The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 54, Issue 2

Article 1
A Long Story Cut Short: Carl Campbell’s Contribution to History Teaching at UWI, Mona

Matthew J. Smith


It seems entirely fitting, given his personality, to open this reflection on Carl Campbell’s impact on History teaching at the UWI in Jamaica with an anecdote. When Carl taught the graduate seminar Historiography and the Emergence of West Indian History, he was wont to pepper his insightful lectures with gems about the subjects of the class. One evening Carl delighted the students with a wonderful account of a highly respected historian who, on a faculty retreat at an out of town former estate, spent some time walking the grounds, turning over in his mind images of the space and what it might have sounded and looked like in the era of plantation slavery. Onlookers might have marvelled at the sight. Was the historian not sufficiently exhausted from the day’s retreat? Did he not want to relax his mental labours so that he could arise the next day freshened and ready to discuss curriculum planning? His mind would not allow for that. Instead he plotted the space around them with his feet and spent time thinking deeply on the profound relationship between the spatial and the social and how it defined the oppressiveness of the plantation regime.