A Response to Enslavement: Playing Their Way to Virtue by Peter A. Roberts awarded the bronze medal in the HISTORY (WORLD) category for the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards

Kingston, Jamaica—Today, the University of the West Indies Press (UWIP) is pleased to announce that A Response to Enslavement: Playing Their Way to Virtue by Peter A. Robertswas awarded the bronze medal in the HISTORY (WORLD) category for the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Conducted annually, the Independent Publisher Book Awards honours the year’s best independently published titles from around the world. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university and self-published books released each year.

The complete list of finalists can be found at: http://independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=2439

From the description: Responses to enslavement are automatically seen as struggles (heroic or otherwise), but in the case of the English Caribbean colonies, the claim was irately made by pro-planter factions, reacting to criticism, that the enslaved Africans were not struggling, they were happy and better off than the poor in England and the idea of hideous enslavement was a prejudiced distortion. Evidence presented was the universal singing, dancing and carousing of the enslaved. A conviction that is really at the base of this irate retort is that society is inescapably hierarchical, with happiness as the ideal for the lower classes and pride or valour as the ideal only for the rulers. The question that may be asked then is: What should the oppressed do – reject this view, fight and die valiantly if necessary or try to survive by amusing themselves and making the best of a bad situation? The fact that the most popular images of the Caribbean today are those of “play” (carnivals, Bob Marley, Rihanna, Usain Bolt), not heroism (as in Haiti) seems to show what option the enslaved in the English colonies chose. A Response to Enslavement addresses the dilemma that the enslaved Africans (mostly young people) faced and how they dealt with it. Peter Roberts examines the critical role of play in human existence as the basis for its role in their response to enslavement and suggests that in a world today where people resort to catastrophic acts of suicide to win their struggles, the choices of the enslaved present a viable alternative.

Dr Jospeh B. Powell, General Manager, UWIP, notes, “The UWI Press is pleased to see Peter A. Roberts’s book A Response to Enslavement: Playing Their Way to Virtue awarded the Bronze medal for World History. By examining and documenting how enslaved people responded to the brutality of their situation through ‘play’ and amusement, this books stands as a unique and nuanced contribution to historical scholarship on Caribbean slavery studies. In addition, the book offers a wider historical lens through which to view contemporary forms of play and amusement in Caribbean music, art, carnivals and festivals.”


About The Independent Publisher Book Awards

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to independent authors and publishers worldwide who produce books intended for an English speaking audience.


About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)


About The UWI Press

The mission of The UWI Press is to be the premier scholarly book publisher in the Caribbean, to enhance and encourage research and publication of Caribbean scholarship, to promote the global reputation of the University of the West Indies by empowering the scholarly community it serves, and to disseminate Caribbean scholarship to the world within a cost-effective environment. For more, visit www.uwipress.com