|Digital Library of the Caribbean||english español français|
|About dLOC | Topical Collections | Partner Collections||| RSS|
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
This item has the following downloads:
Leah Rosenberg Library Enhancement Program in the Humanities
Project Description and Objectives
I am applying to the Center for a Library Enhancement grant to fund the digitization of cultural
and political journals published in Jamaica between 1890 and 1950-The Victoria Quarterly (1889-
1892), Planter's Punch (1920-1943), Cosmopolitan (1928-1932), and Public Opinion (1937-1978).
Jamaican literature developed as part of the development of nationalism between the late nineteenth and
mid-twentieth centuries. Due to the lack of representative government, the struggle for economic
opportunity, labor unions, and independence in colonized Jamaica took place largely through the local
press. To foster a national literature that would document the distinctive and modem culture of Jamaica,
early newspapers and journals published fictional and non-fiction accounts of Jamaica, celebrated local
authors, and sponsored literary contests. They therefore came became critical sources for leading literary
scholars, such as Rhonda Cobham and Belinda Edmondson, and for scholars of labor, political, and
feminist history including Nigel Bolland and the Sistren Collective. However, these journals are held by
very few libraries-generally the National Library of Jamaica and the British Library.
The objective of the grant is to make these texts available across the globe through the University of
Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) which is open access. They would significantly expand the collection
of journals in the UFDC, which are located within the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) an
international partnership of which UF is a founding member and for which it serves as technological hub.
UFDC and dLOC have placed a priority on Caribbean journals and newspapers because of their
importance to historical study and because of their vulnerability to deterioration. As a result, I have
worked with Laurie Taylor at UFDC and Brooke Wooldridge, project director of dLOC to acquire a
number of joumals, which are now part of the collection, such as the Kyk-over-Al (Guyana 1945-1961)
and the Jamaica Journal (1968-2008). I have chosen a cluster of Jamaican journals for this grant because
Jamaica had the largest newspaper and literary culture in the English-speaking Caribbean and because
these additions build on the UFDC's holdings of Jamaican political and cultural journals (Jamaica
Journal, Abeng, Struggle) to provide a uniquely comprehensive vision of the role of the press and
literature in the formation of Jamaican politics and of Jamaica's contribution to the region's literature. At
the same time, this acquisition of Anglophone materials would help to offset the disproportionate amount
of material in the dLOC/UFDC from the Hispanophone and Francophone Caribbean. Some of these
materials are free of copyright protection. We are negotiating copyright and permissions with the National
Library of Jamaica for the others. The grant would allow the digitization of 5,000 pages at one dollar per
Overview of Journals
An organ of the Victoria League honoring the Queen, the Victoria Quarterly published Jamaican
history, literature, and natural science; it documents that Jamaican national culture and cultural
nationalism emerged literally within colonial institutions. A glossy Christmas annual, Planters' Punch
represented the vision of Jamaica's business elite, and each issue featured a novel or novella by Herbert
de Lisser, fifteen of which have not been published separately. De Lisser was the most prolific Jamaican
writer before 1950 and was editor of Jamaica's main paper the Gleaner for nearly four decades.
The journal of the Association of Jamaican Stenographers and one of the few outlets for local literature,
Cosmopolitan offers a window also into first-wave Jamaican feminism and an Afro-Jamaican middle
class perspective. Affiliated with the People's National Party, Public Opinion expressed the views of the
labor movement and of nationalists in political debates, regularly included articles by Jamaica's leading
feminists, and published the early work of leading authors, Roger Mais and George Campbell.
Access and Opportunity
UFDC and dLOC has a particularly high quality and research-friendly technology for digitizing
journals. The journals will be key-word searchable but the interface displays the whole page and allows
"flipping" through the issue. I will also provide a brief introduction to each journal as well as a listing of
literary texts published in each (compiled by myself and Rafe Dalleo at FAU). dLOC invites scholars and
students to contribute teaching guides, offering graduate students in particular both pedagogical support
and the opportunity to showcase their work.
Impact on Caribbean, British, and American Studies
In the past decade, Anglophone Caribbean literature has undergone a dramatic expansion.
Within the field of Caribbean literary studies, scholars have begun to view the tradition as beginning
before the 1950s for the first time, analyzing literature dating back to the nineteenth century. In so doing
they challenged the dominant narrative of literary history that defined male writers of the 1950s as both
the foundation and the culmination of the region's literature. At the same time, British and American
literary studies have included Anglophone Caribbean literature to a much greater extent in the past
decade-contemporary Caribbean authors, such as Zadie Smith, as well as earlier works. This reflects
paradigmatic changes: the inclusion of the Americas as part of American studies; the consideration of
Empire in U.S. and British literary studies; and Caribbean literary scholars' recent rejection of the
requirement that Caribbean literature be anti-colonial and focus on subaltern classes.
However, the scarcity of early Caribbean literature is thwarting this paradigm shift. Scholars can
write about early literature, but they find it hard to teach because few texts are available. Digitizing these
early these early journals will significantly increase the number of early texts available and thus
contribute to reshaping the teaching of Caribbean literature. Already works by early Jamaican are among
dLOC most frequently accessed texts and are being taught at UF and other universities.