Academic journal article The Journal of Caribbean History

Introduction

Academic journal article The Journal of Caribbean History

Introduction

Article excerpt

No greater accolade could have been bestowed to me than to be asked to serve as guest editor for this special edition of the Journal of Caribbean History in honour of University of the West Indies (UWI) Emérita Professor of History, Bridget Brereton. I have been an ardent admirer of her scholarship for several decades and it, in turn, has inspired my own work. Although we are both graduates of the University of the West Indies and also took our doctorates from the same institution, I never had the pleasure to work in the same space as Professor Brereton though we did interact professionally, most significantly when she was editor of this very journal and I was its book-review editor. As one contributor to this special issue observes, our research and publication interests parallel each other: Bridget worked on the social and cultural history of post-emancipation Trinidad, and I in the same genres for post-emancipation Guyana and Jamaica. Our work, therefore, shares many com- monalities, and I am delighted to have been able to benefit enormously from her considerable insights and encouragement. She was one of the main advisor-critics of virtually all of my major publications.1

Bridget Brereton has had a remarkably outstanding career, aspects of which two of the contributions in this volume address. They focus essentially on her personal life and scholastic achievements. But her professional accomplishments extend far beyond her scholarship. In a career that has spanned almost five decades, she has left a huge footprint in the field of education generally, not just in Trinidad and Tobago where she resides, but throughout the Caribbean. Additionally, her remarkable contribution to the history profession has been recognized internationally by multiple invitations to participate in conferences and professional meetings; requests by publishers to review manuscripts, and by universities to examine graduate theses and dissertations.

Except for the Fall semester of 1987 when she was a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University in the United States of America, Professor Brereton has devoted her entire professional life to the University of the West Indies at St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Since 1968 when she was appointed a Temporary Assistant Lecturer, she rose steadily through the ranks of lecturer, senior lecturer and reader, to become full Professor of History in 1995. Paralleling that, she also advanced within the administrative structure, serving on virtually all the major campus governance committees2 and as Head of the Depart- ment of History (1985-1987, 1988-1994), to become Deputy Principal (1999-2002), and Acting/Interim Principal (2001 and 2007). Her influence also extended across the regional campuses of the university as she served on several of the most important university-wide committees.3

It is in the area of teaching and research that Bridget Brereton has left her most enduring legacy. Since her research is the principal subject of two contributions to this volume, I will focus on her teaching and wider professional activities. She taught a variety of courses in Caribbean, European and women's history at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In particular, the graduate programme in history at St Augustine relied heavily on her, not just for teaching, but also for supervising theses and research papers through to the doctoral level. Her record is outstanding. She successfully advised eleven PhD and six MPhil research candidates; and supervised the MA research papers of seventeen students to successful completion. In addition, within the regional university system, she served as examiner of the theses of six doctoral and four MPhil candidates at the Mona and Cave Hill campuses.4 For her meritorious service to the university as teacher, researcher and administrator, she was the first female faculty member at St Augustine to be conferred with the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence (1996); and on retirement in 2010 she was honoured with the title of Emérita Professor of History. …

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