuda. This campus, he said, was going to be different from the ones in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. The Five Islands Campus was going to be focused more specifically on the digital revolution in communications and its practical and theoretical implications for higher education. Prof. Beckles concluded his keynote address by promising his very attentive audience that this forthcoming campus, in spite of beginning small, would in time grow and take its place alongside the three older campuses.

           The opening of Five Islands Campus in 2019, following Prof. Beckles’ visit must be the starting point of our 75th birthday party for the University of the West Indies. Of course, we will, by no means forget the Open Campus, and neither will we forget the University of the West Indies as a whole – how it has been growing and changing. All three levels of our regional university must be recognized, their achievements duly noted and well celebrated.

           At the same time that we will be focusing on the University of the West Indies, we will also be paying careful attention to the larger social context in which our regional university is experiencing its 75th birthday. First, we have already noted the importance of the ongoing revolution in the field of communications. Second, we will have to keep in mind the major shifts taking place in the global political economy and how they are likely to impact the financing and practice of higher education in our region. In particular, the decoupling from the earlier symbiotic relation between the Chinese and American economies, and its replacement by relations of hegemonic competition. This significant shift, with its economic policies of on-shoring and near-shoring is likely to bring both new possibilities and challenges. Indeed it has already made Mexico the number one trading partner of the United States, replacing China.

           Third, we cannot and must not ignore the rising levels of anti-black racism in the West spearheaded by the rise of Far-Right groups to power within the American Republican Party and thus to national influence. The appointment of individuals holding these anti-black views to positions affecting the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America should be of major strategic concern to us. Hence the importance of looking at the 75 years of our regional university in relation to the history and current state of our global black struggle.

            Fourth and finally, we must also keep in view our growing ecological crisis and the stronger hurricanes it has been bringing to our region, as in the cases of Barbuda, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

           In short, in our deliberations this year, let us focus on celebrating 75 years of outstanding achievements by the University of the West Indies, while at the same time taking note of the more difficult period in which we will be celebrating this important milestone in the life of our university. We really hope that you will consider joining this celebration by making a presentation at our upcoming November meeting.

           To stimulate your thinking and writing, we suggest making a presentation on topics such as:

  • What has been the relationship between UWI and the global Black struggle?
  • What has been UWI’s role in the reparation response to the global Black struggle?
  • How is UWI doing with its plans to stay abreast of the ongoing revolution in communications technology?
  • How do you see the next ten years in UWI’s life?
  • What so far has been the major advantages of the opening of the Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda?
  • What are some of the rising trends in secondary and tertiary education in Antigua and Barbuda? Are they preparing the rising generation for the virtual world that is in UWI’s future?
  • What do you remember most about your UWI years?
  • How important was your UWI training for what you are doing now?
  • Given the challenges of growing our economy under the current neoliberal regime of global economic management, should the UWI be playing an even more transformative role than it is already doing?
  • Given the weakness of the Caribbean entrepreneurial sector, how have the courses in business and entrepreneurship offered by the UWI been affecting this deficit?

If you are interested in making a presentation at this 2023 conference, please send us a brief abstract that includes your name, your title and a brief description of the theme of your presentation. We must receive your abstract by September 30th, 2023. It will help us to put you on the right panel. Your abstract, in the form of a Word document, should be emailed to [email protected] or to [email protected]

 Paget Henry                           Coleen Letlow                       Curtis Charles                             Janet Lofgren
 President                                Head                                      Director, Academic Affairs        Editorial Assistant
 ABSA                                       UWI (Open Campus)            UWI (Five Islands)                       A&B Review of Books